Miami Marlins Top 30 Prospects

Please send help, I’ve got Stockholm Syndrome. The new front office regime breathed renewed hope into my Marlins fandom, but I’m not sure their moves so far have warranted my optimism. Trading back-to-back MVPs stings even more when the best of the returning prospect package might currently be an SP4. But alas, by sheer volume this system has improved from bottom three two years ago to somewhere around the 15-20 range.

1. Victor Victor Mesa, OF

Age:22

Highest Level: Has not played stateside

ETA: Early 2020

The one big regime change that should sincerely give Marlins fans hope is the about-face strategy in the international market. Nowadays it seems like the best prospects come from the international side. Ronald Acuña, Juan Soto, Vlad Jr, Eloy Jimenez, Nomar Mazara, Julio Urias, Amed Rosario, etc. The Jeffrey Loria front office treated international pool money like points in “Who’s Line”. The Derek Jeter regime, however, recognized how big of an error that was. Pulling out all the stops this offseason, they landed Victor Victor Mesa and his younger brother Victor Mesa Jr. in a package deal that immediately gave them the number one international free agent and their new organizational top prospect.

Victor Victor, son of legendary Cuban baseball player Victor Mesa, is a dynamic player that will impact both sides of the ball. On the field, the former Cuban Gold Glove winner is a sure bet to stay in centerfield thanks to his plus speed, advanced reads and a good enough arm. He honed his craft for years in the Series Nacional in Cuba and his defensive profile is the reason he’ll likely have a major league job for a long time.

When we turn our attention to the plate, here’s where some limitations present themselves. Here at Prospects Live, we’re on board with giving him a 50 hit with current below-average power. But the upside exists for more, potentially creeping into 60/50 territory depending on how much rust he has to shake off after being away from pro ball for more than a year. One thing that shouldn’t be rusty is his speed. He’s put up gaudy numbers in Cuba before and could legitimately be a 30 SB threat, a boon in today’s era of waning speed. Boiling it down, he’s a contact-first player that should flash enough pull side power to let him creep into the double-digit home run totals with enough defense to make him a no doubt regular in a lineup. For an excellent in-depth piece that includes fantasy value, check out our October piece.

2. Monte Harrison, OF

Age: 23

Highest Level: AA

ETA: Mid-2020

.240/.316/.399, 19 HR, .159 ISO, 37 K%, 7.5 BB%, 28 SB

How much leash do you give someone with the tools and physicality of Monte Harrison? The answer is a lot. Recent conversations surrounding the 6-foot-3, 220-pound freak often center around his arm, speed and power and invariably end with “Yeah, but that strikeout rate though”. Yes, Harrison led all of minor league baseball with 215, a mark that would have ranked second in the majors in 2018. He is at present a 20-grade hitter who can’t handle offspeed pitches and lacks pitch recognition. This is what’s singlehandedly keeping him from reaching his potential.

Not unlike Victor Victor, there is a defensive profile to fall back on. He has an 80-grade arm, gets good reads in the outfield and his speed lets him run down most of the stuff that heads his way. The floor of a fourth outfielder exists but the ceiling remains “All-Star”.

Of note is that in the AFL, he dramatically changed his stance, losing his high leg kick for a quieter, wider set up. Because he’s so strong, he can still drive the ball without the torque and momentum that a leg kick produces. Early results are mixed. In the AFL he finished with a .328/.425/.393 with zero home runs and a 16/10 K/BB in 73 PA. If he has to sacrifice some overall power for a significantly better contact profile, it’ll be worth it. Don’t give up on Harrison just yet. He’ll likely repeat Double-A for a few weeks and if he performs well, then the hype train will fill up quickly.

3. Isan Diaz, 2B

Age: 22

Highest Level: AAA

ETA: Late 2019

.232/.340/.399, 13 HR, .160 ISO, 27 K%, 13 BB%, 14 SB

Are you a Marlins fan that’s been yearning for a Dan Uggla profile of the late aughts at second base? You might be in luck. Diaz, who built his prospect stock as a shortstop in the Milwaukee Brewers system, is shaping up to be a three-true outcomes, bat-first keystone player. I’m bearish on his hit tool and think it likely caps out at 45 and it’s admittedly a little worrisome especially if he wants to tap into his plus raw. The game is shifting to accommodate high strikeout players, but even though he’ll likely be a 25 K% guy in the majors, you have to wonder if that’ll let him reach his 25 HR ceiling. His walk rate provides a cushion at the plate as does his ability to play an average second base with enough arm to stay there.

