Fish On First Top 30 Prospects

It’s the 2023 end-of-season update to our Marlins top prospects list.

As the search for new front office leadership progresses, Fish On First’s Isaac Azout, Kevin Barral and Ely Sussman rank the top prospects in the Miami Marlins organization. Prospects were evaluated based on their ceiling, floor, age, position and health, along with additional factors.

Each player’s previous ranking is in parentheses. An asterisk (*) means the player will be eligible for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft unless selected to the Marlins 40-man roster.

1. Noble Meyer (1)
2. Max Meyer (2)
3. Thomas White (9)
4. Victor Mesa Jr.* (5)
5. Dax Fulton (6)
6. Yiddi Cappe (7)
7. Troy Johnston* (23)
8. Nasim Nuñez* (11)
9. Jacob Berry (8)
10. Xavier Edwards (13)
11. Dane Myers (10)
12. Jacob Amaya (12)
13. Kemp Alderman (14)
14. Karson Milbrandt (16)
15. Jacob Miller (17)
16. Javier Sanoja (unranked)
17. José Gerardo (20)
18. Antony Peguero (21)
19. Andrés Valor (unranked)
20. Will Banfield* (unranked)
21. Patrick Monteverde (25)
22. Cody Morissette (27)
23. Yoffry Solano (29)
24. Brock Vradenburg (30)
25. Paul McIntosh (24)
26. Fabian López (unranked)
27. Anthony Maldonado* (unranked)
28. Joe Mack (19)
29. Jancory De La Cruz (unranked)
30. Juan De La Cruz (unranked)

Dropped out of the Top 30: Ian Lewis, Janero Miller

This video includes additional analysis on many of these prospects.


1. Noble Meyer, RHP

  • Acquired in 2023 via MLB Draft
  • Finished 2023 at Low-A

With their 2023 first-round draft pick, the Marlins selected Noble Meyer. Through five starts at the FCL and Low-A levels, Meyer had a 4.09 ERA, but he showed improvement from start to start, making two more scoreless appearances in the Florida State League playoffs.

Although best known among evaluators for his fastball/slider combo, Meyer already has a lot of trust in his curveball as well. Hitters don’t have much hope when he gets ahead in the count. Attacking the strike zone is one of the areas he still has room to grow.

In recent years, the Marlins have turned many talented arms into solid MLB starting pitchers. Meyer is the safest bet in their current system to continue that tradition.

—Kevin Barral

2. Max Meyer, RHP

  • Acquired in 2020 via MLB Draft
  • Finished 2023 in MLB (injured list)

Max Meyer, who underwent Tommy John surgery over a year ago, is set to be fully healthy for spring training and he will likely be in the running for a Marlins starting rotation spot. By keeping him at two, we are operating under the assumption that the quality of his stuff will be restored to what he showed before the injury. There’s a high likelihood of Meyer dominating as a reliever even if he doesn’t crack the rotation.

—Kevin Barral

3. Thomas White, LHP

  • Acquired in 2023 via MLB Draft
  • Finished 2023 at Low-A

Thomas White might’ve fallen to the Marlins in Competitive Balance Round A, but it took mid-first-round money for them to reel him in ($4.1M signing bonus). He’s got similar fastball velocity to the Meyer righties with potential to add several ticks in that department as he fills out his 6’5″ frame. White’s curveball is a deadly putaway pitch when he’s getting ahead in the count. As long as the Marlins’ brightest pitching development minds survive the transition to a new front office, his promising changeup should get even better.

The Massachusetts native was eased into pro ball carefully. He has more to prove in Jupiter before climbing any further up the minor league ladder.

Ely Sussman

4. Victor Mesa Jr., OF

  • Acquired in 2018 via international free agency
  • Finished 2023 at Double-A

The more talented Mesa brother, Victor Jr. made his pro debut as a 17-year-old in the GCL, where he put up solid numbers. In 2023, he spent the entire year at Double-A Pensacola as their everyday center fielder. He slashed .242/.308/.412, good for a .720 OPS while providing above-average defense at a premium position. Boasting one of the sweeter swings in the system, “The Chosen One” has emerged as Miami’s best position player prospect and could reach the majors as soon as next September.

