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Ely Sussman’s Top 30 Marlins prospects: Tier 3

Breaking down José Salas, Peyton Burdick and JJ Bleday.

Prospects within the same tier are largely interchangeable—considering their ceiling, floor, injury risk, position, room for development, ability to adjust and intangibles, I expect them to have similar career value.

The notes below were last updated on August 14, 2022.

3) INF José Salas

I do not see any holes in Salas’ game. He has added significant strength without compromising his elite speed. He’s doing damage from both sides of the plate and should be able to stick as an infielder long term. He demonstrates his baseball smarts with his baserunning and swing decisions.

All things considered, there aren’t any Marlins hitting prospects with a brighter future than Salas.

4) OF Peyton Burdick

I want to begin with Peyton Burdick’s defense. During his first summer in the minors, Burdick was used almost exclusively in left field. Since then, he’s been getting about half of his innings in center, and it’s not just a gimmick! His arm strength, route-running and decision-making compensate for his limited top-end speed. He can fake it there in MLB games depending on his supporting cast.

Burdick is a “three true outcomes” hitter—he produces a lot of home runs, walks and strikeouts...and not much else. His steep upper-cut swing path makes it difficult for him to connect with pitches above his waist.

He’s an imperfect player, but a valuable one.

5) OF JJ Bleday

JJ Bleday has bulked up and now physically resembles Burdick far more than he used to. He understands the benefits that come with elevating the ball, hitting fewer grounders than any other Marlins minor leaguer over the last few seasons. Even while slumping, he demonstrates great selectivity at the plate.

However, Bleday does not scorch the ball as regularly as Burdick or Kahlil Watson—nearly a month into his Marlins career, his maximum exit velocity has been 107.9 mph (ranking in the 40th percentile among his MLB peers). The former top draft pick has had a mid-.200s BABIP in the upper minors and that’s unlikely to improve in The Show if we continue to live in a world where infield shifting is permitted.

I doubt there’s a path to Bleday becoming an All-Star, but he is a sophisticated hitter who can diagnosis his issues and make adjustments.