Diaz doesn’t have any glaring split issues and he has enough bat control to handle most of what’s thrown his way. One thing I’ll be watching is his groundball rate, which has steadily risen since 2017 and now it sits in the mid-40 percent. If power is to be his redeeming asset, he can’t afford a mark that high, especially in his future home park.

4. Nick Neidert, RHP

Age: 22

Highest Level: AA

ETA: Late 2019

152.2 IP, 3.24 ERA, 3.48 FIP,  25 K%, 5 BB%, .247 BAA

Seven of the next eight names on this list are pitchers with profiles that rank from low risk to “he might be an SP2 or a forgotten middle reliever.” Neidert is firmly in the former camp. What he lacks in pure stuff he more than makes up for in Pitchability®. He has an easy, repeatable delivery complete with a sort of hitch as he brings the ball over the top that helps mess a little with the hitter’s timing. He has an advanced feel for the strike zone and can hit all four quadrants, maximizing his low-90s fastball thanks to good extension and his plus changeup that he sells well. His third offering, almost a slurve, has slowly improved enough to become a weapon against same-handed batters.

His walk rates are consistently among league leaders and despite the 6-foot-1 frame, he’s learning to log enough innings that he should approach 180+ in a season with consistency. He’s not just a pitch to contact pitcher, as he should survive in the 22-25 K% in his career. Overall, it’s a strong SP4 profile with some shades of SP3 in his better years, and the type that can create a long career in the back end of a major league rotation.

5. Sandy Alcantara, RHP

Age: 23

Highest Level: MLB

ETA: Debuted 2018

161 IP, 3.80 ERA, 4.60 FIP,  18 K%, 9.7 BB%, .264 BAA (11.1 IP in A+, 115.2 in AAA, 34 in MLB)

On pure stuff, Alcantara is the best in the organization. His 70-grade fastball is still alive and kicking, averaging 95.5 mph. His changeup, a potential plus pitch, is a fantastic put-away pitch against left-handed batters thanks to arm-side run and fade. His slider is his third-best offering, though nowhere near as good as his first two pitches. And his curveball has been more of a show-me pitch, using it just five percent of the time in six starts for the Fish.

The frustrating part about Alcantara, and why he’s not ranked higher, is his inability to command his pitches because of their zip. In his final start of the year, a 7 IP, 1 ER, 10 K masterpiece against the Mets, he attacked righties up and in with fastballs that were missing the catcher’s mitt but the batters chased anyways. His changeup tormented lefties and he had a good feel for it that day. But he struggles in getting hitters to chase away more often than not and it becomes easier to make contact off of him which explains why he has below-average strikeout rates and inflated walk rates.

You’d like to think he can grow some more into his 6-foot-4 frame (he’s listed as 170 pounds on the official Marlins roster), but it’d be to the benefit of becoming more of an innings eater rather than improving velocity. Alcantara is expected to be a regular in the rotation in 2019. The potential of an SP3 is still here, but unless the command manifests itself, so is the floor of a dangerous reliever.

6. Tristan Pompey, OF

Age: 21

Highest Level: A+

ETA: 2021

.299/.408/.397, 3 HR, .098 ISO, 21 K%, 14.6 BB%, 10 SB

The first professional season after being drafted 89th overall this past summer can be considered a success for Pompey, a Kentucky product. He climbed three levels, finishing with a 24-game stint in the Florida State League where he maintained his exceptional eye at the plate. He’s a switch hitter whose power comes through more when he’s hitting right-handed against lefties thanks to the loft he gets in his swing. The bat speed and control is impressive for someone his size (6-foot-4, 200 lb) and he’s shown innate ability to get to pitches inside. Overall, the hit tool is shaping up like a future 50 with average power to boot, giving him a chance at some 15/15 seasons in the majors with a healthy slash line.

Pompey also has above-average speed once he gets going that he uses on the basepaths, though his acceleration is lacking, especially out of the box. His fielding and arm leave something to be desired and the Marlins have already played him at all three positions in the outfield. Though centerfield is what he played almost exclusively for Jupiter, I see him eventually settling into a left field role.