—Isaac Azout

5. Dax Fulton, LHP

  • Acquired in 2020 via MLB Draft
  • Finished 2023 at Double-A (injured list)

Arguably the best left-hander taken in the abbreviated 2020 draft, Miami pounced on Fulton when he was still available with the 40th overall selection. The Tommy John surgery survivor boasts both a plus curveball and plus command. In 2022, between High-A and Double-A, he pitched to a 3.74 ERA and struck out 11 batters per nine innings at age 20. Unfortunately, halfway through his 2023 season, he underwent UCL surgery yet again back in June (not a full reconstruction of the ligament). He is expected to be ready for spring training.

—Isaac Azout

6. Yiddi Cappe, IF

  • Acquired in 2021 via international free agency
  • Finished 2023 at High-A

It seemed as though Cappe might be headed for a breakout year through the first month or so of his age-20 season. Instead, it was a significant step back for him. Cappe homered only twice from May onward despite starting practically every game for the Beloit Sky Carp and posted a 55 wRC+ overall. He averaged 3.37 pitches per plate appearance—for context, only Keibert Ruiz of the Washington Nationals saw fewer pitches among qualified MLB hitters in 2023. Cappe’s plate discipline was particularly poor late in the season (three walks in his final 43 games) and he became too fixated on pulling the ball.

The slender Cuban has made second base his primary defensive home. He has the arm strength to fill in on the left side of the infield when needed. Cappe should be repeating the High-A level in 2024.

Ely Sussman

7. Troy Johnston, 1B

  • Acquired in 2019 via MLB Draft
  • Finished 2023 at Triple-A

Miami Marlins Minor League Player of the Year Troy Johnston made the biggest jump on the list, going from 23rd to seventh. Slashing .307/.399/.549/.948 with 26 home runs and 116 RBIs at AA/AAA, he became the first Marlins farmhand since 2008 to have a 20 HR/20 SB season.

The only thing that held Johnston back from reaching the majors in 2023 was his lack of defensive value as somebody who only plays first base (though he was a corner outfielder earlier in his career). His MiLB production is now too incredible to ignore. A Marlins team that struggles so much offensively will find room for him if he succeeds during spring training.

—Kevin Barral

8. Nasim Nuñez, IF

  • Acquired in 2019 via MLB Draft
  • Finishing 2023 in Arizona Fall League

An undersized yet gifted defensive shortstop, Nuñez has hustled, bunted and walked his way to a .358 on-base percentage in 351 games across five minor league levels. His glove alone should allow him to reach the big leagues sometime soon, as he has the best chance of anyone on this list to remain at shortstop. That being said, with a career .286 slugging percentage, he currently profiles as a Major League utility option rather than a full-fledged starter. His standout offensive skill is base-stealing—Nuñez ranked among MiLB’s best with 122 steals the last two seasons.

—Isaac Azout

9. Jacob Berry, 1B/DH

  • Acquired in 2022 via MLB Draft
  • Finishing 2023 in Arizona Fall League

To the disdain of many, the Marlins selected Berry, one of the best pure hitters in the 2022 MLB Draft class, with the sixth overall selection out of LSU. It was a controversial pick because he had no defensive position and generated sub-optimal exit velocities from both sides of the plate. That being said, the 22-year-old showed improvement when promoted to AA Pensacola during the 2023 season (.743 OPS in 28 games). He is currently representing Miami in the Arizona Fall league where he’s gotten off to a hot start.

—Isaac Azout

10. Xavier Edwards, IF

  • Acquired in 2022 via trade
  • Finished 2023 in MLB

Edwards began the 2023 AAA season playing some center field for the first time in his career. He also got looks at shortstop and third base, but he profiles best at second base. Wherever you play him, Edwards is an on-base machine with special speed and bat control. He won the International League batting title (.351 BA in 370 AB).

