The Miami Marlins are a baseball team. I mean the sport they play is recognizably baseball. 

Other than that, there isn’t a lot of certainty in Miami. Even 2019 Whit-alike contest winner Jon Berti seems as likely to fall back as spring forward in 2020. 

Is it really darkest before the dawn?

Anyway, hope floats just off the coast. Er, inland, where Marlins affiliates are loaded with the fruits of an organizational tear-down that would’ve been vetoed in my home league. 

“Fruits” feels kind of extreme. Maybe we should call it the “eggplants” of an organizational tear-down. 

The eggplants for all-world Christian Yelich were players who do everything but hit, which seems to be something of a type for the Front Office helmed by Derek Jeter and Gary Denbo. They whiffed on Lewis Brinson who whiffs at everything, and they face a similar fate for everything in those Yelich and Stanton deals from two winters past unless someone (looking at you, Monte Harrison) changes their trajectory. 

Either way, even with those brutal trades, the Marlins are trending up thanks to a deep farm with rich soil for arms. 

 

Format: Position Player | Age on 4/1/2020 | Highest level played | ETA

1. SS Jazz Chisholm | 22 | AA | Early 2021

If you’re going to trade away your best piece from the one tear-down trade that didn’t suck, you’d better get a number one prospect out of it. 

The Marlins were both lauded and panned for their mixed bag of deadline moves this July. The front office is confident it can find and develop arms, but I think they sold a little early on RHP Zac Gallen. With another half-season anything like his 2020, he’d be among the best long-term assets traded at the deadline in recent memory. The counter argument: Gallen was already a premium piece, and Jazz was the best prospect moved in July. 

 

2. OF Monte Harrison | 24 | AAA | Mid 2020

3. RHP Sixto Sanchez | 21 | AA | Early 2021

4. OF JJ Bleday | 22 | A+ | Mid 2021

5. RHP Edward Cabrera | 21 | AA | Mid 2021

I have Monte ahead of Sixto in my top 150 fantasy baseball prospects because speed with power has more value than pitching, but Harrison is less likely to actualize at the major league level thanks to his volatile hit tool. That said, he was on a 27 HR 60 SB pace across 54 AAA games this season, finishing 20 for 22 in stolen base attempts. 

Sixto Sanchez gives Miami exactly what Denbo wants: a fastball with enough pace to live atop the zone and a curve change slider off-speed compliment to get hitters chasing down and out. His strikeout numbers haven’t been elite, but everything else has, and he’s always been young for his level. 

I said some stuff about JJ Bleday in the top 150 fantasy baseball prospects, where I’m afraid I overrated him. He’s unlikely to steal bases and will have to hit well to stay ahead of the age curve and justify the Marlins’ pick and my ranking. He’s got the talent to do exactly that—I just think I ranked some guys below him who’ve got better situations, track records and topsides. 

Edward Cabrera is something of a supersized Sixto with more strikeouts but less command. Huge upside with upper 90s heat. 

 

6. OF Jesus Sanchez | 21 | AAA | Mid 2021

Acquired in a deadline trade with Tampa, Sanchez is the Marlins’ ideal acquisition: big tools that supersede in-game utility. 

My guess is he never equals the value of Nick Anderson, who was the most dominant reliever in baseball after switching over to the AL East. 

I realize we love bats in dynasty, but every single MLB team is seeking relief help every single season. If you’ve got one of the best relievers on the planet, don’t trade him for an above-average power, average speed corner outfielder who swings at everything. Just one man’s opinion. 

 

7. SS Jose Devers | 20 | A+ | Early 2022

8. OF Kameron Misner | 22 | A | Early 2022

9. LHP Trevor Rogers | 22 | AA | Mid 2021

10. LHP Braxton Garrett | 22 | AA | Late 2021

11. 1B Lewin Diaz | 23 | AA | Early 2021

Jose’s cousin Rafael credited his 2019 breakout to working hard on physicality and fitness, and I can’t help but wonder if maybe Jose will stay at his place, drink creative and pump iron all off-season. 

