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Highlights, observations from start of Marlins minor league spring training

Players from the Marlins and Nationals organizations faced off in Jupiter on Thursday afternoon.

Marlins and Nationals prospects scrimmage on the backfields at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium on March 10, 2022 @IsaacAzout/Twitter

On Thursday, for the first time in 2022, the Marlins side of Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium’s spring training complex was open to the media! Fish Stripes sent Isaac Azout to take in all the sights and sounds from it.

The Nationals made the short trip to Jupiter for a pair of concurrent scrimmage games—matchups between the organizations’ “Triple-A” and “Double-A” teams both began around noon. Although regular season minor league assignments won’t be finalized until the end of the month, Thursday’s lineups provided some strong hints.

Regardless of the lockout debacle, Triple-A Jacksonville will have its season opener on April 5. All other full-season MiLB affiliates get started on April 8.

Triple-A Game

Starting Lineup

  1. RF JJ Bleday (my No. 6 Marlins prospect)
  2. CF Peyton Burdick (No. 9)
  3. SS Erik González
  4. 2B Bryson Brigman
  5. 3B Luis Aviles
  6. LF Brian Miller
  7. DH Riley Mahan
  8. 1B Lázaro Alonso
  9. C Santiago Chávez

P Max Meyer (No. 4)

González, Aviles and Ray-Patrick Didder are newcomers to the Marlins org via free agency.

After excelling in the Arizona Fall League and bulking up for winter development camp, Bleday naturally commanded a lot of attention. He made good on it immediately, singling in his first plate appearance against Nats No. 1 pitching prospect Cade Cavalli, then homering to right field his next time up.

Bleday improved to 3-for-3 with another single after that (against a Washington reliever).

Joe Frisaro of Man On Second Baseball reports that Meyer’s fastball velocity sat in the 96-97 mph range. Per Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald, he topped out at 98 and totaled about 50 pitches over three innings of work. Meyer said himself that he mixed in “a handful” of changeups.

After losing a full season due to a nerve issue in his biceps, right-hander Jeff Brigham has returned to competition. Brigham tells Isaac that he’s scheduled to throw another two innings on Sunday.

Double-A Game

Starting Lineup

  1. CF Víctor Víctor Mesa
  2. LF Griffin Conine (No. 30)
  3. 1B Troy Johnston (No. 29)
  4. RF Thomas Jones
  5. C Sam Praytor
  6. 3B Demetrius Sims
  7. DH Bubba Hollins
  8. 2B Cobie Vance
  9. SS Devin Hairston

P Luis Vizcaino

The 20-year-old Vizcaino is quietly coming off an intriguing year in the Florida Complex League, showing unreliable control but limiting opponents to a .311 slugging percentage. He has grown to 6-foot-5 and 211 pounds, according to measurements provided by the Marlins at their winter development camp.

It’s notable to see Kevin Guerrero here. Guerrero just signed as an international free agent last year out of the Dominican Republic. He doesn’t even turn 18 until next month! A typical prospect in his situation would make his regular season stateside debuted in June for the FCL club, but maybe he’ll be challenged at Low-A Jupiter even before that?

Johnston recorded two doubles. Sims pulled a homer to left field.


Access to these particular games was limited to credentialed media, but the Marlins say that the RDCS backfields will be open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays moving forward.