Edwards made a nice first impression at the big league level, slashing .295/.329/.333/.663 with three RBIs and five stolen bases. He’s still prospect-eligible due to limited playing time.

—Kevin Barral

11. Dane Myers, OF

  • Acquired in 2022 via Rule 5 Draft
  • Finished 2023 at Triple-A

Turning 28 in March, Dane Myers is the oldest player on this list, but he has a good excuse: the former Detroit Tigers farmhand didn’t get meaningful game reps as a hitter until his fifth minor league season (2021). The Marlins scooped Myers up last year in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft and he raked his way to The Show in July. He made hard contact on 26 of his first 49 MLB batted balls, per Baseball Savant, an elite 53.1% hard-hit rate.

Myers’ unorthodox batting stance makes it difficult for him to catch up with top-end velocity and he’s still trying to find a defensive home. He’ll compete for a part-time role on the 2024 Opening Day roster.

Ely Sussman

12. Jacob Amaya, IF

  • Acquired in 2023 via trade
  • Finished 2023 at Triple-A

A glove-first prospect, Amaya was acquired from the Dodgers in exchange for Miguel Rojas back in January. After a breakout 2022 campaign in which he produced an OPS of nearly .800 across Double-A and Triple-A, the 25-year-old made his Major League debut in 2023. He played in four games, going 2-for-9 with a couple of RBI and a stolen base. In 128 games in Triple-A Jacksonville, Amaya only struck out 18% of the time. Defensively, he is big-league-ready. The Marlins would like to see him hit more consistently before promoting him permanently. He is expected to get regular playing time this spring training to make his case.

—Isaac Azout

13. Kemp Alderman, OF

  • Acquired in 2023 via MLB Draft
  • Finished 2023 at Low-A

Kemp Alderman didn’t hit a lick through his first month in the minors. On top of the discouraging results, there was the physical discomfort of getting plunked by pitches in five consecutive games. Coincidence or not, Alderman’s production after the HBP streak was much closer to anticipated (.283/.366/.483 in final 17 regular season and postseason games). Arguably the most powerful prospect in the Marlins organization, Alderman should be elevating the ball as much as possible. Instead, his 61.5% groundball rate in 2023 was actually the highest among Marlins minor leaguers (min. 100 PA).

Alderman should start off 2024 with High-A Beloit.

Ely Sussman

14. Karson Milbrandt, RHP

  • Acquired in 2022 via MLB Draft
  • Finished 2023 at High-A

The decision to rush Karson Milbrandt to Beloit despite a 5.33 ERA at Low-A led to speculation that the Marlins were auditioning him for potential trade partners. Although several notable prospects left the system last summer, Milbrandt ultimately stayed put.

The Missouri native leans heavily on a late-breaking, mid-90s sinker. It’s difficult for the teenager to control, but equally difficult for hitters to square uphe allowed only one homer over his final 14 starts of the season. There is immense upside here if Milbrandt becomes confident enough in his secondary pitches to use them even when he’s fallen behind in the count.

Ely Sussman

15. Jacob Miller, RHP

  • Acquired in 2022 via MLB Draft
  • Finished 2023 at Low-A

To make a full evaluation on Miller is still difficult because his season was interrupted by injury. He isn’t missing quite as many bats as anticipated coming out of the draft and his fastball velocity is only averaging 92 mph so far. That being said, it’s exciting to see a prospect using a true four-pitch mix so early in his pro career.

—Kevin Barral

16. Javier Sanoja, OF/IF

  • Acquired in 2019 via international free agency
  • Finished 2023 at High-A

Javier Sanoja hails from Maracay, Venezuela, just like Miguel Cabrera, Bobby Abreu, Martín Prado and dozens of other big leaguers. Sanoja offers a unique combination of contact hitting, speed and defensive versatility. During his minor league career, he has started 93 games in center field, 78 at shortstop, 64 at third base and 38 at shortstop. While with Jupiter, Sanoja’s average exit velocity was a Jon Berti-like 85.6 mphhe could have a Berti-like career if he reaches his ceiling.

