The longest season in the history of the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp saw the development of many minor leaguers who made their way to Miami and impacted the team. Under the leadership of new manager Daren Brown, they finished in 3rd place in the International League East division standings and didn’t drop below the .500 mark at any point after the month of April.
This article will focus mainly on players who made the jump from AAA to MLB, plus a few season-long Jumbo Shrimp who had interesting production in 2022.
Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (80-69)
When Max Meyer began the season at the AAA level, many were eager to see him called up and believed that he was a big league piece that would make an immediate impact as a reliever or in the rotation. After starting the season as one of the hottest pitchers in Minor League Baseball, he spent a month on the injured list due to ulnar nerve irritation. He earned the deserving call-up to the Marlins active roster right before the All-Star break to start against the Philadelphia Phillies.
2022 AAA Stats: 3.72 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 10.09 K/9, 2.95 BB/9 in 58.0 IP
Although his stint was cut short due to Tommy John surgery, Meyer showed flashes of what he is capable of doing at the big league level and we here at Fish Stripes are wishing Max Meyer a speedy recovery.
After getting off to an extremely slow start in AAA, Bleday showed patience and power at the plate. He walked at a high rate (16.3%), but struck out at a high rate as well (27.0%) He was called up by the Marlins soon after Meyer was and played almost every game for the rest of the season.
Bleday has not panned out too well at the big league level. The high walk rate has translated, but nothing else about his offense has so far. He posted one of the lowest batting averages in league and only hit one home run in September/October. Also, it doesn’t look like the 2019 first-round pick will be able to man center field moving forward based on what we have seen from his defense.
The 2021 Marlins Minor League Player of the Year gradually got it going in Jacksonville. Burdick had himself very similar stats to JJ Bleday in 99 games, though without as much bat-to-ball ability. His worst Jacksonville slump (4-for-41, 21 K) actually happened in September in between his 2 stints with the Marlins.
The raw power that Burdick has is unbelievable. For him to be a future regular with the Marlins, he will need to tap into that more consistently.
Jerar Encarnación began the 2022 season in AA Pensacola. It was a short stay because in 24 games, he slashed .358/.426/.583/1.010 with 8 home runs and 18 RBIs. Repeating that level proved to be too easy for him.
There was a small dip in stats after Jerar’s promotion to AAA, but he still enjoyed success overall. Mainly an outfielder in the minors, the Jumbo Shrimp had him playing quite a bit of first base, too.
Jerar turned out to be the hero of the game in his Marlins debut, where he hit a game-winning grand slam and threw a runner out from right field. The rookie has shown flashes of being a solid major leaguer, but the big issue has been his strikeout rate (39.5% with the Fish).
It is still unclear whether Jerar is really part of Miami’s future or if they could trade him for a more established hitter.
The case of Lewin Díaz is a weird one. When in AAA, Lewin will mash and show that he has an incredible hit tool. He even slashed .252/.323/.492/.816 with 19 home runs to go along with his amazing defense.
However, Lewin has struggled to do anything at the plate at the big league level. He didn’t hit with the Marlins in 2020 or 2021, and this season was worse, slashing .169/.224/.288/.512 in 58 games played.
Having the best defense among all first basemen in the org won’t be enough unless me makes proper adjustments.
The Marlins saw quickly that they had gotten a steal with this Rule 5 draft pick. Leblanc’s .381 on-base percentage was the highest for any player who spent at least half the season on the Jacksonville roster. And there was a lot of power to go along with that.
Leblanc slashed .263/.320/.404 for the Marlins to make a strong case that he’s too good to go back down to AAA.
There was a place for Bryson Brigman on the 2021 Marlins when he was slashing .282/.361/.399/.760 and the other infielders weren’t getting the job done. Unfortunately, he never got that opportunity, and 2022 was a different case. His production went down in almost every category. Brigman was mainly the second baseman for Jacksonville this season.
You may as well call Willians Astudillo the AAA Mike Trout. Despite a “slump” at the very end of the season, he slashed .307/.371/.541/.912 with 16 homers and 53 RBI. He even stole 4 bases as a Jumbo Shrimp.
Turning 31 years old next week, Astudillo was fun organizational filler this season, but he probably doesn’t have a role with the Marlins in the future.
Brian Miller baserunning rating: pic.twitter.com/FEqpQvwIRm— Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (@JaxShrimp) August 26, 2022
Overshadowed by the many power-hitting outfielders, Brian Miller is a scrappy ballplayer who will give you defense and amazing baserunning. He had the most hits (119), steals (26) and games played (108) for Jacksonville in 2022.
It was disappointing that Miller was not given a chance by the Marlins to make his mark this year. Hopefully, that occurs at some point in 2023.
Nick Neidert was on his way to a bounce-back season. After clearing waivers in April, he found his groove in 2022 and pitched some of the best baseball of his professional career.
2022 MiLB Stats: 4-0, 1.96 ERA, 3.89 FIP, 9.39 K/9, 1.76 BB/9, 1.04 WHIP
Who knows how much he could have contributed to the Marlins in the second half—likely out of the bullpen—if not for a right knee injury.
Bryan Hoeing at the beginning of the 2022 season was one of the best pitchers in the minor league system. After receiving his promotion to AAA, he began to show the high groundball rate that he has and the fact that he isn’t a strikeout dominant pitcher. He never looked comfortable at the major league level.
The Marlins tried him in a few different roles late in the season. It’s uncertain where he fits in their 2023 plans.
Others who received first-time promotions to MLB this season: Huascar Brazoban, Joe Dunand*, Jake Fishman, Andrew Nardi, Aneurys Zabala*
*No longer with Marlins organization