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Isaac Azout’s Updated Marlins Top 30 Prospect List

Ranking the top talent in Miami’s farm system following the 2022 season.

Miami Marlins starting pitcher Max Meyer (23) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at loanDepot Park. Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The Marlins farm system isn’t what it used to be. At its peak during the 2019-20 offseason, Miami’s farm ranked #4 in all of baseball according to MLB Pipeline. Today, I would rank it in the 11-15 range. That being said, there is still a very intriguing combination of high-upside arms along with immensely talented, young, up-the-middle position players in the system.

Below, I rank the 30 best Marlins prospects based on the future value I believe they will produce during their careers in the Major Leagues.

  1. Eury Pérez (RHP): The consensus #1 prospect in the Marlins’ organization, Perez is a 19-year-old who reached Double-A in 2022. In 16 starts in that year, he finished 3-3 with a 3.97 ERA while striking out 102 batters in 77 innings pitched. His ERA finished a bit unflattering as he was roughed up while pitching through an arm injury on August 5. Nevertheless, he has as much upside as any pitcher in Minor League Baseball and could sit atop Miami’s big-league rotation alongside Sandy Alcantara as early as 2023.

2. Max Meyer (RHP): The third overall selection in the 2020 MLB Draft, Meyer was well on his way to becoming a staple in Miami’s big league rotation. Unfortunately, after he made his Major League debut in July, he was diagnosed with a torn elbow ligament that required Tommy John surgery, which he successfully underwent on August 9. His slider is still 80-grade, and he still has immense upside. He is expected to miss most, if not all, of 2023.

3. Jose Salas (INF): Still only 19, Salas made it all the way to High-A in 2022. While he has experienced some growing pains, the switch-hitter has a knack for making hard contact to all fields and exhibits great pitch recognition. Between A and A+, he slashed .250/.339/.384 in 109 games, with 9 homers. He is more likely to end up at third base defensively at the highest level, where he’ll profile nicely once he fills out a bit more.

4. Jake Eder (LHP): Selected in the 4th round (104th overall) of the 2020 draft, Eder quickly became one of the best pitching prospects in the Marlins system in his first full season. After 3 solid yet uneven years at Vanderbilt, the left-hander was challenged to make his pro debut at AA Pensacola in 2021. All he did was pitch to a sparkling 1.77 ERA in 15 starts with 12.5 K/9. His WHIP was below 1.00, and he only gave up 3 home runs in his 71.1 IP. He even made an appearance in the Futures Game along with Max Meyer. Also along with Meyer, Eder is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. He is expected to be back in 2023.

5. Jacob Berry (3B/DH): The Marlins selected Berry, one of the best pure hitters in the 2022 MLB draft class, with the 6th overall selection out of LSU. The switch-hitter walked more than he struck out in his year in Baton Rouge and registered similar exit velocities from both sides of the plate. There is a concern as to where Berry will wind up defensively. For now, Marlins’ amateur scouting director DJ Svihlik projects him as a third baseman at the highest level.

6. Kahlil Watson (INF): A dynamic athlete, Watson’s professional career hasn’t gone as smoothly as the Marlins would have liked. In the running to go first overall in the 2021 draft, Watson fell to the Marlins at 16 due to signability concerns. In his first full pro season, he struggled on and off the field. At the plate, he struck out an alarming 40% of the time and slugged below .400. Off the field, he was benched by the Marlins for making an inappropriate gesture at an umpire and was even sent back down to the FCL. He is still very young and has as much upside as anyone in the Marlins system, but much work is needed.

7. Dax Fulton (LHP): Perhaps the best prep left-hander taken in the 2020 draft, Miami pounced on Fulton when he was still available with the 40th overall selection. The Tommy John surgery survivor boasts both a plus curveball and plus command. In 2022, between High-A and Double-A, he pitched to a 3.74 ERA and struck out 11 batters per nine innings at age 20. The walks were a bit of an issue, but his arsenal separates him and Eder from the rest of left-handed pitching prospects in the Marlins system.

8. Yiddi Cappe (INF): A physical specimen, Cappe is one of the highest upside position players in the system. Still very young (he turned 20 in September), Cappe has shown tremendous raw power to all fields and has played a respectable shortstop at Low-A. Standing at 6-foot-3 with a ton of projection remaining, he is definitely someone to keep an eye on in the lower levels of the minors.