If the Marlins are holding out hope that Sanoja becomes something close to an everyday player, he should begin 2024 back in Beloit. They could also expedite his development as a utility man and give him the bump up to Double-A.

Ely Sussman

17. José Gerardo, OF

  • Acquired in 2022 via international free agency
  • Finished 2023 in FCL

For better or worse, expect José Gerardo’s ranking to change dramatically over the next year. His 36.5 K% in rookie ball is a bright red flag, but he’s extremely young and toolsy. The 18-year-old has posted a 120 wRC+ through 101 DSL/FCL games.

Ely Sussman

18. Antony Peguero, OF

  • Acquired in 2022 via international free agency
  • Finished 2023 in FCL

Like Gerardo, Peguero struggled through his first season stateside, slashing .224/.311/.282/.593 with zero home runs and a 64 wRC+. His 23.3% strikeout rate was pretty close to the FCL average, so it’s not like he looked overmatched. He may have to repeat the level for part of 2024 to make the necessary adjustments.

—Kevin Barral

19. Andrés Valor, OF

  • Acquired in 2023 via international free agency
  • Finished 2023 in DSL

Andrés Valor was the Marlins’ most consistent hitter in the Dominican Summer League. He stuffed the stats sheet with 23 extra-base hits and 21 stolen bases. The 6’3″ outfielder will be one of the main attractions in the complex league next year.

Ely Sussman

20. Will Banfield, C

  • Acquired in 2018 via MLB Draft
  • Finished 2023 at Double-A

Will Banfield finally got it going offensively toward the end of the 2022 season and he carried it over to 2023, slashing .258/.302/.472/.773 with 23 home runs, 76 RBIs and a 100 wRC+. He was named Pensacola’s MVP.

A good defensive catcher throughout his five MiLB seasons with the Marlins, Banfield is still an undisciplined hitter. Let’s see if he can overcome that by continuing to barrel balls at a high rate. As the Marlins’ best all-around catching prospect, they will have to seriously consider adding Banfield to the 40-man roster to make sure nobody takes him in the Rule 5 Draft.

—Kevin Barral

21. Patrick Monteverde, LHP

  • Acquired in 2021 via MLB Draft
  • Finished 2023 at Double-A

Patrick Monteverde won 2023 Marlins Minor League Pitcher of the Year honors. Omitting his miserable outing on Aug. 3, Monteverde posted a 3.31 ERA in his other 22 regular season starts and then pitched a gem in the Southern League playoffs (6.1 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K). Monteverde’s high-80s fastball velocity leaves him with very little margin for error. Already 26 years old, there’s unlikely to be a substantial velo gain moving forward, so sharp command and swing-and-miss secondary pitches will be critical for him.

Expect Monteverde to occupy a spot in the Triple-A Jacksonville rotation next season. His past year’s workload puts him in position to be a starter throughout the 2024 campaign.

Ely Sussman

22. Cody Morissette, IF

  • Acquired in 2021 via MLB Draft
  • Finished 2023 at Double-A

Coming off a severe ankle injury, Morissette continued to show good power for a second baseman. The question is the other aspects of his game. His career on-base percentage is down to .295 and the quality of his at-bats against lefties just wasn’t good enough this past season. He’ll be somebody to watch closely in 2024.

—Kevin Barral

23. Yoffry Solano, IF

  • Acquired in 2022 via MLB Draft
  • Finished 2023 in DSL

Yoffry Solano lost a large chunk of his age-18 season due to injury. When available, he was only used at third base. Moving from the middle infield to the hot corner puts more pressure on him to develop a power strokeso far, he has homered only once in 192 career plate appearances.

It’s taken longer than anticipated, but Solano figures to occupy a spot near the top of the 2024 FCL Marlins lineup.

