We are approximately midway through the 2022 Minor League Baseball season. It isn’t too soon to reward players for good performance by moving them up the MiLB ladder.
Particularly for these three Marlins minor leaguers who are repeating levels that they played at last season, let’s find out what they’re capable of doing against tougher competition.
Ynmanol Marinez, INF, High-A Beloit Sky Carp
Marinez, the 12th-ranked prospect in MLB.com’s 2017 international signing class, inked a deal with Miami at just 16 years old. He struggled as a youngster elevating the ball with his thin frame, registering over a 55% ground ball rate and no home runs at the rookie levels. His introduction to full-season ball in 2021 also went poorly (.234/.277/.355, 72 wRC+ in 79 games).
This year, however, with his added bulk and vicious swing, Marinez has made the necessary adjustments. He has parked 8 balls beyond the fence already this season, dropping his ground ball rate to 42.6%.
In the month of June, the 21-year-old has slashed .377/.415/.468, with 10 multi-hit games in that time period. His initial position was at short, but he’s proven that he’s comfortable at third base this season as it might even be a more natural fit.
Ynmanol Marinez is 4-4 tonight for @beloitskycarp, giving him a career high in hits.— Fish on the Farm (@marlinsminors) June 12, 2022
Marinez, who was given a $1.5 million bonus as part of the 2017 international signing class, has been one of the top hitters in the #Marlins organization lately. He’s 20 for his last 51 (.392). pic.twitter.com/44gLYPYHBr
With no infielders performing particularly well in for AA Pensacola, I’d like to see Marinez and his team-leading 122 wRC+ get pushed to the next level.
Jefry Yan, RP, Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos
I first wanted to write about Paul McIntosh who’s currently tearing up AA, and when Payton Henry went down with an unfortunate injury, I assumed it was a no-brainer that McIntosh would be promoted. Instead, the Marlins plugged that hole by acquiring veteran Ryan Lavarnway. Marlins fans are understandably frustrated. I thought of reliever Josh Simpson as the next-best Blue Wahoos player to focus on, but he was praised at length by our friends at Fish On The Farm. Both of them are strong honorable mentions.
As for Jefry Yan, this lefty is absolutely electric. His fastball easily sits in the high 90s, and it’s his energy and mound presence that may be his most standout traits.
Yan did not allow an earned run during the entire month of May. After a poor three-outing stretch earlier this month, he’s rolling again here in late June. The 25-year-old has been maintaining one of the highest strikeout rates in the Marlins organization all season—his scoreless appearance on Thursday was his only one without any punchouts. Yan’s control issues are apparent (19.7 BB%), but he possesses enough swing-and-miss stuff to compensate.
If former AAA Jacksonville relievers Jimmy Yacabonis and Zach Pop stick on the Marlins major league roster indefinitely, we could see some AA guys get bumped up a level in correspondence.
Charles Leblanc, UTIL, Triple-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp
Every single Marlins fan should know the name Charles Leblanc by now. If you don’t, well, it’s time to learn it. I’m not quite sure why the Marlins refuse to call up their most productive and consistent AAA hitter. His call-up is so overdue, it might be too late as Brian Anderson and Joey Wendle near their returns from the injured list. The club instead gave opportunities to Joe Dunand, Willians Astudillo and Luke Williams to fill the voids, none of whom have distinguished themselves outside of a couple cool moments.
Leblanc leads the Jacksonville squad in wRC+ and OPS by wide margins. A testament to his consistency, between April and May, Leblanc had a stretch of recording hits in 20 of 21 games, and he hasn’t slowed down all that much since then.
It’s possible the Marlins have been keeping Leblanc down all this time to protect him from faltering in the Majors and denting the trade value he has accrued since coming to them in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft last winter. I’m not fully confident in him translating this production to the highest level, but he certainly deserves the chance to prove it.