7. Jordan Yamamoto, RHP

Age: 22

Highest Level: AA

ETA: Mid-2020

68.2 IP, 1.83 ERA, 2.13 FIP,  32 K%, 5.3 BB%, .173 BAA (11.1 IP in Rookie, 40.2 in A+, 17 in AA)

Yes, this is an aggressive ranking. Yes, I’ve suddenly turned into the Yamamoto guy. But there comes a time where you have to pay someone their due because they keep defying expectations. Yamamoto’s arsenal and size prevent the majority of evaluators from projecting anything higher than an SP4, and more often than not, SP5. And to an extent, I understand. His fastball is the main cause of concern, it’s a pitch that hovers 90-92 and in the fall league was 87-89. But he pairs it quite effectively with a high-spin curveball that’s flashed plus. He’s still bringing along a changeup and a loopy slider that he uses to bust righties.

His short extension isn’t ideal for someone with low velo, and neither is his slight cross-body motion that allows lefties to get a better look at his pitches (and indeed, they hit him better than righties do), but I’m the high man on his command, thinking it can get to average and am already sold on the control.

He started the year almost in June because of injuries to his throwing shoulder and missed time at the end of the season due to the same issue. He should begin the year in Jacksonville and transition to New Orleans in the second half of the season. An extended look in Double-A will be key to really assessing what his future role is. If he maintains a 25 K% with a 6-7 BB%, we might have a low-end SP3 on our hands.

8. Trevor Rogers, LHP

Age: 21

Highest Level: A

ETA: 2022

72.2 IP, 5.82 ERA, 3.04 FIP,  26 K%, 8.3 BB%, .289 BAA

Trevor Rogers has to be one of the most physically imposing lefties in the minors thanks to his gargantuan 6-foot-6 frame. The 13th overall pick in the 2017 draft keeps his long levers in check as he barrels toward home plate, keeping the ball in his hand until the last second and likely adding to his perceived velocity, though there are no minor league numbers to crosscheck that. It’s a fairly repeatable 3/4 delivery -- no easy feat for someone that size -- but his arsenal leaves us wanting more, especially for someone with his build.

Rogers’ four-seam fastball sits in the 90-93 range as the game wears on, though he can reach back for 94-95 when needed. His two-seamer is a groundball generator and a good offering against righties and he’s done a decent job of that in his first taste (46 GB%). His changeup, slider, and curve are all lagging behind and will be his primary development goal in 2019 because his fastball is currently his only dominant pitch. There is some projection remaining on his frame, and you have to hope that with it comes some fastball velocity because sitting 93-95 rather than 90-92 will easily elevate Rogers into becoming the best pitcher in the organization and a potential T100 guy.

9. Braxton Garrett, LHP

Age: 21

Highest Level: A

ETA: 2022

Did not pitch in 2018

Tommy John surgery has limited Braxton Garrett to just 15.1 professional innings since being drafted seventh overall in 2016. As such, it’s been very hard to get a good gauge on what he looks like over the course of a full season and now we have no choice but to wait and see how much of his arsenal returns. He had the best curveball of his draft class, a 70-grade pitch that hovered in the upper 70s, giving him huge separation from his fastball that sits in the low 90s. His changeup was considered another average offering and if you tie the three together with above-average command, you had the ingredients for a rare specimen: a safe prep pitcher.


But alas, pitchers are never safe from going under the knife and now we’re left to wonder if his curveball is still that good and if the command is still there. A successful 2019 for Garrett would be beginning the year in Greensboro (A) and finishing the year in the Florida State League, accumulating about 80-90 innings. Time is still on Garrett’s side, but we’re cutting deeper into his development as a pitcher.

10. Edward Cabrera, RHP

Age: 20

Highest Level: A

ETA: 2022

100.1 IP, 4.22 ERA, 4.51 FIP,  21 K%, 9.6 BB%, .269 BAA

Outside of Rogers’ velocity and Garrett’s arsenal upon return, Cabrera is the pitcher I’m most closely watching in 2019. It was an overall strong showing in 2018. Pitching against competition a year older on average, he held up well as a 20-year-old in full-season ball. Cabrera is athletic on the mound, and not just for someone who’s 6-foot-4. His listed 175 pounds are probably a little light, but not by much. His lower half portends to some more projection.