Ely Sussman

24. Brock Vradenburg, 1B

  • Acquired in 2023 via MLB Draft
  • Finished 2023 at Low-A

Brock Vradenburg improved dramatically over the course of his collegiate career at Michigan State, from a .584 OPS as a freshman to a .809 OPS as a sophomore to a jaw-dropping 1.213 OPS as a junior. His newfound game power didn’t translate immediately to pro ballthe wall-scraper above was his only homer in 39 regular season and postseason games with Jupiter. Like Kemp Alderman, he put way too many balls on the ground. Vradenburg’s .659 OPS could have been even uglier if not for a .347 BABIP.

There’s very little precedent for a 6’7″ hitter succeeding at the highest level, but Vradenburg has impressive contact skills for his size and keen awareness of his strike zone’s dimensions.

Ely Sussman

25. Paul McIntosh, C

  • Acquired in 2021 via undrafted free agency
  • Finishing 2023 in Arizona Fall League

Even in a down season by his standards, Paul McIntosh was one of the Marlins’ few above-average hitters in the upper minors. He’s getting every opportunity to stick at the catcher position.

McIntosh is expected to be a non-roster invitee at spring training for the second straight year, this time with a shot at actually making the active roster.

—Kevin Barral

26. Fabian López, IF

  • Acquired in 2023 via international free agency
  • Finished 2023 in DSL

The second-priciest player in the Marlins’ latest international signing class, Fabian López is a dynamic, switch-hitting shortstop. López didn’t have any prolonged slumps in 2023, but his production petered out as the season progressed. He dipped from a .877 OPS in June to a .697 OPS in July to a .550 OPS in August.

Ely Sussman

27. Anthony Maldonado, RHP

  • Acquired in 2019 via MLB Draft
  • Finished 2023 at Triple-A

Anthony Maldonado established himself as Miami’s finest relief-only prospect. He goes to his low-80s slider early and often, accounting for two-thirds of his total pitches. He commands it extraordinarily well to the glove side. Maldonado has been slowed by a few injuries, but he entered the 2023-24 offseason at full strength, allowing just one earned run in 11 games (15.1 IP) after recovering from a hip-related IL stint.

Maldonado has been dominant in a full season’s worth of Triple-A work (1.76 ERA, 3.01 FIP, 0.93 WHIP in 66.2 IP). The Marlins must select him to their 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, otherwise teams will be lining up to take a flier on him.

Ely Sussman

28. Joe Mack, C

  • Acquired in 2021 via MLB Draft
  • Finished 2023 at High-A

Above all else, Joe Mack needed game reps in 2023, and he did get plenty of those. Mack struggled to slug throughout the first quarter of the season, but gradually improved in that department. All six of Mack’s home runs came during a four-week span (Jul. 19-Aug. 15). Opposing baserunners repeatedly challenged him169 steal attempts in 85 games behind the plateand he threw out 26.0% of them, which is above average under the new rules. On the other hand, he posted a sub-90 wRC+ every month, raising serious doubt about whether he can projected as anything more than a future big league backup.

Mack should be repeating the High-A level in 2024.

Ely Sussman

29. Jancory De La Cruz, OF

  • Acquired in 2023 via international free agency
  • Finished 2023 in DSL

A Dominican Summer League All-Star, Jancory De La Cruz has played all of his defensive innings in center field. He reached base safely in 32 of his first 33 minor league games before slumping later in the season. All 16 of his extra-base hits came with the platoon advantage, so time will tell whether the left-handed batter can produce against southpaws.

Ely Sussman

30. Juan De La Cruz, RHP

  • Acquired in 2022 via international free agency
  • Finished 2023 at Low-A

If there is a name that will be thrown in here and hopefully we see rise, it is Juan De La Cruz. After having success at the FCL level, the Marlins promoted the 18 year old to Low-A Jupiter. De La Cruz’s most notable outing with the Hammerheads came against the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels where he struck out seven in four innings. The Dominican righty possesses a fastball, curveball and slider.

Like any other 18-year-old, there are still a lot of things to improve, but he has shown early on that this is a prospect to keep an eye out for.

—Kevin Barral

Honorable Mentions

  • Walin Castillo, RHP
  • Evan Fitterer, RHP
  • Bennett Hostetler, IF/C
  • Erick Lara, IF
  • Ian Lewis, IF

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