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Realmuto's grand slam lifts Marlins at Coors

Richards baffles Rockies over 6 sharp innings; Dietrich homers in 2nd straight game
Special to MLB.com

DENVER -- J.T. Realmuto hit a game-changing grand slam in the top of the seventh inning against the Rockies on Saturday at Coors Field, giving the Marlins a five-run lead en route to a 6-2 win to even the series.

The Marlins took a one-run lead earlier in the inning, and with the bases loaded, there was no one who could give manager Don Mattingly more confidence to come through in the clutch and give Miami an insurance run or two.

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DENVER -- J.T. Realmuto hit a game-changing grand slam in the top of the seventh inning against the Rockies on Saturday at Coors Field, giving the Marlins a five-run lead en route to a 6-2 win to even the series.

The Marlins took a one-run lead earlier in the inning, and with the bases loaded, there was no one who could give manager Don Mattingly more confidence to come through in the clutch and give Miami an insurance run or two.

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Grand slams mean 40% off pizza

"J.T.'s great -- you know he's not afraid, he's not bothered by anything out there," Mattingly said. "He's one of the guys that you like being up there. I remember telling him last year; at one point he was struggling and I just told him, 'There's no one I like up there better than you.'"

The first three batters of the inning reached against Rockies starter Tyler Anderson, with Yadiel Rivera, Bryan Holaday and pinch-hitter Justin Bour singling to left, right and center, respectively, with Bour plating Rivera to take a 2-1 lead.

Starlin Castro greeted reliever Bryan Shaw by reaching safely on a slow roller to third. Nolan Arenado barehanded the ball and rifled it to first, apparently in time to catch Castro, but the replay official overturned the call after Mattingly challenged, leaving the bases loaded.

Video: MIA@COL: Castro legs out an infield single in the 7th

DJ LeMahieu threw out Holaday at the plate on Brian Anderson's roller to second, setting the stage for Realmuto. The Marlins' first baseman drove a 2-2 cutter from Shaw to the top of the out-of-town scoreboard in right field, clearing the bases and giving the Marlins a 6-1 lead.

"Early on, I felt like I was trying to do too much in that at-bat," Realmuto said. "I was a little late, so once I got to two strikes I was just trying to fight and put the ball in play. A guy on third and less than two outs, I was just trying my best to hit a fly ball, put the ball in play basically. Get a pitch up in the zone and put a good swing on it. All I was thinking was we need that insurance run."

It was Realmuto's second career slam. The first came on Aug. 12, 2015, at home against the Red Sox.

Realmuto's slam was the difference in the game, but it was starting pitcher Trevor Richards who put the Marlins in position to win with his six innings of one-run ball, striking out eight while allowing three hits and two walks, mastering the mile-high atmosphere in his Coors Field debut.

Video: MIA@COL: Richards whiffs eight over six innings

"Fastball command was there," Richards said, unfazed by a park that has haunted pitchers for decades. "Changeup was working pretty well. I left a couple up, [Trevor's Story fourth-inning] double down the line was not a very good pitch. The slider was there today, it was a lot better than it has been. It was a step forward today."

It was Richards' third quality start of the season, his second win and his first on the road. He clearly had the Rockies' sluggers frustrated at their futility with him on the hill.

Video: MIA@COL: Rivera, Castro turn a smooth double play

"They get frustrated when they make outs period, but he's got that kind of changeup that you can know it's coming and be looking for it and you still don't hit it," Mattingly said. "It's a different pitch, and it makes you wait on that. You have to see the ball first, and it actually adds to the fastball from the standpoint of your mind's trying to work, 'I got to make sure it's not the change.' It just adds on to your other pitches."

To round out his day, Richards reached base for the first time in his career on a third-inning walk, then he drove his first big league hit to right for a fifth-inning single.

"We've been working on that for a while," Richards said. "Finally got the ball in play. Hit it where they ain't."

Video: MIA@COL: Realmuto stretches to retire Story

SOUND SMART
Kyle Barraclough closed the game with a perfect ninth inning, extending his career-long scoreless streak to 17 2/3 innings over his last 18 appearances. He hasn't allowed a hit in 10 2/3 innings over 11 appearances. It's the longest hitless streak in the Majors this season.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Moments after making a double switch that removed left fielder Derek Dietrich from the game and moved Cameron Maybin from right to left, Maybin made a diving grab of a Charlie Blackmon drive down the left-field line. Maybin caught the ball as he was fully laid out in a running dive to his right, coming up with the final out of the inning and robbing Blackmon of extra bases.