9. Jordan Groshans (INF): Groshans was acquired at the 2022 trade deadline from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for Anthony Bass, Zach Pop, and Edward Duran. Miami bought low on this player as he was having a down year at Triple-A Buffalo where he was hitting .250 with one home run. Selected one pick before Connor Scott in the 2018 draft, the Marlins have always had their eye on him. After the trade, Groshans’s numbers improved, and he was rewarded with his first Major League call-up, in which he slashed .262/.308/.312. He is more likely to end up at third base defensively, so the Marlins are hopeful he can develop enough power to be an everyday player.

10. Jerar Encarnación (OF): Encarnación was recognized for his strong Minor League numbers in 2022 with a couple of big league call ups. The highlight of his season came on June 19th, when he became the first player in history to hit a grand slam, steal a base, and record an outfield assist in his Major League debut. He was sent down after that but was recalled on August 19, though putting up mediocre results. He has shown special power potential but will need to shorten his swing and improve his pitch recognition in order to be a big-league regular. He will report to spring training with an inside edge to win a roster spot in 2023.

11. Peyton Burdick (OF): A Wright State product, Burdick set a new Pensacola Blue Wahoos record for most home runs and walks in a single season last year. This year, he made his big league debut after another solid minor league season. His plate discipline and power didn’t translate immediately, as he produced an OPS of .665 with four home runs. However, he played a very good center field at spacious loanDepot park and will report to spring training to compete for a 26-man roster spot.

12. Nasim Nuñez (INF): Nuñez, an undersized yet gifted defensive shortstop, has been an on-base machine in his professional career, getting on at a .367 clip in 216 games. His glove alone should allow him to reach the big leagues sometime soon. That being said, with a career .287 slugging percentage, he currently profiles as a Major League utility/bench option rather than a full-fledged starter. His standout offensive skill is base-stealing—Nuñez ranked among MiLB’s best with 70 steals in 2022. He was taken 46th overall in the 2019 draft out of high school.

13. Ian Lewis (INF): Miami’s other Bahamian prince, Lewis, put up great numbers in his pro debut in 2021. In 43 games, he slashed .302/.354/.497 with 18 XBH while only striking out 24 times. Lewis took a bit of a step back in 2022, as he saw his numbers dip to .265/.347/.368. Lewis, only 19, still has tremendous upside as a middle infielder and should begin 2023 at High-A Beloit.

14. Jacob Miller (RHP): Selected in the second round of the 2022 MLB Draft, Miller was handled carefully to begin his pro career. He owns a plus curveball along with a fastball that has reached 97 mph. He was named Gatorade’s Ohio Player of the Year in high school before Miami was able to sign him away from a commitment to Louisville for $1,697,900. He has the upside of a #3 starter.

15. Joe Mack (C): Miami addressed their organizational lack of catching depth with the selection of Mack as the 31st overall pick of the 2021 MLB draft. Mack, 19, showed advanced hitting ability at Williamsville East High, which prompted Miami to sign him to an over-slot deal of $2.5M. He had a solid season in 2022, in which he posted a combined .768 OPS across two levels (Rk & Low-A). He was invited to participate in the Arizona Fall League at the end of the regular season and has performed well thus far.

16. Cody Morissette (INF): A personal favorite, Morissette showed tremendous hitting ability at Boston College, slashing .337/.400/.507 in his 3 years. Miami took him with the 52nd overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft. Morissette has struggled to bring his college offensive success to his pro career so far (.226/.311/.372 in 121 career minor league games) but still possesses one of the sweeter swings in the system and is a breakout candidate for 2023.

17. Karson Milbrandt (RHP): Signed for an above slot value of $1,497,500 in the 2022 draft, Miami was able to lure Milbrandt away from his commitment to Vanderbilt. The athletic 6’2 right-hander impressed scouts with his high spin-rate fastball and high school accolades. He will most likely open 2023 in the FCL.

18. Victor Mesa Jr. (OF): The more talented Mesa brother, Victor Mesa Jr—or as he likes to call himself, “The Chosen One”—made his pro debut as a 17-year-old in the GCL, where he put up solid numbers. While less athletic than his older brother Victor Victor, Victor Jr. has shown the potential for offensive impact while also displaying solid defensive tools in the outfield. In 2022, Mesa Jr. slashed .244/.323/.346 at High-A Beloit.

19. José Gerardo (OF): The Marlins signed Gerardo for $180,000 out of the Dominican Republic during the 2021-2022 International Signing Period. With an 80-grade arm, according to MLB Pipeline, Gerardo has some of the best all-around tools in the system. In the DSL in 2022, Gerardo slashed an astounding .284/.417/.551.

