The Miami Marlins are faced with a difficult task in 2020, though there are plenty of reasons to watch the team this season. The team has one of the most difficult schedules in MLB. Over the weekend, the Marlins roster reveal began with the announcement of 57 of the 60 spots for their player pool.
But now that Miami’s 60-man set for the 2020 season has been announced, it’s time to take a look at 5 takeaways from the Marlins Roster Reveal.
Marlins Roster: Pitching Prospects in the Pool
Miami sports one of MLB’s strongest farm systems. While there are plenty of solid bats in the minors, the strength of the system sits on the mound. The team’s top prospect, Sixto Sanchez, is among the 60 players in the 2020 pool.
While Sanchez might not break camp with the team, the 21-year-old right hander could very well make his MLB debut this season. The combination of command and stuff makes Sanchez one of the best pitching prospects in all of baseball. Likely headed to Triple-A Wichita after Spring Training, he had a shot at the bigs in 2020.
The other top-end pitching prospects in the pool include: RHP Edward Cabrera, LHP Braxton Garrett, RHP Jorge Guzman, RHP Jordan Holloway, RHP Nick Neidert and LHP Trevor Rogers. It’s unlikely all of these players make their debut, especially considering it’s unclear what the 2020 season will do for a player’s service time.
Cabrera, Garrett, Neidert, Rogers and Sanchez are all among the Marlins’ top-10 prospects, according to MLB Pipeline. While Miami’s starting rotation seemed all but set by the time Spring Training was postponed, there’s a shot that Neidert, the 23-year-old righty who came over in the Dee Gordon deal, could steal a spot in the rotation.
#Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill confirms that Max Meyer will be added to the 60-man roster once he signs. Same with Sean Rodriguez.
60th spot: right-handed relief pitcher Nick Vincent
— Jordan McPherson (@J_McPherson1126) June 29, 2020
Marlins Roster: Positional Prospects in the Pool
Although the Marlins farm system is loaded with excellent arm talent, there are a number of position players who are high-end talents and future franchise cornerstones. JJ Bleday, Jazz Chisholm and Jesús Sánchez are numbers two, three and four, respectively, among the Marlins’ top prospects.
All three are 22-year-old left-handed hitters. It’s only a matter of time before they make their MLB debuts. Having them among the 60-player pool affords Miami the option of bringing them up. Chisholm seems the closest to the Majors at this point, considering his position at shortstop, as well as his power and speed.
The other top position prospects in the pool are José Devers, Lewin Díaz, Jerar Encarnacion and Monte Harrison. At 23-years-old, Diaz sports a power left-handed bat that could be a fixture in the Marlins lineup for years to come.
Harrison is primed to break camp with the team this summer. At 24-years-old, the centerfielder features all-around tools, including speed, arm-strength and defense. During Spring Training, Harrison slashed .364/.481/.500 over 22 at-bats. He also registered six stolen bases and should push Lewis Brinson for a starting spot.
Devers and Encarnacion are unlikely to break camp with the club, though Encarnacion projects as a future DH.
Marlins Roster: Options at DH
With the addition of the designated hitter to the NL, the Marlins find themselves with an extra bat for their lineup. This will simplify manager Don Mattingly’s lineup construction. The team’s free agent signings seem prescient now that they can include a DH every day.
The Marlins added Jesús Aguilar, Matt Joyce and Jonathan Villar this offseason, and each one can man the DH. Interestingly, Miami lists Villar as an infielder. This may indicate he’s no longer being considered for an everyday spot at centerfield. Traditionally a middle infielder, Villar could compete with Isan Díaz and Miguel Rojas for their spots at second base and shortstop.
Should Aguilar win the job at first base, Mattingly could turn to Garrett Cooper. Cooper has struggled with injuries throughout his Marlins career, so DH might suit him well. Other options for DH include: Harold Ramirez, Sanchez and Encarnacion.
Free Agent Snubs
The Marlins spent some money this offseason, bringing in quality veterans to help speed up the rebuilding process. Among those signees was 3-time All-Star Matt Kemp, who the Marlins signed to a minor-league deal in the offseason, and “switch-pitcher” Pat Venditte.
Kemp came to camp as an option for both outfield and first base. Unfortunately, the 14-year vet didn’t make much of an impression during spring training, where he slashed just .143/.200/.143. Kemp may benefit from the new DH rule in 2020, but it’ll be with a different team.
Venditte signed a minor-league deal with Miami this offseason. The ambidextrous Venditte can throw with either hand for the Marlins, thus the “switch-pitcher” label. But he’s had limited success in the majors during his career. His signing was seen as a potential solution to MLB’s new three-batter minimum for relief pitchers.
The Marlins did not invite former 3-time All Star Matt Kemp back for Summer Camp. Kemp was an outstanding player for many years with the Dodgers & Padres but just didn’t impress the Marlins back in February and March.
— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) June 28, 2020
Alternative Training Site
The Marlins are one of the luckiest teams in MLB, despite being nestled in a state riddled with coronavirus cases. Miami’s spring training complex, Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium, is in nearby Jupiter, FL. This will be the team’s alternative training site
The majority of the players in the roster pool will report to Marlins Park for training. However, nearly 20 of them will instead make their way to Jupiter. The players assigned to Roger Dean are unlikely to make their MLB debut in 2020, but will see plenty of personal development.
Having those prospects in Jupiter will allow the team to continue the training for them. Intra-squad games and practices will be allowed. This is especially valuable considering the likelihood of a minor-league season remains low.
First-round draft pitch Max Meyer will also be sent to Jupiter for the summer training camp. Four of the Marlins’ top prospects (Chisholm, Harrison, Neidert and LHP Alex Vesia) are among the 40 who’ll start training at Marlins Park.
Our new Marlins and baseball show called @LoadedBases5R
— Five Reasons Sports Network (@5ReasonsSports) June 29, 2020