Cabrera is exciting because of his plus fastball and a slider that flashes the same but is more inconsistent. His fastball has touched 100 in the past but he’s still learning on honing a consistent velocity band as he’ll dip down to 93 and sit 93-97. His changeup is still a below average pitch that needs more refinement.

Cabrera’s command is his biggest obstacle right now. He’s prone to bouts of wildness and he finished the year with a 4.6 BB/9 in his last 11 starts. Part of that is the inconsistent delivery. He’ll show low, 3/4 quarter cross-body motion for a couple of pitches and then return to his high 3/4 slot. Despite the surface stats, there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic because there’s a young, strong foundation here and a path where he becomes a high-strikeout back-end starter.

11. Zac Gallen, RHP

Age: 23

Highest Level: AAA

ETA: 2019

133.1 IP, 3.65 ERA, 4.33 FIP,  23 K%, 8 BB%, .278 BAA

After Sandy Alcantara, Zac Gallen is going to provide the earliest returns in 2019. Gallen is a no frills kind of guy. Setting up on the third base side of the rubber, he attacks hitters with an aggressive -- but repeatable --  over-the-top throwing motion that accelerates just after a brief pause with his leg kick. His delivery helps his four-seamer, cutter, curveball and changeup all play up from their average grades. But in reality, it’s really the command that elevates those pitches and helps him turn over a lineup more than twice. He has that sweet pitchability factor and shows knowledge of sequencing. Though he doesn’t have a standout pitch, Gallen projects to be a high floor, back-of-the-rotation stalwart that won’t have trouble providing value to a team fairly soon after his major league debut.

12. Garrett Cooper, 1B

Age: 27

Highest Level: MLB

ETA: 2019

.212/.316/.242, 0 HR, .030 ISO, 31 K%, 10.5 BB%, 0 SB (38 MLB PA)

Last season was a lost one for Cooper, whose right wrist (contusion, then sprain) forced him to miss almost the entire year. A massive 6-foot-6 right-handed bat, Cooper naturally has a long swing but he’s proven adept at finding the ball with his barrel despite the long levers. There’s plus raw power here and an average hit tool along with the ability to walk at a league-average rate or better. He hasn’t had a chance to adjust to major league pitching but I see someone who can keep the strikeouts below 25 percent when he does, but his limited exposure is why he’s still down here. If you’re in a deep fantasy league, make him one of your endgame fliers. He’ll likely have to battle to win a job in spring training against Peter O’Brien, but Cooper still has interesting upside and a 60/25/75 line is not inconceivable if he gets to 450 PA.

13. Connor Scott, OF

Age: 19

Highest Level: A

ETA: 2022

.218/.309/.276, 1 HR, .058 ISO, 27 K%, 11.5 BB%, 9 SB

This could prove a low ranking for Connor Scott and I cede that this might the lowest you’ll find him in an organizational ranking. Scott is all projection right now and perhaps rightfully so considering his 6-foot-4, 180-pound frame. His swing path is pretty linear and hints at fringe to below-average power in the future, especially because he currently doesn’t engage his lower half. He has solid bat-to-ball skills despite a long swing and shows early signs of a good approach at the plate, encouraging for a prep bat.

Where his profile excels is on the field. Using his plus speed and arm, Scott should have no issues carving out a career in one of the corner outfield spots. He’s passable in center but this organization has three guys (Mesa, Harrison and Brinson) that are significantly better suited for the position.

The makings of a .275 hitter with 10 home runs and 25 steals exist, but I’m a little bearish on him reaching that ceiling. Miami will have to avoid rushing him again (his Sally League promotion was bewildering) in order to let him adjust to better pitching and tweak his mechanics to unlock some of the 50 hit/50 power some think he has.

14. Will Banfield, C

Age: 19

Highest Level: A

ETA: 2022

.238/.308/.385, 3 HR, .147 ISO, 29 K%, 7.5 BB%

The 69th overall pick in 2018 (don’t say it!), Banfield is deemed as the next true catcher of the franchise. They pried him away from his Vanderbilt commitment after paying him $1 million over slot. This is a strong, defense-first profile that’s advanced beyond his years. His footwork is solid, his receiving is soft and his catch-and-throw bolstered by his quick transfer (multiple 1.8 pop times) and 70 arm was considered not only the best in his draft class by a catcher but the best in a while.

