The Beloit Sky Carp are the subject of our first Miami Marlins full-season minor league affiliate review. The Sky Carp put up a record of 31-34 in the first half of the season and a near-identical 31-33 mark in the second half. As a result, Beloit missed out on the Midwest League playoffs. However, the fans came out to support regardless, as the team set a new single-season attendance record in 2022.
Beloit Sky Carp (62-67)
The biggest contributor to the Beloit Sky Carp pitching staff was M.D. Johnson. Johnson pitched in High-A for half of the 2021 season and had a 8.95 K/9 and a 3.94 BB/9. He improved in both categories this season (10.04 K/9 and 2.25 BB/9), leading the team with 9 wins. Why has Johnson not gotten the call to AA-Pensacola after 171 1⁄3 quality innings? It’s a mystery.
Former second-round draft pick Dax Fulton was another key piece of the starting rotation. Although his ERA (4.07) seems a bit ordinary, his FIP (3.08) is more representative of his true talent. Other than top prospect Eury Pérez, Fulton had the best strikeout rate among all Marlins minor league starting pitchers in 2022. He turns 21 years old in October.
Dax Fulton gets a much deserved quality start tonight for @beloitskycarp. Had the bottom half of the zone locked up.— Fish on the Farm (@marlinsminors) August 21, 2022
6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 10 GO
Fulton’s ERA shrinks and his FIP remains minuscule.#Marlins pic.twitter.com/Z1VConqgO4
Zach King and Pat Monteverde both posted sub-3.00 ERAs with the Sky Carp, giving the Marlins even more young lefties to get excited about in the future.
In past seasons, Evan Fitterer was considered a Top 30 prospect in the Marlins organization, but he still hasn’t fully figured things out on the mound. The main positive was his durability—he made a team-high 22 starts—but the quality of those innings was nothing special. He allowed at least one walk in every game.
The final pitcher to mention is 2021 7th-round pick Gabe Bierman. He wrapped up the season with 2 solid starts for the Sky Carp. Bierman should be an anchor of their starting rotation for most of 2023.
By far the best Sky Carp position player this season was Nasim Nuñez. His hit tool improved tremendously, creating opportunities for him to show off his incredible speed on the basepaths. He slashed .247/.390/.323, getting walks 18.8% of the time in High-A. Nasim stole 49 bases in 85 games at this level with a good success rate (60 attempts).
Nasim’s success in Beloit—getting on base nearly 40% of the time and providing by far the best defense at shortstop—earned him a promotion to AA-Pensacola.
Another player who caught my eye is Cody Morissette. He has been able to hit for power at a High-A level with 13 home runs and 51 RBIs. Morissette does strike out at a 23.7% rate and could benefit from more patience. Although the Marlins will try to develop Morissette as a great all-around player, having him become a power-hitting 3rd baseman would fill a need in the organization. It could have been an even better year for him if not for time missed with a foot injury.
Highly regarded switch-hitting infielder José Salas was promoted to Beloit midseason. Salas did get off to an extremely hot start at the High-A level, but cooled down to finish with a below-average .230/.319/.340 slash line in 48 games. He went a perfect 18-for-18 in stolen base attempts. He got reps at second base, third base and shortstop, with third projected to be his long-term defensive home. Salas will be back in Beloit next season until his bat takes another step forward.
A player who opened some eyes this season is Ynmanol Marinez. Repeating the High-A level, he showed a good amount of both power and contact hitting as well as great defensive versatility (mainly third base with some first base and shortstop mixed in).
The 2022 season was a disappointment for former college star Tanner Allen. The Marlins drafted Allen with hopes that he would move fast through their minor league system, but they demoted him to Low-A in July when he had a .209/.268/.321 slash line.
Although their win-loss record was nothing special, the Sky Carp coaching staff had success advancing Marlins prospects to the next level, particularly on the pitching side. The team finished last in the Midwest League with 85 home runs and second-to-last with 547 runs scored, so maybe there are changes coming on that side of the ball.
Expect some new additions to the Sky Carp roster at the start of the 2023 season. College draft picks like Jacob Berry and Torin Montgomery could get promoted if they take care of business in spring training.