A guy can dream. 

Which is what the Marlins are no doubt doing about a kid who hit .325 in 33 games as a 19-year-old in High-A. That’s not normal. He didn’t get to any power, and he might never really thump, but good-hands shortstops with plus speed and great hit tools climb fantasy lists like no other demographic. 

Kameron Misner looks like a find at pick 35 overall in this year’s draft. He hit the ground running in A ball, and rumors of his batting practice exploits are drool-inducing. In typical new-fish fashion, Misner is safely plus or better everywhere but the hit tool. 

Trevor Rogers had some beautiful days in his neighborhood this summer, effectively rebooting a disappointing pro career for the 13th overall pick in 2017. 

At 6’6” he has a huge advantage when he finds consistent mechanics that maximize extension. Over his final eight starts in high A, Rogers struck out 66 hitters in 53.2 innings on his way to a 1.68 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and 29.1 K-BB percentage. Safe to say he earned that promotion to AA. 

The story of Braxton Garrett’s 2019 season is pretty similar. Injuries had robbed 2016’s seventh overall pick of his chance to shine, but he showed well when he finally enjoyed a run of good health. 

Acquired from Minnesota for Sergio Romo and Chris Vallimont at the deadline, Lewin Diaz might see some major league at bats in 2020 if he forces the issue. He hasn’t struck out much on the way up the minor league ladder despite being young for the level and long levered at 6’4″. He has the perfect skill set to benefit from juiced balls.

 

12. OF Jerar Encarnacion | 22 | A+ | Early 2022

13. RHP Jorge Guzman | 24 | AA | Late 2020 

I’m not typically big on hitting statistics from the Arizona Fall League, but the pitching is a little sharper this year because there’s no dead time between the MiLB season and the AFL. I’m still more likely to ignore than overreact to a couple weeks of exhibition games, but when a hitter who’s coming into his own produces like Jerar Encarnacion, it merits some attention. He’s slashing .289/.353/.533 against strong competition. It’s only been 45 at bats, but his three HR are third in the league, and this is just a continuation of the development he enjoyed during the season. 

A key piece in the return for Giancarlo Stanton, Jorge Guzman can touch triple digits deep into his starts but hasn’t shown the command he’ll need to start in the majors. That said, he ended the season on fire, striking out 36 in 30 innings with a 1.20 ERA and a 0.63 WHIP. 

 

14. OF Peyton Burdick | 23 | A | Mid 2022

15. OF Victor Victor Mesa | 23 | A+ | Late 2022

16. LHP Alex Vesia | 23 | AA | Late 2019

17. RHP Nick Neidert | 23 | AAA | Late 2020 

A third-round pick this June, Peyton Burdick fits in well with the MO: plus power, speed, and throwing arm. Might be physically maxed out, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Seasons don’t get much more disappointing than Victor Victor Mesa’s. His value plateaued before he took a stateside at bat and cratered shortly thereafter. A bounce back to some extent borders on the inevitable. I don’t think I’d be trading for Mesa, but if your league is shallow enough that he’s been dropped, you’d be wise to see if you can fit him on your roster in case he starts fast in 2020. 

Alex Vesia was untouchable in relief across three levels in 2019 and will throw big league innings in 2020. I’m betting they will be good enough innings that he’ll find himself in the closer conversation in 2021. 

I can’t read Nick Neidert without thinking about Animal House, so that’s cool. He might find himself on double secret probation after posting a 1.63 WHIP in AAA but might also find himself on the Miami mound if his command and plus changeup allow his average fastball to play. 

 

Radio Flier:   

RHP Humberto Mejia will have to be added to the 40-man roster or risk exposure in the Rule 5 draft, which means he could find himself called up during a pinch anytime in 2020. He finished 2019 with a successful month in A+, so he’s on track to make the big leap to AA early. 