"You don't want to get anything started here," Mattingly said. "It's one of those places that you just don't want to let any kind of momentum go. I've seen it. It just gets rolling, ball starts dropping, and then, chaos. You don't want to let anybody on base. Obviously, Arenado's coming up right after Blackmon there, so it's one of those outs you'd like to have and have Nolan leading off.

Maybin traveled 54 feet in 3.6 seconds to make the catch, making a play with a 37-percent catch probability.

Video: MIA@COL: Maybin lays out to make spectacular catch

HE SAID IT
"Anytime you can make Arenado look like that a couple at-bats, you know you got your stuff going." -- Realmuto, on Richards' ability to frustrate hitters

UP NEXT
Lefty Caleb Smith climbs the hill for the Marlins in the series finale in Colorado at 3:10 p.m. ET. He faced the Rockies in Miami in April, pitching seven innings of shutout ball while striking out nine and allowing two hits and a walk. Smith leads all Major League rookies with 87 strikeouts in 76 innings. Right-hander German Marquez will start for the Rockies.

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com based in Denver.

Miami Marlins, J.T. Realmuto

Marlins pencil in Hernandez to start Tuesday

Mattingly eyeing right-hander to pitch in place of injured Urena
Special to MLB.com

DENVER -- Even though his starting pitcher only lasted four innings in Friday's series opener in Colorado, Marlins manager Don Mattingly was able to avoid taxing his bullpen in the 11-3 defeat -- a good first hurdle to clear in setting up a pitcher to fill the injured Jose Urena's spot in the rotation when it comes up Tuesday in Miami. Urena went on the disabled list Friday (retroactive to Thursday) with a right shoulder impingement.

"We were able to spread it out and not really get to the guys we use later in the game, so for the most part, we probably came out OK," Mattingly said of Friday's bullpen usage. "Today's game could change it, but for the most part, we were able to spread it out with an inning a piece and didn't really have to burn anybody up a bunch of innings, so it worked out."

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DENVER -- Even though his starting pitcher only lasted four innings in Friday's series opener in Colorado, Marlins manager Don Mattingly was able to avoid taxing his bullpen in the 11-3 defeat -- a good first hurdle to clear in setting up a pitcher to fill the injured Jose Urena's spot in the rotation when it comes up Tuesday in Miami. Urena went on the disabled list Friday (retroactive to Thursday) with a right shoulder impingement.

"We were able to spread it out and not really get to the guys we use later in the game, so for the most part, we probably came out OK," Mattingly said of Friday's bullpen usage. "Today's game could change it, but for the most part, we were able to spread it out with an inning a piece and didn't really have to burn anybody up a bunch of innings, so it worked out."

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Before the series started, Mattingly mentioned Elieser Hernandez and Brett Graves as potential relievers who could make a spot start on Tuesday if the Marlins opted to fill Urena's spot from the Major League staff, rather than call up a starter from Triple-A New Orleans. One day into the series, the picture is looking clearer for Mattingly.

Video: WSH@MIA: Hernandez strikes out Harper swinging

"Hernandez will probably be the guy that gets the start," Mattingly said before Saturday's middle game. "He pitched basically on [Dan] Straily's day [last Tuesday]. Last night, we really weren't going to use him, but he didn't throw his bullpen, so we just used it as his bullpen. He probably won't be available the rest of the series, but everybody else should be available. I think we're OK."

Rojas scratched
Shortstop Miguel Rojas was scratched from Saturday's lineup with a left hand contusion.

The Marlins juggled their existing lineup, shifting Yadiel Rivera from third base to short, moving Brian Anderson from right field to third, swapping Cameron Maybin from left to right and bringing Derek Dietrich off the bench to play left.

Before the lineup changes, Mattingly said he'd been tempted to put Dietrich back in the lineup after he went 3-for-5 Friday and hit his ninth homer of the season. Dietrich is hitting .386 (27-for-70) since May 31 with five doubles and four homers entering Saturday.

Video: MIA@COL: Dietrich belts a solo homer to left field

"Kind of [tempted], but just with the outfield, we're really going with defense," Mattingly said. "This is a huge field, and you see the trouble he had out there."

The Rockies started left-hander Tyler Anderson on Saturday, and Mattingly has been platooning Dietrich and Maybin in the outfield against righties and lefties, respectively.

"Keeps everybody involved," Mattingly said of the outfield platoon. "[Dietrich] has been successful with what we're doing. We kind of found out if you go every day, every day with him it ends up wearing down. Anderson's a pretty even split, righties and lefties. Not that big of a difference. Could try to take his change away with a lefty a little bit more, but for the most part we just try to stay with our lineup. Just because of Coors, with the altitude, we always try to give guys days [off], but sometimes you can't do it."

