Strikeouts have been the Marlins’ calling card the last several years on both offense and defense. A recent pivot toward contact skills has already rewarded them with a couple strong stretches from Bryan De La Cruz, but the team’s bread is definitely buttered on the pitcher’s mound, where the organization remains rich from top to bottom.
Format = Position Player | Age on 4/1/2023 | Highest Level Played | Expected Time of Arrival
1. RHP Eury Perez | 19 | AA | 2023
It’s tough to keep Eury Perez in perspective. He’s 6’8” 220 lbs and started his second Double-A game on his 19th birthday. His control came and went this season, netting him a 4.08 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 75 innings as a 19-year-old facing hitters half-a-decade (5.4 years) older than him. He missed about a month late with injury but returned before season’s end, walking four batters in two innings on September 16 to round out his 2022. If you track prospects, you have to like this guy for his easy velocity and repeatable, athletic mechanics. He’s a unicorn. The only rub here is his perceived value. After all the off-season ink has dried, Perez could be the consensus top pitching prospect in baseball–a mantle frequently carried by players who wind up disappointing us in the long run. Last year’s top two were Shane Baz and Grayson Rodriguez, who will again be in the running for king of pitching prospect mountain after missing most of 2022 with a lat strain. For most of Perez’s trajectory, I’ve been hammering the gas, but I’ve backed off over the past few cycles as his name value has skyrocketed. I even traded him in the Highlander Dynasty Invitational last year. Brought back Camilo Doval who was crucial to me winning that league. I’d still want Perez wherever I could get him. I’m just wary of the price point and think he’s likely to struggle if he debuts in 2023.
2. 3B/OF Jacob Berry | 21 | A | 2024
Thanks to What We Do in the Shadows, I can’t see the name Berry without thinking of the line “my darling ladywife Nadja” as delivered by the great Matt Berry. Miami’s drafting of Jacob Berry represented a pivot from swinging for the fences with all their prospects, opting instead to target a few guys who make regular contact. As their reward, Berry ripened nicely during 33 games in Low-A, slashing .264/.358/.392 with three homers and a steal. Not the sweetest fruit you’ll ever find on the vine, but you can squeeze a little juice from the 118 wRC+ those numbers netted. If he doesn’t deliver a lot more thump in 2023, he’ll tumble down this list. The six-foot switch hitter won’t help us in the stolen base category, so batting average won’t be enough for us. He’s second now but in the same tier as Fulton at seven if I block it out that way. That’s probably Fulton’s fault though, to be honest. He might be the best seven in the league by the time I finish all thirty lists.
3. SS Kahlil Watson | 19 | A | 2025
Look, I’m not in the dugout, but I get ugly vibes from the reporting around Kahlil Watson. Not about Watson, by the way. He produced a 96 wRC+ in 83 games at Low-A, where he was 2.1 years younger than the average-aged player. You might think he’d gain some believers after producing an average season in a full-season league as a teenager, but the strikeout rate has scared away some would-be Watson fans. As has the media. With a couple good months at any point in 2023, Watson could be a power-speed 20-year-old in Double-A. He’ll turn 20 on April 18 and likely open the season in High-A. I’m buying where I can.
4. SS Yiddi Cappe | 20 | A | 2025
This list carries some high hopes for the franchise, and it feels like nobody can boost his profile more than Yiddi Cappe could with a big 2023. He wasn’t particularly good in 37 Low-A games (.278/.299/.380) after generating a lot of buzz in 30 games on the complex (.305/.364/.517 with six homers and six steals). Driving the hype beyond the statlines, Cappe is a 6’3” 175 lb double-plus athlete across the board with a good chance to stay at shortstop, encouraging some taste makers to rush him up their lists before the outcomes demand it.
5. LHP Jake Eder | 24 | AA | 2023
Exhibit 16,999 charting the perils of chasing pitching prospects, Eder was fairly cheap to acquire for both our purposes and Miami’s. The Marlins selected the 6’4” 215 lb lefty in the fourth round of the 2020 draft and found themselves with a quick profit, pushing Eder straight to Double-A, where he dominated for 71.1 innings. He was cruising toward a 2022 debut when his elbow gave out in September of 2021. He’s been back on the mound for a while now and should be part of the rotation picture early in 2022, which gives him the edge over Meyer for our purposes.
6. RHP Max Meyer | 24 | MLB | 2022
Exhibit 17,000 charting the perils of chasing named young arms in dynasty leagues, Max Meyer blew out just two starts into his major league career. He had Tommy John surgery in August and won’t be back in the roto picture until 2024. A slight silver lining is that he held up long enough to make the show, meaning he’ll be IL-eligible for your fantasy teams, and he’ll earn service time for himself. Meyer’s a dynamic athlete with incredible balance and power throughout his delivery, so I think he’s more likely to land among the players who return successfully than those who never quite make it back.
7. LHP Dax Fulton | 21 | AA | 2025
After struggling to find the plate in High-A but earning a promotion despite a 1.43 WHIP across 97.1 innings, Dax Fulton didn’t miss in Double-A, posting a 0.76 WHIP in 21 innings as a 20-year-old. If he can retain that form, hitters are in trouble. September was not a lucky month, is what I’m saying, as the 6’7” 225 lb Fulton requires none to create impressive outcomes. His plus fastball pairs well with a picturesque double-plus curve he can drop in for free strikes or bury for swinging strikes. Big win for Miami as the 40th overall pick in 2020, where he fell to them mostly because of Tommy John surgery during his senior high school season.
8. OF Jose Gerardo | 17 | DSL | 2026
Pitchers and long shots with topside: that’s been the Marlins’ way for a long time, so it’s no surprise to see that reflected in the list. Gerardo struck out a lot (30.3%) but more than made up for that with plate patience and the impact of his contact. His .284/.417/.551 slash line isn’t all that amazing given the level, but Gerardo hit 11 home runs and stole 18 bases in 19 attempts and looked good doing it. At 6’1” 179 lbs, he’s a prototype outfield athlete.
9. SS Jose Salas | 19 | A+ | 2024
A switch-hitter at 6’2” 191 lbs, Salas is a fluid athlete with a penchant for thievery, swiping 33 bases in 34 attempts across two levels this season. He also hit nine homers, 20 doubles and 4 triples in those 109 games, so the power is in there. Just may take a while for Salas to manifest it from both sides in games.
10. C Paul McIntosh | 24 | AA | 2023
A plus athlete behind the plate, McIntosh has earned a look in the near term. He’s seen time in left field and could come up as a back-up catcher and fifth outfielder. I’m way more intrigued by him than I should be by a mid-twenties catcher with questionable contact skills. At 6’1” 220 lbs, McIntosh is quicker than the average backstop and stole ten bases in 90 Double-A games, chipping in 13 homers while maintaining a 14.4-to-19.6 walk-to-strikeout rate.
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I’m @theprospectitch on Razzball.