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Kevin Barral’s Marlins Top 30 prospects

In his debut article for Fish Stripes, Kevin Barral ranks the young talent in the Marlins organization.

Photo courtesy of Pensacola Blue Wahoos

In his debut article, Fish Stripes intern Kevin Barral shares his own ranking of top prospects in the Miami Marlins farm system. You will notice significant differences between this list and the one that managing editor Ely Sussman posted a few days earlier.

All individual player stats are updated entering August 8. Comment below or follow @kevin_barral on Twitter to discuss!

Prospect #30 - Osiris Johnson

The 30th prospect is shortstop Osiris Johnson. His season has been split between the Jupiter Hammerheads and Miami’s Florida Complex League (FCL) affiliate (.202 BA, .667 OPS, 31 hits in 227 AB, and 9 HR). Johnson makes the list because of what he’s capable of doing in the future. Let’s see how he will progress as he gets more comfortable with his recent position switch from infielder to outfielder. rank: #27

Prospect #29 - Evan Fitterer

At number 29 comes in a 2019 draftee, Evan Fitterer. Fitterer is not putting up good numbers this year in Low-A Jupiter (4.91 ERA, 1.50 WHIP), though it’s a small sample size. Fitterer falls this low because he doesn’t have much of a track record as of now, but there is still a lot of room to improve. And he will not be in the Major leagues any time soon with the amount of pitchers that the Marlins have ahead of him on the depth chart. rank: #23

Prospect #28 - Cody Morissette

Cody Morissette coming in at #28, a promising player who was taken in the second round of this year’s MLB Draft. He shows a lot of promise to be one of the future infielders of the Miami Marlins, possibly competing to become an everyday starter in 2025 or 2026 (in my opinion). Morissette in Boston College put up some great numbers—.321 BA, .398 OBP, .497 SLG, .895 OPS, along with 53 hits and 6 HR—that raised his draft stock. You may be asking, “Why is this a guy not even higher on this list?” Well, Morissette just began playing minor league games this weekend so there’s not really a lot we can say about him. There are still questions about how his skills will translate to professional baseball. rank: unranked

Prospect #27 - Zach Thompson

The unsung hero of this Miami Marlins rotation, Zach Thompson arose from the minor leagues and has made an immediate impact on this team. After an array of injuries forced changes to their promising projected 2021 rotation, the Marlins called up a couple of players up like Cody Poteet and Zach Thompson. The latter is having himself a solid season and keeps surprising us more and more every start (2-4 W-L, 2.53 ERA, 43 SO, and 1.10 WHIP). The Marlins have an overload of pitchers which is why Thompson falls into this spot on my list. Regardless, he should have a long major league career ahead of him. rank: unranked

Prospect #26 - Daxton Fulton

Just out of the top 25, Daxton Fulton makes the list here. Fulton is currently playing for the Low-A affiliate in Jupiter and is putting up mediocre stats in the case of his ERA but his strikeouts aren’t too bad as well as his WHIP which is okay (4.70 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, and 58 SO). Remember that he is only 19 years old. Fulton won’t be up in the majors anytime soon, but will for sure be developing in the right direction.

Prospect #25 - Will Banfield

Will Banfield is still considered the catcher of the future for the Marlins by some people. He has shown potential but still it is not even close to the right time to bring him up. Maybe if he finishes the season well he can earn a spot in AA next season. Right now, his defense is far ahead of his bat (.182 BA, .257 OBP, .567 OPS, 47 hits and 6 HR). rank: #25

Prospect #24 - Braxton Garrett

With the injuries the Marlins have had, Braxton Garrett—who makes the list at 24—has come up and made starts at the MLB level. Garrett has had some ups and downs but has been solid overall (1-1, 3.58 ERA, 26 SO, and 1.56 WHIP). Garrett still has a lot to prove and now that the Marlins are out of contention being 10 games out of first place in the NL East have a lot of young players and new faces that we will be seeing a lot more. However, Garrett is dealing with lots of internal competition as veteran arms like Elieser Hernandez and Pablo López are gradually getting healthier. rank: #7

Prospect #23 - Nick Neidert

Many of the same points about Braxton Garrett apply to Nick Neidert. The former Marlins Minor League Pitcher of the Year deserves more chances in the majors between now and the end of the season. Neidert in his time with the Marlins this season has been shaky overall but as of late has been extremely good for the team (1-1, 4.11 ERA, 20 SO, 1.50 WHIP). Neidert can take his game to the next level by throwing more strikes. rank: #9

Prospect #22 - Cody Poteet

As I mentioned a while back when we spoke about Zach Thompson, Cody Poteet has surprised a lot of us ever since his debut against the Diamondbacks early in the year. The main concern I have as of now is his lingering right knee injury. This year (2-3, 4.99 ERA, 32 SO, 1.34 WHIP), Poteet has used his deep pitch mix to keep opponents guessing. rank: unranked