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com based in Denver.

Miami Marlins, Elieser Hernandez

Chen hit hard as Marlins drop opener in Coors

Lefty allows seven runs in four innings in Miami's third straight loss
Special to MLB.com

DENVER -- The curse of Coors Field was back in force Friday night, though it had a different look than the long balls and extra-base hits the high-altitude park is known for. A tight game in the series opener between the Marlins and Rockies exploded in a bizarre bottom of the fourth, with the Rockies scoring six runs and driving starter Wei-Yin Chen to an early exit on their way to an 11-3 win over Miami.

Double-digit score tallies aren't unusual at Coors Field, but the Rockies departed from standard operating procedure as they seized the lead and sealed the Marlins' fate in the fourth Friday night. There was one hard hit ball in the inning, and only two that would typically leave the infield. Though Chen yielded seven earned runs in four innings, he was better than his line would indicate.

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DENVER -- The curse of Coors Field was back in force Friday night, though it had a different look than the long balls and extra-base hits the high-altitude park is known for. A tight game in the series opener between the Marlins and Rockies exploded in a bizarre bottom of the fourth, with the Rockies scoring six runs and driving starter Wei-Yin Chen to an early exit on their way to an 11-3 win over Miami.

Double-digit score tallies aren't unusual at Coors Field, but the Rockies departed from standard operating procedure as they seized the lead and sealed the Marlins' fate in the fourth Friday night. There was one hard hit ball in the inning, and only two that would typically leave the infield. Though Chen yielded seven earned runs in four innings, he was better than his line would indicate.

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"We didn't give him a whole lot of help," manager Don Mattingly said of Chen. "Keep guys in the right spots, throw to the right bases, things like that. But the third time through [the lineup], seems like [Chen] has trouble getting a swing-and-miss. As you start getting around the third time, it's like a lot of foul balls. Blackmon at-bat, foul ball, foul ball, foul ball. You put the ball in play here, you got a shot."

The fourth frame was Exhibit A for the idea of putting the ball in play. The inning began with the score tied 1-1. Ian Desmond singled to center to lead off, and after Tom Murphy struck out, Carlos Gonzalez beat the shift with weak contact off the end of his bat that went past third and into left for a double, with Desmond scoring after Starlin Castro dropped the throw back to the infield. Noel Cuevas drove an infield single to second, and pitcher Jon Gray scored Gonzalez on a sacrifice bunt fielder's choice to first baseman Justin Bour, whose throw home was not in time.

Video: MIA@COL: Brinson lays out for a terrific diving grab

"I think I'm moving in the right direction, but there was some tough luck out there," Chen said. "There's some adjustments I need to make, but I couldn't make it on the field, so with some tough luck, the damage was done to the club. There's something I can do better. I don't know what to say about it. It's just a tough night."

As the inning continued, a wild pitch put runners on second and third for DJ LeMahieu, who lofted a sac fly to center to plate Cuevas. Charlie Blackmon kept the inning going with a run-scoring bloop single to left, setting up Nolan Arenado for the only hard-hit ball of the inning, a two-run homer that traveled 420 feet into the left-field seats -- his fourth consecutive game hitting a home run. Chen struck out Trevor Story to end the inning, then was lifted for a pinch-hitter after allowing seven runs, all earned, on 74 pitches in four innings.

"Ubaldo Jimenez once told me, if you pitch here your offspeed pitch will have a different angle or different movement," Chen said of the former Rockies ace who pitched with Chen for the Orioles. "I heard that, so I think I need to make some adjustment to it, but actually, it's kind of hard to make the adjustment on the field while you're pitching. Also, with the thin air out there, at the start of the game it was kind of hard for me to breathe out there in the thin air."

Video: MIA@COL: Castro scores on Almonte's wild pitch

The Marlins couldn't muster much offense against Gray, who struck out 12 and walked none in seven innings of one-run ball. They scattered eight hits against the right-hander, but the only run Miami managed against Gray was a one-out solo shot to left in the third from Derek Dietrich. It was the first of three hits on the night for Dietrich, who was joined by J.T. Realmuto who had three hits in his first three trips to the plate.

"Obviously we didn't get a whole lot going," Mattingly said of the challenges Gray gave his lineup. "J.T. swung the bat really well. A couple of the guys swung the bat OK. We really got away from what we wanted to do tonight. A lot of chases. Actually, it was a disappointing game from the standpoint of our approach. It looked like it was out of whack tonight."

