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Earning Their Stripes: Week 15, Part I

Here’s what happened in the Marlins organization on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

JJ Bleday has been an on-base machine of late at Double-A Photo courtesy of Pensacola Blue Wahoos

For the rest of the 2021 Minor League Baseball season, I’ve settled on a new farm system report format. On Friday mornings, I’ll summarize what Marlins affiliates did during the first half of their week (Monday-Thursday), then follow up with the Friday-Sunday results on Monday mornings. Consider following our @FishProspects Twitter account for daily stats and highlights.

Marlins minor league affiliates went a combined 7-7 on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday:

  • Triple-A—Charlotte 3, Jacksonville 2; Charlotte 8, Jacksonville 9; Charlotte 8, Jacksonville 4
  • Double-A—Montgomery 8, Pensacola 7 (F/10); Montgomery 2, Pensacola 7; Montgomery 2, Pensacola 5
  • High-A—Beloit 6, Quad Cities 10; Beloit 8, Quad Cities 1; Beloit 1, Quad Cities 3
  • Low-A—Jupiter 6, Daytona 10; Jupiter 8, Daytona 1; Jupiter 7, Daytona 10
  • U.S. Rookie—FCL Marlins 4, FCL Mets 2; FCL Mets 3, FCL Marlins 5; FCL Marlins 5, FCL Nationals 2
  • D.R. Rookie—DSL Marlins 0, DSL Royals Blue 2

Triple-A Jacksonville (49-38)

Tuesday’s starting pitcher RHP Elieser Hernandez (rehab): 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 K, 1 HR

Wednesday’s starting pitcher LHP Daniel Castano (rehab): 3.0 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

Thursday’s starting pitcher RHP Jordan Holloway: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 HR

Jesús Sánchez kicked off his minor league rehab assignment on Wednesday as Jacksonville’s designated hitter. The next day, he played five innings in right field. He’ll spend at least one more game on the farm before rejoining the big leaguers.

Joe Dunand entered this regular season as a likely candidate to get his first taste of The Show at some point, but those hopes are dimming. He’s been among the worst hitters in the organization so far in August (1-for-34, 12 K).

Random Justin Twine note: he has 56 strikeouts for the Shrimp compared to only three walks. I’m having a hard time recalling any player who has received steady playing time at any MiLB level with a worse ratio than that.

Double-A Pensacola (44-43)

Tuesday’s starting pitcher RHP Kyle Nicolas: 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 8 K

Wednesday’s starting pitcher RHP Max Meyer: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 K

Thursday’s starting pitcher RHP Zach McCambley: 5.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K

Outstanding run prevention from Pensacola with the exception of an Andrew McInvale implosion on Tuesday. It does not seem as though the Marlins “won” that trade with the Blue Jays.

Peyton Burdick has reached base safely in 26 straight games. Jerar Encarnacíon showed that he has returned to full strength with home runs on back-to-back nights. Ditto for JJ Bleday, who is again above the Mendoza Line, hopefully this time to stay.

The Blue Wahoos infield depth was so thin at one point that catcher Santiago Chávez began to start games at third base for the first time in his career. That bold experiment is no longer necessary.

Sending our best wishes to right-hander Tyler Stevens, who was released on Thursday. The heavy-set reliever had a particularly rough outing on July 27—allowing four home runs—but overall contributed a 3.02 earned run average during his 92 13 innings pitched for the Marlins organization. He was acquired from the Angels in the November 2018 Dillon Peters trade.

High-A Beloit (40-47)

Tuesday’s starting pitcher RHP Zach King: 2.2 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 3 HR

Wednesday’s starting pitcher LHP Antonio Velez: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K

Thursday’s starting pitcher RHP Bryan Hoeing: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 3 BB, 3 K

Can we find room for Velez on the Pensacola pitching staff? There isn’t much else for him to learn at this level. The 2020 undrafted free agent pick-up has been primarily a starter since June 16, limiting opponents to a .500 OPS since then. Shoutout to Hoeing as well—he just set a new career high with 102 pitches.

Kameron Misner is firing on all cylinders. He has seven straight games with at least one run batted in and 14 in a row with at least one hit. It’s probably too late for him to validate my Marlins Minor League Player of the Year prediction from the spring, but he’s on a nice trajectory for 2022 and beyond.

Low-A Jupiter (42-42)

Tuesday’s starting pitcher RHP Chris Mokma: 2.1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 HR

Wednesday’s starting pitcher LHP Dax Fulton: 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K

Thursday’s starting pitcher LHP Luis Palacios: 5.2 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 2 HR

Fulton threw 75.9% of his pitches for strikes in his most recent gem.

First baseman turned pitcher Sean Reynolds made his return from the injured list Wednesday with a career-high five strikeouts in relief. Filling the first base void, Marcus Chiu has finally found his groove at the plate. Perhaps he can force his way up to High-A in September (that’s where he was playing pre-COVID).

FCL Marlins (12-15)

Monday’s Game 1 starting pitcher RHP Jesse Bergin: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K

Monday’s Game 2 starting pitcher RHP Luis Vizcaino: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR

Wednesday’s starting pitcher RHP Hunter Perdue: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K

Like most other teams, the Marlins are stockpiling a massive population of players in the complex league. I count 29 different players who took the field for them over the previous three completed games (ignoring Tuesday’s contest which was almost immediately suspended to a later date).

Many of them are 2021 draftees, including third-round pick Jordan McCants. Here’s the footage of his first professional hit:

Defensively, McCants has been deployed exclusively at shortstop so far.

Shoutout to infielder Cristhian Rodríguez. He got off to a poor start offensively this summer, but is rocking a .500/.529/.813 slash line in August.

DSL Marlins (10-9)

Tuesday’s starting pitcher RHP Stiven Almanzar: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K

Zero hits for the D.R. kids so far this week?!

That’s because the weather didn’t cooperate. Even Tuesday’s game—which was supposed to be part of a doubleheader—had to be shortened due to rain.

One player’s 2021 stat line that sticks out is that of switch-hitting catcher Ronald Hernández. He leads the team with 12 walks even though he’s only ninth in plate appearances while being significantly younger than league average.

2021 Marlins MiLB Leaders (entering August 13)