20. Ronald Hernández (C): Arguably the best defensive catcher in the system not named Will Banfield, Hernandez, 19, signed for $850,000 out of Venezuela in January of 2021. While he hasn’t impacted the ball offensively as much as he’d like, he has a nice swing from both sides of the plate and comes with nice tools. He will most likely open 2023 in the FCL.

21. Sixto Sánchez (RHP): The jewel from the J.T. Realmuto trade, Sixto has not thrown a professional pitch in two years. He underwent an arthroscopic bursectomy on October 5, the second surgery he’s had on his right shoulder, and is expected to be ready for Spring Training in 2023. Don’t hold your breath, Marlins fans.

22. Troy Johnston (1B/OF): One of the best pure hitters in the Marlins’ system, Johnston made it all the way to AAA Jacksonville in 2022. After a tremendous junior season at Gonzaga, Miami selected Johnston in the 17th round of the 2019 MLB draft. Having already played in both upper levels of the minors as well as the Arizona Fall League, Johnston is on pace to make his Major League debut sometime in 2023.

23. Charles Leblanc (INF): Leblanc was selected by the Marlins in the minor league phase of the 2021 Rule 5 draft after 6 seasons in the Rangers’ system. After he tore it up at AAA Jacksonville (.302/.381/.503), he was called up to make his Major League debut on June 29th. The rest of the way, he became one of Miami’s most consistent offensive performers and will report to Spring Training in the running for the starting 3rd base job next year.

24. Zach McCambley (RHP): After a promising first year of pro ball, McCambley took a step back in 2022. He spent the entire year at AA Pensacola, where he pitched to a 5.65 ERA and walked 5 batters every 9 innings. He did show significant prowess at times during the year-as evidenced by a couple of 10+ strikeout performances-but will need to show major improvement next season to remain a prospect.

25. José Devers (INF): One of the pieces Miami received from the Yankees in return for MVP Giancarlo Stanton, José Devers (cousin of Red Sox star Rafael Devers) made his big league debut in 2021. While most felt it was a rushed call-up, Devers held his own and slashed .244/.304/.317 while not hitting for much power. Injuries have been his biggest problem so far in his young career—his 2021 season ended after he underwent surgery to repair a posterior labrum tear in his shoulder and the same injury continued to plague him in 2022. Still only 22, I continue to hold high hopes for Devers’ career.

26. Antony Peguero (OF): Signed for $575,000, Peguero, 17, is the most advanced player in Miami’s 2022 international draft class, according to MLB Pipeline. He slashed .286/.355/.424 in 50 games and only struck out 35 times. I expect him to open 2023 in the FCL.

27. Andrew Nardi (LHP): Selected in the 16th round of the 2019 draft, Nardi has been a nice story to follow. In his first full year in 2021, he pitched for Jupiter, Beloit, and Pensacola, where he combined to go 4-3 with a 3.61 ERA with a solid strikeout-to-walk ratio. He pitched even better in 2022 to earn a Major League call-up. He struggled mightily in his limited sample size, but figures to be an important piece of Miami’s big league bullpen for the foreseeable future.

28. Josh Simpson (LHP): Like Nardi, Simpson had a great minor league season in 2022. Between AA and AAA, Simpson held opponents to a .177 batting average and struck out 112 batters in 68 innings pitched. He will most likely be added to the Marlins 40-man roster this month and enter spring training with a chance to prove he’s ready to contribute at the highest level.

29. George Soriano (RHP): The 23-year-old Dominican right-hander has quietly put together an impressive minor league career, and 2022 was no different. To end the season at Triple-A Jacksonville, Soriano pitched to a 1.01 ERA over his last 26.2 innings pitched, holding opponents to a .159 batting average. He could see the big leagues at some point in 2023.

30. Jordan McCants (INF): The 2021 third-round pick is a light-hitting shortstop with well above-average speed. In his professional career thus far (all in Rookie Ball), he’s slashed .239/.316/.313 in 73 games. He could see time in Low-A in 2023.

While ranked Miami’s system #16 overall, they still have some of the best pitching and middle infield depth in all of baseball. With many of the players listed above set to make their Major League debuts next season, Marlins fans will soon be able to watch the next wave of Marlins at loanDepot Park, with players like JJ Bleday, Jerar Encarnación, Peyton Burdick, and Max Meyer already having made their debuts. However, the Major League team continues to be a work in progress, so Kim Ng and company may lean towards trading from some of their minor league depth to supplement the big league roster.

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