At the plate, Banfield flashes some plus power to his pull side (and overall he had more than a 50 pull% in his 39-game pro debut) but was quite susceptible to the strikeout. Even with solid bat speed the feel for the barrel is not quite there and the hit tool is likely not going to show up enough to let him get to all his power. A J.T. Realmuto successor he is not, but the value of a defensive catcher was made clear when the Rangers signed a 35-year-old Jeff Mathis (.564 OPS in 2,419 AB) to a two-year deal. With premium defensive skills to carry the overall profile, Banfield’s bat will have to clear a really low bar.

15. Jorge Guzman, RHP

Age: 22

Highest Level: A+

ETA: 2021

96 IP, 4.03 ERA, 4.45 FIP,  23.5 K%, 15 BB%, .232 BAA

The Miguel Cabrera trade will likely never be topped as the worst trade in Marlins history. But the Giancarlo Stanton salary dump is only a year old and it’s racing up the Top ten. Jorge Guzman, the “big” name in the Fish’s return, turned in his worst year yet as he lost all feel for the strike zone and failed to induce ground balls at his usual rate.

Guzman’s claim to fame is still his fastball, at worst a 70 pitch that can’t quite get labeled as an 80 because he has no glove-side command, likely because of his cross-body delivery. He maintains his 97-98 velocity after the first couple of innings and in the past it’s been an easy out pitch for him as he racked up strikeout rates north of 30 percent. But in a tough Florida State League, hitters laid off and pounced on his average slider (his best secondary) and below-average changeup. Or rather, they didn’t and just took the walk.

Guzman turns 23 in January. He’s yet to reach Double-A and if I had to hazard a guess, it’s 75/25 in favor of heading to the bullpen where he can air it out and grow into closer potential. This upcoming season will be a major deciding factor of his future in the franchise.

16. Osiris Johnson, SS

Age: 18

Highest Level: A

ETA: 2022

.250/.276/.378, 3 HR, .128 ISO, 27 K%, 2 BB%, 7 SB

The Marlins’ insistence on keeping their first three 2018 draft picks (Banfield, Scott and Johnson) together and promoting them simultaneously is a little weird and like Scott, Johnson had a rough transition into his first taste of full-season ball. Johnson, cousin of some guy named Jimmy Rollins, projects to remain on the dirt after he improved his defense and staved off a move to the outfield. As you might expect from someone so young, Johnson is quite raw. There is some intriguing raw power that he flashes in batting practice and he’s still learning how to barrel the ball in games to get to it. In a best-case scenario he could be an upper ‘teens home run guy with a mediocre average and poor on-base percentage.

17. Brian Miller, OF

Age: 23

Highest Level: AA

ETA: 2020

.295/.338/.355, 3 HR, .060 ISO, 11.7 K%, 5 BB%, 40 SB

I’m torn on Brian Miller. There’s still a side that thinks he should be five or six spots higher on this list. Here’s someone who had the 12th-best strikeout rate of 253 minor leaguers with at least 500 plate appearances, showcasing his strong bat-to-ball skills. In an era where the strikeout rate is climbing higher each year, someone who can buck that trend grows in value. Another trend is the loss of stolen bases, something Miller is proving reasonably good at with a 75 SB% rate in 2018.

But then reality sets in. He’s not the 80 burner his stolen bases belie. At best he has plus speed which leads me to believe he’s just beating up on bad minor league batteries and is more realistically a 20-25 steal guy in the majors. His swing is easy and compact but linear and he doesn’t use his lower half. He often gets on top of the ball leading to ground ball rates above 50 percent. To wit, he’s hit one home run in 185 games and the projection for more power currently doesn’t exist. He utilizes his speed well in the outfield but his arm is lacking. In short, Miller is destined to live the life of a bench bat/pinch runner/late defensive replacement.

18. Bryson Brigman, 2B/SS

Age: 23

Highest Level: AA

ETA: 2020

.310/.370/.395, 3 HR, .085 ISO, 14 K%, 7.6 BB%, 21 SB

Acquired from the Mariners in the Cameron Maybin swap, Brigman is not unlike the guy just above him. The 5-foot-11 middle infielder shows an innate ability to make contact with the ball. The righty crouches in the box and strikes with good bat speed that lets him get to the pitch in most quadrants of the zone. His shortening of the zone also helps with his selectivity. He’s a fringe defender at shortstop so the keystone is his likely destination. Brigman’s plate skills give him a floor as a utilityman once he reaches the majors.

