Fish Stripes consistently provides Marlins winter ball updates during the MLB offseason. At FishStripes.com/offseason, you can find weekly news, stats, highlights and (small sample size) analysis. This will be the last Offseason Fish article of the 2020-21 offseason.
If you are completely new to Fish Stripes, welcome. If you are the type of person who turns off your Marlins fandom when the season ends and flips it back on when spring training begins, I’m not here to judge! And even if you’ve been consistently following along with Offseason Fish, this ought to be a valuable roundup.
The following Marlins players spent portions of their 2020-21 winter getting reps in professional leagues and tournaments:
- Harold Ramirez (Caimanes de Barranquilla/LPB)—The Colombian outfielder received far more playing time than any other Marlin, and he really needed it coming off a 2020 season that was ruined by COVID and a hamstring injury. Ramirez seemed tentative early in the winter, but found his groove in mid-December. He posted an impressive .345/.415/.482 slash line in 37 LPB contests and continued representing his country at Serie del Caribe. He’s the same Hitting Harold we saw as a rookie with the 2019 Marlins...for better or worse. His defensive awkwardness and preference for smashing ground balls/low line drives puts a relatively low ceiling on who he can be in the major leagues.
- Lewin Díaz (Estrellas Orientales/LIDOM)—The previous winter (2019-20), Díaz took home Rookie of the Year honors in the Dominican Republic. He was the victim of some lousy BABIP luck this time around, but was essentially the same player. The 24-year-old played 32 total games in the regular season and postseason, hitting .232 with three homers and good defense at first base. Though likely to be on outside looking in at the Marlins Opening Day roster, he should earn a call-up relatively quickly.
- Joe Dunand (Leones del Escogido/LIDOM)—Dunand is the one Marlins position player who legitimately boosted his stock this winter. With great run production and Gold Glove-winning work at third base, he would have been in the LIDOM MVP race if not for a few nagging injuries. His .319/.398/.542 slash line in 21 games translated to a scalding 186 wRC+, according to WinterballData (100 is league average). Wholly deserving of being a non-roster invitee at Marlins spring training.
Joe Dunand dinger!!— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) December 12, 2020
MVP MVP MVP pic.twitter.com/I9bzFOD9cW
- Sandy León (Tigres del Licey/LIDOM and Caimanes de Barranquilla/LPB)—León played 17 games in the D.R. before teaming up with Ramirez for 15 more in Colombia. He uncharacteristically struggled to contain opposing baserunners for Tigres del Licey, but that normalized over the full winter sample size (34.3 CS% on 35 attempts). A .172 hitter overall, León added enough walks and home runs to get his offensive contributions up to respectability.
- Anthony Maldonado (Criollos de Caguas/LBPRC)—I had been vaguely aware of the 2019 11th-round draft pick. However, he easily exceeded my expectations. The big right-hander has a major league-ready fastball (mid-90s velocity and an ability to locate it). He struck out nearly 30% of batters faced in Puerto Rico, then during Serie del Caribe, Maldonado showed the poise and stamina—twice pitching on zero days’ rest—required to be a high-leverage reliever.
- José Salas (Águilas de Zulia/LVBP)—In the absence of a Minor League Baseball season, this winter was the 17-year-old’s introduction to the pros. He got his ass kicked in the batter’s box (.154/.233/.179, 19 K in 43 PA), but that was inevitable when facing much, much older competition. Signed by the Marlins as a shortstop, Salas was frequently asked by his Venezuelan club to patrol the outfield and handled it well.
- Jesús Sánchez (Toros del Este/LIDOM)—This was Sánchez’s third winter with Toros del Este. Yet again, he had to settle for irregular playing time on a veteran roster (reigning LIDOM MVP Peter O’Brien and former MLB All-Star Gary Sánchez got priority at the corner outfield and designated hitter spots). In just 10 games, he authored several of the most sensational highlights of any Marlins player this winter.
Jesús Sánchez with the BOOMING go-ahead triple pic.twitter.com/Hroge2rXXE— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) December 2, 2020
- Antonio Velez and Brian Navarreto (Indios de Mayagüez/LBPRC)—Only three games played for Velez and seven for Navarreto. Better than nothing!
- Isan Díaz (Criollos de Caguas/LBPRC)—Poor timing for Isan. He arrived on the island to help out Criollos de Caguas during their playoff run. But they didn’t really need him to sweep their semi-finals opponent, then COVID issues with Puerto Rico’s other teams put the competition on pause for two weeks. Díaz (.167/.412/.250, 4 K in 16 PA) returned to the U.S. rather than wait it out.
- Alberto Guerrero (Federales de Chiriquí/LPBP)—COVID complications halted traditional winter ball in Panamá. Guerrero salvaged something from the offseason by earning a spot on their Serie del Caribe roster. He pitched 1 2⁄3 innings and dug deep for a 96 mile-per-hour fastball against México.
- José Devers and Jerar Encarnación (Gigantes del Cibao/LIDOM)—They teased us! Consensus Top 30 Marlins prospects Devers and Encarnación played in several preseason games for Gigantes del Cibao, but weren’t on the roster at any point after that. Devers especially—with only 198 official pro games under his belt—could have benefited from the experience. Oh, well.