 

Note: 

I used a lot of mid 2021 in predicting the estimated time of arrival, but those could all be 2022 if the front office decides to cloister the wave. I staggered it here because that’s how I’d play it, letting some of the kids matriculate into the system as they’re ready for the challenge rather than gaming service days, which I think backfires as often as not. I especially like to see players get a few big-league months before a full offseason to prepare for their first chance at an everyday MLB gig. 

  1. knucks says:
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    I moved…
    Malcom Nunez
    William Contreras
    Griff Conine
    #43 Pick

    Got back…
    Seth Corry
    Keynan Middleton
    #28 Pick

    Then I went and picked up Connor Wong off waivers to fill the minors slot. He was the only guy in your Top 150 list that wasn’t rostered already.

    I’d be shocked if some of these guys aren’t reading your articles. These guys are pretty sharp, but if none of them are #RazzNation, I’m hoping that I’ll have that Razz edge I’ve had in redraft for the last 5 or so years.

    My plan is to try to package up a player or two, maybe some high upside relievers like Crick and/or Middleton (we have Holds) and my #28 and #29 picks and try to consolidate so that I end up with 3 picks in the top fifteen or so.

    Right now I own the #1, #15, #28, #29 picks.

    I’ll need to trim back my roster by 3 or 4 players come the FYPD in January, so that I can roster the new Rookies that I draft. Would you mind helping me sort through this list here of the bottom third of my majors roster? I’m going to try to list them out here in the order I value them most. And then keep your thoughts down in my notes for trade talk and/or when the time comes to cut them. Would you agree that Gausman is the first cut?

    Jose Martinez (unsure if we see him land in the AL come FYPD time in January)

    Aaron Sanchez (might not even come back in 2020, might not be an Astro when he comes back)

    K Gibson (Free Agent, but would rather see him stay in Minny, with an eye towards flipping him too)

    K Freeland (Rox pitcher, but can he pitch well to start 2020 and get flipped in April/May?)

    Melancon (old as dirt and my league has a few Braves fans that hate him so he is prob unflippable in the winter)

    Jairo Diaz (Rox pitcher, prob in the 8th inning at best if Oberg comes back healthy)

    K Gausman (bleck… but Kyle Boddy hired)

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Nice deal there! It’s a good year to load up in picks. Also, good time to be grabbing Wong! (Fun sentence alert)

      I had not thought of Gausman in Cincinnati, which does make him a little more interesting, but yeah, I’m still on team bleck. I guess maybe he could be traded as last piece in a 16-teamer, but I agree he’s a pretty easy cut.

      Freeland is a really tough eval in part because he’s almost fully dependent on what Manfraud thinks baseballs are. Or should be in 2020.

      That Sanchez injury puts him on the bubble too, yeah. If he can be stored on a deep IL, he might be a hold (or better yet, trade). How many hurt spots you got?

      I think Martinez and Gibson are holds until we know where they’ll be playing in 2020, which kinda rules them out as January cuts. And if someone gets that DH in NL rumor mill going and brings some interest in Jose, he’s an easy sell.

      In a holds league where everyone hates Melancon, I think he’s safe to cut. Diaz too loses enough value in the format.

      So it looks like I’d go Melancon, Diaz, Gausman and Freeland in that order.

      • knucks says:
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        Super helpful, thx.

        I made another trade last night. In it, I got Jeter Downs (plus the #12 and #26 picks) and gave away Deivi Garcia. This is my list of off-season maneuvering so far. I’m pretty happy about it.

        Gave away…
        Deivi Garcia
        Malcom Nunez
        William Contreras
        Griff Conine
        Archie Bradley
        Dylan Bundy
        #43

        Got back…
        Jeter Downs
        Seth Corry
        Keynan Middleton
        Luis Matos
        Gilberto Jimenez
        #12 Pick
        #26 Pick
        #28 Pick

        I now have Picks #1, #12, #15, #26, #28 and #29.

