The rays of hope for a 2022 Marlins playoff appearance are slowly dimming, which means it might now be time to turn more of our attention to the organization’s exciting minor leaguers. Look, if the major league team isn’t ready to make a run right now, the best thing to do is to look forward to what will be.
Here are a few of my bold predictions for our future Fish.
Eury Pérez gets challenged
The 19-year-old pitching prodigy is currently honing his craft in Pensacola with Miami’s Double-A team. After all, he’s still a teenager and the Marlins are not necessarily close to competing. There isn’t a real need to rush him towards the majors.
However, Eury has dazzled recently, particularly in his four starts prior to Wednesday’s. I’d like to see him perform against even better competition. That way, he can demonstrate to the Marlins that he’s a surefire MLB starter in waiting.
Eury Perez's last four Double-A starts...— Eric Cross (@EricCross04) May 29, 2022
22 IP, 1.64 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, 4.8% BB, 38.6% K
Turned 19 last month...
He's now my #5 pitching prospect behind Grayson Rodriguez, Shane Baz, Daniel Espino, and George Kirby.#MakeItMiami
It’s reasonable to project that the Marlins will be sellers come trade season. In that scenario, they’ll want to have the flexibility to dip into their starting pitching reserve and deal to address other needs. Let’s see Pérez get the opportunity to prove himself at the Triple-A level between now and then.
Nasim Nunez finishes the season hitting over .250 and with 75 steals
One of the more exciting players in the Marlins system, Nunez is greater known for his tremendous glove. But it has been his bat that has really started to pick things up as of late. In the absence of power, the undersized switch-hitter relies on puncturing holes in opposing defenses, and he’s been doing just that with a .333/.395/.359 slash line in his last ten games. That has upped his average to a respectable .228. He has 23 steals—by far the most in the Marlins organization—which puts him on pace (if he plays every remaining game) to finish with about 60.
With him now getting on base more than ever, it’ll give him a good chance to crack 75.
Jumbo Shrimp hit 6 home runs in one game
The Marlins’ Triple-A squad has tons of pop. They have hit 67 home runs as a team, which ranks 3rd in the International League, and have six players with at least 6 home runs. Now adding Jerar Encarnación to the mix—who already has four long balls in just 15 games at that level—it gives this team a legitimate shot to achieve this feat.
The Jumbo Shrimp hit four homers on both April 16 and April 26, but haven’t surpassed three in a ballgame since. Their lineup is deeper than ever, filled with sluggers who are determined to earn promotions to The Show.
10+ major league debuts this season
If the Marlins indeed continue on this downward trajectory, chances are they’re going to want to see what they’ve got in their farm to build around. Recently waived Joe Dunand is the only fresh face so far to break through to the active roster for a 2022 debut, but he won’t be the last. Max Meyer and Peyton Burdick are almost assured to see big league time at some point this season, and every team eventually turns to non-descript relievers to fill out their bullpen at various points.
So where are the others coming from? I’d love to see the aforementioned Jerar Encarnación called up (it helps that he’s already on the Marlins 40-man roster). Former first-round draft pick JJ Bleday could get a few weeks of major league ball under his belt as well. If the Fish decide to reward top performers in their system, it’s hard to look past Charles Leblanc, Lorenzo Quintana and even JD Orr.