Prospect #21 - Kyle Nicolas

Here is another one of the 2020 MLB Draft class pitchers who has made a solid first impression. Kyle Nicolas is one of the top pitching prospects in the Marlins farm system. Nicolas is currently in AA Pensacola and is having a good year (4-2, 4.78 ERA, 100 SO, and 1.28 WHIP). Nicolas falls at 21 because he still needs more weapons in his pitch mix in order to limit home runs. rank: #15

Prospect #20 - Zach McCambley

Zach McCambley makes the list here at #20 and is currently playing for the AA team in Pensacola. A recent slump has hurt his overall stats (2-8, ERA: 4.85, 93 SO, and 1.24 WHIP). McCambley has lost a lot of games this year with a high ERA, but more often than that, he confidently attacks the strike zone. McCambley is at a new level in the minors facing older, more experienced competition. Throughout time, he will improve and we have to be patient with him. rank: #20

Prospect #19 - Nasim Nuñez

Nasim Nuñez is an interesting name that should be getting more recognition for sure and should be a player on the rise next season. This minor league season in Low-A Jupiter, Nunez has been good (.243 BA, .336 OBP, .630 OPS) with 33 stolen bases, which is more than any other Marlins prospect. I expect Nuñez to rise to High-A next season in 2022 for sure thanks in large part to his speed and defensive skills at shortstop. rank: #12

Prospect #18 - Yiddi Cappe

Top international free agent addition Yiddi Cappe plays for the DSL Marlins at the lowest level of the minors. Cappe is only 18. The Cuban native got off to a great start to the season before going through a few weeks of struggles at the plate (.226 BA, .268 OBP, and .671 OPS overall). Yiddi Cappe is highly regarded in the Marlins organization and by the baseball world in general, but he has a lot left to show. rank: #18

Prospect #17 - Jerar Encarnación

One of my favorite prospects in the system is Jerar Encarnación who has exceeded expectations ever since joining the organization but has had his ups and downs which is why he is relatively low on this list. Jerar has spent time in AA in Pensacola and is now making rehab starts in Low-A Jupiter. This season Jerar is having a mediocre season and striking out too much. He will most likely start right back up in AA in 2022. rank: #19

Prospect #16 - José Salas

José Salas has taken advantage of all the opportunities given to him, including playing winter ball in Venezuela after the 2020 minors season got canceled. Salas is currently on the FCL Marlins and putting up crazy numbers (.400 BA, .494 OBP, 1.023 OPS). Salas is still several years away from making it all the way up to Miami, but he looks like he is on the right track to rise more quickly than most prospects. rank: #17

Prospect #15 - Joe Mack

The Marlins made sure to take a catcher early in the 2021 MLB Draft. They made a big investment in Williamsville’s Joe Mack. Kim Ng mentioned Joe Mack as a bat-first catcher in this league and he does hit pretty well from the stats that we have seen and the way he approaches the plate. rank: unranked

Prospect #14 - Eury Pérez

Eury Pérez is a name to keep an eye out for. This pitcher has really impressed me with what he has done at Low-A ball in Jupiter (2-3, 1.71 ERA, 77 SO, 0.95 WHIP). Pérez’s stuff and unique size give him a lot of promise and what I have seen from him was enough to place him in the top half of my list. rank: #22

Prospect #13 - Connor Scott

A former first-round draft pick, Connor Scott has really not been impressive (in my opinion) but what he has done this season so far in High-A Beloit doesn’t hurt (.240 BA, .311 OBP, .676 OPS). Scott remains in the discussion about the future of the Marlins center field position, but he is not yet ready to be rushed up in 2022. Scott can go up on my list with a strong finish to the this minor league season. rank: #14

Prospect #12 - Griffin Conine

Acquired in the Jonathan Villar trade, Griffin Conine who has been one of the best players in the Marlins minor league system this year. The son of Mr. Marlin Jeff Conine has been on fire this season at Beloit and now in Pensacola (.238 BA, .363 OBP, .941 OPS, and 29 HR). Conine does not quite make it into the top ten because he has more to work on before being fully ready for The Show. So far, so good with the Blue Wahoos. rank: #16

Prospect #11 - Peyton Burdick

Peyton Burdick and Conine are 100 percent swappable, but just for now Burdick, has the advantage of more experience in AA. This season Burdick has been one of the players to watch on the Pensacola Blue Wahoos team that has huge names on it. Burdick has been good at the plate this season (.214 BA, .369 OBP, .845 OPS), especially in August. Burdick brings a combination of power-hitting and good defense to the table. I expect Burdick to maybe be a possible September call-up, if not a big piece on the 2022 Miami Marlins roster. rank: #11

