When MLB international free agency opened on Sunday, the Miami Marlins signed more than 30 new players, led by Janero Miller (MLB Pipeline’s No. 16 international prospect). Miami’s bonus pool ($6.37M) was tied for the largest among all MLB teams and they spent almost all of it on the first day of the signing period.
“Intentionally tried to go a bit more position player-heavy given how pitcher-heavy we have focused before,” said Marlins senior director of international operations Adrian Lorenzo.
Here are five particular players/storylines that stand out about this class.
Miami goes big on the Bahamas
“The Bahamas has a special place in my heart as a market,” Lorenzo said. Of the six Bahamian players from this international class who signed with MLB teams, three of them struck deals with the Marlins.
Rumored to be going to Miami for many months, Miller ($950k bonus) is a two-way player. Not only is he a lefty pitcher, but he is also an outfielder. Currently listed at 6-foot-2, he is expected to grow even more. Lorenzo said the Marlins will give him the opportunity to continue with both hitting and pitching. He’s more likely to be a position player long term, in Lorenzo’s opinion.
Third baseman Breyias Dean ($325k) is another pretty lengthy player who can have the ability to hit for some power. He is a little bit slower than Miller at this stage of his development with a 7.02 60-yard time.
Finally, outfielder Daniel Gaitor ($300k) has a cannon for an arm. Averaging 80 mph and topping 85 mph is no joke at just 17 years old. His size is similar to the other Bahamians and he ran a 6.90 60-yard dash. Way too early to predict where he will play in the outfield, but it would be nice to see him gain experience in all three spots.
Fabian López, SS
Described as a “true shortstop profile” by Lorenzo, López ($650k) is one of the better defenders in the signing class. The Marlins feel he is a “slam dunk” to stick at the position as a pro. Lopez is a switch-hitter with “sneaky pop.”
After signing just one catcher in 2021-22, the 2022-23 Marlins class includes five of them: Adrian Bello, Jeremy Almonte, Jesús Abreu, Alexander Requena, and Nixon Chirinos. Out of the five, Bello stands out the most due to his versatility to play shortstop and outfield. Abreu possesses the strongest arm of the group.
Japanese pitcher signs with Miami
RHP Hiroshi Takahashi is the lone Japanese player of the signing class. Fluent in spanish as he was raised in Venezuela. Should be an interesting player moving forward.#Marlins pic.twitter.com/2x9SgZpSiR— Kevin Barral (@kevin_barral) January 16, 2023
Japanese amateurs are not normally available to MLB teams, but Hiroshi Takahashi hasn’t had a normal journey.
“He was scouted similarly to how a Dominican player would be scouted,” Lorenzo explained. Takahashi’s mother is Japanese while his father is from Bolivia. He was raised in Venezuela, and in the past couple of years, he went over to the Dominican Republic to showcase himself. That is where the Marlins found him and took interest in his fastball and breaking ball qualities.
Cuban talent on the way?
This Marlins signing class does not include any players from Cuba yet—left-handed pitcher Jarol Fernández ($10k) was introduced on Sunday, but he technically signed during the previous period.
Lorenzo described the Cuban market as a complicated and expensive one, but he hopes to get more deals done in the future.
Lorenzo tampoco descuenta que los Marlins firmen a algunos cubanos en el actual período internacional.— Francys Romero (@francysromeroFR) January 15, 2023