        Trying to see if anyone will bite on a package of those three picks in the 20s for another pick in the Top 15. We’ll see how that works out.

        • The Itch

          The Itch says:
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          Damnnnn!!! That looks great!

          Also picked up Wong : )

          Love that Downs trade: An expletive wow in my opinion. I like Garcia, but he’s got more built in limiters than Downs, whose working with a lot of built-in advantages. Plus those picks are money. I think this draft will generate some noise as we close in on FYPD season. Picks will have a hot-commodity window.

  2. Matt says:
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    In a 10 team HTH points league (dynasty with 80 prospects owned): would my Devers for a package of Kiriloff, lamet (pitching and power rules-I love his upside), and a pick around 10-prospect 25-30 looking at owned prospects according to your update) be even?

    Would this trade be reasonable value for me? Or what else would you want to see added? I don’t know that I believe in Devers repeating last season again power or average wise and a loss of Betts and/or JD hurts counting stats…

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Hi Matt! And thanks for reading and discussing!!

      I think you can get more than that. If pitching is king in your scoring, I’d want another MLB starter with upside. something like a Luke Weaver Zac Gallen Julio Urias type. If not I’d want a good young MLB bat or elite prospect. I like the draft pick sweetener. Are picks highly valued?

      Sounds like the draft includes everyone who isn’t owned, so I’m trying to wrap my head around that and find/imagine the ownability fringe.

      Is Kiriloff all that valuable in a league where you can just pick up a back-end Top 100 type at any time.

      Guess I’m thinking you should ask for the moon. Consolidating value in a league that size seems important, so it should feel like a super aggressive offer bordering on wild overpay to move a 23-year-old in that setting coming off that season. Hold out until you’re giddy to hit the button.

      • Matt says:
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        I ended up with a better package for him (at least I hope!). Thoughts on:

        My Devers and McKay
        For
        Gallen , tucker, senzel, and a milb pick (prospect in the 60s probably).

        McKays innings limit doesn’t fit my team’s competitive window very well.

      • Matt says:
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        We only have a single milb draft before the season so picks are valuable as milb guys can only be picked up once a year (breakout younger guys like Luciano, j-rod, and Vaughn would have been late picks last year but couldn’t be picked up through the season and are top 5 picks this year)

        • The Itch

          The Itch says:
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          That’s really interesting. Toggles pretty much everyone’s price and gives that pick incredible value. Kind of hard to wrap the mind around the limited economy aspect without seeing it play out.

          I’d probably want a little more certainty for Devers, but all the pieces coming your way could bounce in your favor, thinking about their perceived value now v. where it could be after/during a full MLB season, and I do love the kinds of aggressive trades wherein someone sees an angle they trust themselves enough to play.

          • Matt says:
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            Yeah, I really like tucker (with playing time I could see a top 30 batter season. Senzel has a little less upside, but he should be solid enough after having this year to adjust to mlb pitching. Gallen looks like Bieber-lite to me. And that league even at ten teams has 350 players and generally 100 sp rostered (plus minors) so there is a ton of value in good but not elite like Gallen or senzel-assuming tucker gets the PT. (And quality starts scoring hurts McKay but really helps an arm like Gallen.)

  3. NoOneIsHome says:
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    Nice going, once again, Itch! Looking forward to reading whatever it is that you put together this offseason!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks for the kind words!!!

      I’m eager to see how it all comes together!

  4. Malicious Phenoms says:
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    Good stuff Itch.

    Who you like better going forward, Eric Lauer or Braxton Garrett. Who has the higher upside?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks Malicious Phenoms!

      *Scans room for door-slamming Lauer buttons before answering.

      I’d go with the relatively unknown upside of Garrett. Might see another little skills leap after a healthy offseason. Also think he’s easier to trade for a while, which gets folded in with upside for me.