Prospect #10 - José Devers

Entering the top 10 we have José Devers who has played limited time in the big leagues but has a bright future ahead of him in the Miami Marlins infield. If not for a current injury, he would be an everyday AAA Jacksonville player at the young age of 21. Devers makes the top 10 because of natural hitting ability and versatility to be a good infielder wherever he’s needed. rank: unranked

Prospect #9 - Kahlil Watson

Kahlil Watson has all the tools to be one of the best in the game. Watson was considered a top 5 prospect entering the 2021 draft but slipped all the way down to pick 16 for the Marlins to take him. Watson makes the top ten because of the huge potential that me and others see in him coming out of high school. He can be a athletic shortstop defensively and a great batter offensively, the kind of player the Marlins desperately need. Watson should be debuting in the FCL any day now, potentially moving up to Low-A Jupiter in September. rank: unranked

Prospect #8 - Kameron Misner

Kameron Misner is making my 8th spot on the top 30 prospects. This is a great prospect who is currently in High-A Beloit putting up solid but good numbers that has gotten it done (.233 BA, .337 OBP, .731 OPS). Misner won’t be up in the Majors anytime soon but AA Pensacola can be right around the corner for this kid once 2022 begins. Misner has all the tools to be a solid MLB player. rank: #13

Prospect #7 - Jake Eder

One of the best surprises in the minor league system has been Jake Eder, who has shown everything you want in a pitcher and has crushed it in AA Pensacola where he is currently pitching great (3-5, 1.86 ERA, 95 SO, 0.99 WHIP). Eder made an appearance in this year’s MLB Futures Game during All-Star weekend in Denver, Colorado. Baseball America already moved Eder onto their list of Top 100 MLB prospects and should be doing the same soon as well. rank: #21

Prospect #6 - Lewin Díaz

Lewin Díaz is an interesting player in my opinion, and the way that the Marlins have been using him is not pleasing to me. At the beginning of the MiLB season, Díaz was dominating the competition (.223 BA, .304 OBP, .802 OPS) and earned his spot on the 26-man roster during the season. Lewin had nice moments in that short sample, including three homers that helped the Marlins get into games and sometimes even win them. But the Marlins continue to play Jesús Aguilar as their regular first baseman and sent Díaz down even though he has nothing left to prove. Lewin is a great player, both at the plate and defensively. rank: #6

Prospect #5 - Jesús Sánchez

Jesús Sánchez has gone through it all when it comes to playing baseball. He was brought up for the first time in 2020 where he was not good at all. When the 2021 season began, Jesús was torching it up in AAA—at one point, his batting average was .508 before coming back down to earth a bit (.349 BA, .400 OBP, 1.043 OPS). Sánchez would eventually get a chance to be recalled to Miami and given a second try. This time, he is taking advantage of it (.265 BA, .315 OBP, .748 OPS). rank: #5

Prospect #4 - JJ Bleday

JJ Bleday is the best Marlins OF prospect they have right now and he has shown a lot of potential, but he has had his struggles in AA Pensacola (.197 BA, .310 OBP, .662 OPS). There is no rush to call the 2019 top draft pick a “bust” when this is only his first full minor league season. On the other hand, he doesn’t deserve to be ranked above 4th when other Marlins prospects have even better upside. rank: #4

Prospect #3 - Sixto Sánchez

Sixto Sánchez is one of the best pitchers in this system and will be a starter come next season if healthy following recent shoulder surgery. Sixto has been in MLB and had success, both during the regular season and in his first playoff game. Sixto was brought in from the J.T. Realmuto trade and it seemed to have been a great return at the time. However, this major injury is concerning. With elite velocity and secondary weapons that are hard to hit and consistent command of his stuff, Sixto should be a top-tier pitcher on the Marlins for years to come. rank: #1

Prospect #2 - Max Meyer

Max Meyer makes the second spot on my top 30. That should not be a surprise with what he has done this season in AA Pensacola (5-1, 1.92 ERA, 80 SO, 1.21 WHIP). The only concern that I have with the 2020 draft pick is not about his playing: it is about the lack of confidence that the front office has in him. Prior the 2021 MLB Trade Deadline, a deal was in place to trade Max Meyer from the Marlins to the Los Angeles Angels for CF Brandon Marsh, according to the Miami Herald. Besides that, Max Meyer is the future ace of the rotation and will be one of the best pitchers in the majors when his time comes, which can be as soon as 2022. rank: #3

Prospect #1 - Edward Cabrera

Eddy Cabrera is the number one player on my list and it is by a lot. Cabrera has shown all the skills necessary to be an MLB pitcher, playing outstanding at several MiLB levels (2-3, 2.81 ERA, 74 SO, 1.13 WHIP). He is currently located in AAA Jacksonville and will be making his debut before the end of this season most likely. If Cabrera had not gotten injured over the winter, he may have been in the starting rotation a while ago with all the injuries that affected the Marlins rotation early in the season. Soon enough, Cabrera will have a prime opportunity to justify the hype. rank: #4