Midseason Marlins rookie ball updates

Names to get familiar with at the lowest levels of the Marlins farm system.

Throughout the course of the 2023 season, there have been many guys who have stood out from the Marlins’ affiliates in the Florida Complex League and Dominican Summer League. These are the youngest players in the Marlins organization, so they’re also the furthest away from making a major league impact. Still, it’s important to monitor their progress because you can be sure that other MLB teams are paying attention. It’s no coincidence that the New York Mets wanted Marco Vargas and Ronald Hernández in exchange for reliever David Robertson—Vargas and Hernández were Miami’s very best rookie-level performers.

Even with those two out of the picture, there are more FCL/DSL prospects worth highlighting.

INF Fabian López (DSL Miami)

At the just the age of 17, Fabian López has found early success in the DSL as he is slashing .259/.316/.414/.730 with four home runs, 18 RBIs and a 93 wRC+. López has had an aggressive approach at the plate with a walk percentage that is less than half of the DSL average this season. He is also striking out at a 24.3% rate.

López has been the everyday shortstop for DSL Miami, also starting four games at second base. He earned a spot in last week’s DSL All-Star Game.

Although a lot of these guys will chance their mechanics as they develop, López current has a similar swing path to fellow Marlins prospect Dane Myers.

OF Jancory De La Cruz (DSL Marlins)

The second DSL All-Star, Jancory De La Cruz, is having himself a great season slashing .248/.376/.447/.823 with five home runs, 22 RBIs and a 119 wRC+. When you look at his batting stance, it looks like he models it after Juan Soto and Jesús Sánchez. The bat movement is the same, but the only notable difference is that De La Cruz stance is a bit lower and the leg kick is also larger than Soto’s, but not by too much.

If De La Cruz continues to stick in center field as he gets older (that’s been his only position this season), the prospect world will take notice.

OF Andres Valor (DSL Miami)

Although Andres Valor has a high strikeout rate, he is still slashing .277/.341/.440/.781 with four home runs, 17 RBIs and a 104 wRC+. He leads all Marlins rookie ball players with 18 stolen bases (78.3% success rate). He should have the arm strength to be a solid corner outfielder.

The big thing for Valor this season is to cut down on the strikeout rate, which has been improving slowly since his debut.

INF Erick Lara (DSL Marlins)

Despite the lack of games played, Erick Lara has been one of the top performers when playing as he is slashing .329/.429/.476/.905 with one home run, 21 RBIs and a 148 wRC+. He’s been used mainly at shortstop since debuting on July 1.

So far, Lara has benefited from a very high BABIP (.448). Even if he’s hitting the ball hard, that will probably come down eventually.

C/INF Carmine Lane (FCL)

A 2022 draft pick, Carmine Lane was primarily a third baseman at USF, but the Marlins drafted him as a catcher. After being limited to only three MiLB games during his first summer as a pro, Lane is currently slashing .371/.522/.371/.893 with three RBIs and a 159 wRC+.

It’s too soon to say whether Lane can stick at the catcher position defensively, but the bat is definitely intriguing. He’s the oldest player in this article (22 years old). Now that the trade deadline has passed, it shouldn’t be much longer before he gets promoted to Low-A to face more age-appropriate competition.

INF Daniel Gaitor (DSL Miami)

The Marlins have become one of the best MLB teams at scouting the Bahamas, and Daniel Gaitor has found success early on in his pro career, slashing .244/.392/.412/.804 with three home runs, 15 RBIs and a 123 wRC+. Gaitor walks a ton but strikes out a ton as well, accounting for about half of his total plate appearances.

C Jesús Abreu (DSL Marlins)

Another young catcher who could be coming up quick through the system is Jesús Abreu. This season, Abreu is slashing .257/.426/.371/.797 with five RBIs and a 124 wRC+. From videos that we have been given access to, Abreu’s pop time is as quick as it gets. I have been told he’s somebody we need to be keeping an eye on.

RHP Walin Castillo (FCL Marlins)

Walin Castillo has been extremely consistent during his brief professional career. After recording four times as many strikeouts as walks in the D.R. last year, he’s been making multi-inning appearances in the FCL throughout 2023. Castillo hasn’t allowed more than one earned run in any of those appearances this season (1.77 ERA in 20.1 IP).

Additional FCL/DSL Notes

  • Two-way player Janero Miller was the Marlins’ top signing from the 2023 international free agent class. On days that he isn’t pitching, he’s been starting at designated hitter.
  • The 2022 top signing, INF Yoffry Solano, missed the majority of the season due to a wrist injury. He did not appear in any official games between June 9 and August 2.
  • All rookie-level affiliates conclude their regular season on August 22.

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