  5. philip says:
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    Hey Itch, I’m loving these articles. Thanks!

    II picked up Jazz Chisholm off waivers several months back. What kind of topside could we be looking at here? Top five SS? 30/30? Would you call him high-risk at this stage? Should we know a lot more after the upcoming season?

    A guy in my league is open to moving Zac Gallen among others as part of a package for a top bat. How would you rank the following pitchers in a dynasty league: Gallen, Berrios, Whitley, Pearson? Thanks!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Thanks, philip!!!

      That all sounds right on about Jazz, especially that last line. He hit much better with Miami. Could be just small sample noise, could be the development team unlocked something, and/or he might just be the type of player who takes awhile to adapt to each new level he reaches.

      30/30 is within the range of plausible outcomes, which is pretty wide given the risk (ie struggle to make consistent contact).

      And wow—great question on the arms. Gallen and Berrios are much closer than I suspect most would feel at first glance. I’ll give the slight edge to Berrios in part due to team and division, but I won’t be surprised if Gallen looks like the much better asset at some point in 2020.

      So for now I’d go :

      Berrios
      Gallen
      Whitley
      Pearson

      I can see a case for any order among the top three but think Pearson’s is a treacherous enough path in Toronto that he gets dinged for it.

      • philip says:
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        Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I’ll run this by you real quick….

        18-team forever keeper league (keep everyone, no salary). I’m rebuilding for the next 2-3 years (took the team over in August). I turned down the following offer in late September:

        I give: Freddie Freeman, Joe Pederson
        He gives: Gallen, Whitley, Kieboom

        How far off is this in proper value? Grey says I need to get bats in return, not pitching. I’d prefer Hiura over Kieboom, but I doubt he gives him up.

        I’m not in love with it.

        • The Itch

          The Itch says:
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          Yeah I’m with Grey on bats.

          Especially if you’re giving Freeman. Gotta get a sure-thing bat back. I think Hiura’s definitely in play, but I might test the waters on various combinations of the other two pieces. See if you can find who he’s trying to get rid of/undervaluing. I’m thinking about Gallen in particular. He might be seeing him as an ace and Whitley as more of a kick in. In which case you could maybe get another bat and a pick. Good year to get picks.

          • philip says:
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            Thanks, Itch. It think he’s looking to dump Gallen, Pearson, and Kieboom. He includes them in most every trade permutation he concocts. He has a pitching-heavy team, best in the league. Gallen/Pearson are his bottom rung guys so I can see why he wants to move them. Maybe he doesn’t believe in Gallen that much? He isn’t budging on his offers, but neither am I. I’m sure I’ll ask more trade related questions as the off-season continues. Much appreciated, Itch.

            • The Itch

              The Itch says:
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              Interesting. . . I’ll bet you’re right that he’s trying to move those and open space . . . I wonder how low you could go on a bat to pull those three . . . wonder if Joc brings back Gallen and Kieboom . . .

              Could be he’s devalued the lot by offering them around the league, but maybe he’s been mostly working with you thus far, and you could find a match for Carter K?

              Even if not

  6. Grey

    Grey says:
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    Itch, quick question, why do the Marlins suck? Will hang up and wait for your answer.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:
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      Can we blame the baseballs? Cuz I gotta say, Grey: these guys keep messing with the baseballs, which is unfair and confusing and might even be discriminatory.

      Also might be something to do with the humidity in Miami.

      That sounds like a thing, right?

      It’s so humid their money gets moldy if they don’t keep it locked away at all times and never give it to any players ever for any reason.

      These employees too: totally covered in mold. Whole locker room stinks. Just makes it difficult to come to work and focus on baseball.

      So they don’t.

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        You’ve got a lot of great theories, I’m going with the humidity, I’m allowed to pick one

      • andrew edenbaum says:
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        Damn, why doesn’t Jeter do something about that ? Sounds awful !

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