19. James Nelson, 3B

Age: 21

Highest Level: A+

ETA: 2021

.211/.262/.280, 2 HR, .069 ISO, 26 K%, 5 BB%, 1 SB

Nelson got a late start to 2018, making his season debut in early June after undergoing meniscus surgery in his knee in spring training. Maybe it was a combination of not being 100 percent healthy, facing much stronger competition in the Florida State League and being overmatched, but Nelson had a complete 180 season from when he was named the Marlins 2017 Minor League Player of the Year. Nelson’s stock is way down but don’t forget he was a pick to breakout before 2018. He conceivably owns an average hit tool, power tool, speed and has flashed some strong defensive plays that should see him stick at third base. Of players in the 11-20 range, he’s my favorite to shoot up the rankings.

20. Jose Devers, SS

Age: 18

Highest Level: A+

ETA: 2022

.272/.313/.330, 0 HR, .058 ISO, 13.2 K%, 4 BB%, 13 SB

Devers is the second prospect that came to Miami in the Stanton trade. A twitchy shortstop who projects to stick at the position, he has strong bat-to-ball skills that aid in curbing his strikeouts. Though his highest level says “A+”, that was just a two-game stint to finish the year. He spent 99 percent of the season in Greensboro holding his own in the full-season ball as an 18-year-old. He still has not grown into his body and some power projection is possible especially with his contact ability, but at best it’ll be fringe.

21. Tommy Eveld, RHP

Age: 24

Highest Level: AA

ETA: 2020

50.1 IP, 16 SV, 1.07 ERA, 2.10 FIP,  30 K%, 5 BB%, .198 BAA

A former quarterback who didn’t begin pitching until he joined the bullpen at the University of South Florida, Eveld has been impressive on the mound considering how little time he’s spent on it. He sets up with his left shoulder facing the batter, almost with his back to the hitter, and a closed delivery with a leg kick until he comes over the top with good extension thanks to his 6-foot-5 frame. He’s a fastball/slider guy with his four-seamer sitting 92-95. The slider sometimes gets classified as a cutter because of how hard it comes in. He was lights out all of 2018 and he’ll be a fast mover with an outside chance of debuting in late 2019 if he continues his success.

22. Chris Torres, 2B/SS

Age: 20

Highest Level: A

ETA: 2022

.256/.389/.350, 2 HR, .094 ISO, 25 K%, 18 BB%, 3 SB

Torres is a switch-hitting middle infielder with the upside of a second-division regular thanks to potentially the best eye at the plate in the Marlins’ farm system. His profile is not unlike Brigman’s, down to the similar foot strike at the plate and the fringe defensive profile. The bat-to-ball skills aren’t as good as Brigman’s though which is why I have Torres a little lower. His left-handed swing is significantly ahead of his right-handed one at the moment as the former has a bit more pop.

23. Colton Hock, RHP

Age: 22

Highest Level: A

ETA: 2021

91 IP, 4.45 ERA, 4.45 FIP,  20 K%, 5 BB%, .275 BAA

A fourth-round pick in 2017 out of Stanford, the Marlins drafted Hock in hopes of converting him to a starter. Last season they didn’t begin the full transition until mid-July when he closed the season out with eight poor starts (6.87 ERA, 14 K%, 4 BB%). There’s effort in his over-the-top delivery and he presently lacks command on his fastball (92-94), often hanging on to it too often and missing in the dirt. He was homer prone as well and I wonder if he could hide the ball a little more in his delivery. The control is there and so is a frame to eat innings along with a curve that’s flashed plus, but there’s a long way to go on his conversion.

24. Robert Dugger, RHP

Age: 23

Highest Level: AA

ETA: 2021

150.2 IP, 3.40 ERA, 3.76 FIP,  22 K%, 7 BB%, .247 BAA

Dugger brings an athletic delivery on the mound, looking like he’s pitching at 150 percent speed. He also weirdly resembles a right-handed Shane McClanahan (Rays LHP) with his motion. He’s got good arm speed but a cross-body delivery that gives left-handed bats a better view of his pitches. As such, he’s had splits issues in his career. He has an above-average fastball with a slider that flashes plus, but a third pitch and general command are lagging. The Marlins, starved for starting pitching, are insistent on keeping him in the rotation but it’s a profile that’s pointing to the bullpen

25. Joe Dunand, SS

Age: 23

Highest Level: AA

ETA: 2020

.239/.303/.380, 14 HR, .141 ISO, 24 K%, 7 BB%, 2 SB

Dunand split his season almost evenly between High-A and Double-A and as expected struggled much more in the latter level. He’s pretty filled out at just over 6’2”, 200 pounds and many expect he’ll shift to third base where his strong arm should still help him play an average third base. At the plate the first thing that pops out to me is his lack of bat speed. He’s a fly ball hitter that still has enough strength to flash plus power in game, but I expect him to continue struggling in Jacksonville, especially as meets better fastballs and breakers.

26. McKenzie Mills, LHP

Age: 23

Highest Level: AA

ETA: 2021

106.1 IP, 4.23 ERA, 3.76 FIP,  20 K%, 8 BB%, .269 BAA

My colleague Jason Woodell invokes the name Dontrelle Willis when referencing Mills, a filled out 6-foot-4 lefty that has a funky delivery from the left side (though nowhere near D-Train’s leg kick). There’s isn’t much extension and I’ve noticed that his arm slot slightly varies from pitch to pitch, so for better or worse, batters are getting different looks. He had a breakout year in 2017 but took a slight step back this season when repeating High-A. He has a fastball that plays on both sides of 90 mph and an average changeup. He also has a curveball as his third pitch. Mills is still in play to become an SP5, which is quite the accomplishment for someone drafted in the 18th round.

27. Victor Mesa Jr, OF

Age: 16

Highest Level: N/A

ETA: 2024

I’m not going to lie to you. I know very little of Victor Mesa Jr., and part of his inclusion here is a bloodlines thing. But I promise this is not a Prospects Live deficiency! No one knows what to expect from the young teenager after being away from professional ball for a while. We know he hits from the left side, has a projectable body and his future ceiling (probably) isn’t of the impact variety. It’ll be a while before we can really form an opinion.

28. Davis Bradshaw, OF

Age: 20

Highest Level: A-

ETA: 2022

.354/.418/.427, 0 HR, .073 ISO, 14 K%, 6.5 BB%, 20 SB

I always love looking at high school or small college slash lines for some of these guys because sometimes it’s so Bonds-ian. In his final year at Meridian Community College in Mississippi, Bradshaw slashed .442/.523/.718 in 52 games with a 29/23 BB/K. That’s…good. When he hit the GCL, he didn’t stop either, accruing a .937 OPS in 27 games before getting bumped to the NYPL and finally slowing down a bit. Bradshaw, an 11th-round selection in 2018, is a 6-foot-3 lefty that has good pull power, is quick with his hands and has plus speed that he isn’t afraid to use on the basepaths. Because of the lack of pedigree I’ll stay skeptical of the numbers for now and assume fourth outfield at best.

29. Nick Fortes, C

Age: 22

Highest Level: A

ETA: 2021

.226/.346/.258, 0 HR, .032 ISO, 6 K%, 14 BB%, 0 SB

Fortes, selected just 48 picks after Will Banfield, has a solid defensive profile behind the plate. He excels at pitch blocking and has good footwork but needs improvement on pop time and arm strength. At the plate he has good bat speed and exhibits an excellent eye, carrying over his walk-more-than-strikeout ways from Mississippi. He profiles as a backup catcher for now.

30. Cason Sherrod, RHP

Age: 22

Highest Level: Rookie

ETA: 2021

19 IP, 5.68 ERA, 3.82 FIP,  28 K%, 10 BB%, .176 BAA

Selected in the seventh round of the most recent draft, Sherrod was a reliever for Texas A&M with a strong fourseam-slider combo. He also owns a cutter and curveball that have flashed average at times and he’s on this list as a flier because I think the Marlins will want to try him out as a starter similar to Colton Hock. Sherrod’s got the size (6’4”, 215 pounds) and presumably the pitches. Also, I think it’s cool that he’s battled against some odds in his life as he’s been 53 percent deaf in both ears since birth. Kudos to you, Cason.