The Rockies piled on three more in the seventh, when pinch-hitter Gerardo Parra hit for Gray with the bases loaded and knocked a bases-clearing double off the right-field wall.

Video: MIA@COL: Riddle plates Realmuto with an RBI groundout

The Marlins scored a pair in the eighth when Realmuto reached base for the fourth straight time on an error by LeMahieu. A walk, a fielder's choice, a ground out, and a wild pitch plated the late runs.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Brian Anderson opened the night's offense with a one-out single to center in the first. Realmuto followed with a double to left to put runners on second and third for Gray, who has been inconsistent in recent starts. The threat was left dangling when Bour struck out and Castro flied to center, where Blackmon was barely able to reach over his head to snare the drive.

Video: MIA@COL: Blackmon makes leaping grab in center field

The hit extended Anderson's on-base streak to 19 games, the second-longest active streak in the National League. He is hitting .342 (26-for--76) over the stretch, with a .420 on-base percentage. 

SOUND SMART
The Marlins have given up double-digit runs 10 times this season, and they are 0-10 in those games. The Rockies have scored double-digit runs seven times and are 5-2 when scoring 10 or more.

The Marlins have allowed six or more runs in an inning six times this season, and the Rockies have scored a season-high six runs in an inning three times in the last eight games.

HE SAID IT
"In my life, I never pitched in such a high place. We don't have a ballpark like this in Taiwan, or anywhere else. In the first two innings it was kind of hard. I kind of adjusted to it after the first two, but unfortunately in the fourth inning when things went bad, I couldn't control the damage, so all the bad things happened for us." -- Chen, on his trouble breathing at Coors Field

UP NEXT
Righty Trevor Richards (1-4, 5.45 ERA) takes the hill for Saturday's middle game of the three-game set with the Rockies. Richards has never faced the Rockies, and is 1-2 with a 6.28 ERA in three starts since his second call-up of the season June 7. He'll face Rockies southpaw Tyler Anderson (4-2, 4.52) at 3:10 p.m. ET.

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com based in Denver.

Miami Marlins

Urena placed on DL; Wittgren reactivated

Special to MLB.com

DENVER -- The Marlins placed starting pitcher Jose Urena on the disabled list Friday, two days after he experienced discomfort in his start in San Francisco on Wednesday, when he allowed five runs on eight hits and two walks in 5 2/3 innings. Urena was diagnosed with "right shoulder impingement," and is on the DL retroactive to June 21. The Marlins reactivated reliever Nick Wittgren to take his spot on the roster.

"It didn't feel major," manager Don Mattingly said before Friday's series opener with the Rockies, relying on the prognosis of head certified athletic trainer Dustin Luepker. "Just getting Coach Dusty's reaction to it, it felt like we could get on top of it. They checked him out in San Francisco after the game. We feel like it'll be short. You never know with anything like this."

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DENVER -- The Marlins placed starting pitcher Jose Urena on the disabled list Friday, two days after he experienced discomfort in his start in San Francisco on Wednesday, when he allowed five runs on eight hits and two walks in 5 2/3 innings. Urena was diagnosed with "right shoulder impingement," and is on the DL retroactive to June 21. The Marlins reactivated reliever Nick Wittgren to take his spot on the roster.

"It didn't feel major," manager Don Mattingly said before Friday's series opener with the Rockies, relying on the prognosis of head certified athletic trainer Dustin Luepker. "Just getting Coach Dusty's reaction to it, it felt like we could get on top of it. They checked him out in San Francisco after the game. We feel like it'll be short. You never know with anything like this."

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The Marlins are hopeful that with a few days of rest, Urena can start throwing again and be prepared to join the rotation when his 10-day stint on the DL is up on July 1.

"That's what we're hoping for with anybody, but we'll listen to the doctors," Mattingly said. "We'll shut him down for a couple days, he'll throw and work out and do some things. Hopefully, he's going to be good. We'll get back to Miami Monday, and he can throw there. We'll see what happens."

Mattingly is waiting until they finish the series in Colorado to make a determination on who will start in place of Urena when his spot comes up again on Tuesday in Miami.

"It probably depends on what happens here the next couple of days," Mattingly said, knowing the effect Coors Field can have on a pitching staff. "We can either bring somebody [up from the Minors], or either [relievers] Elieser [Hernandez] or [Brett] Graves, either one of those guys are really built to start. But you never know what happens when you leave this place after three days. Sometimes it can go well, but you can leave here with your 'pen limping pretty good."

Wittgren returns to the Marlins after going on the 10-day DL on June 2 with a right middle finger contusion. He made three rehab appearances, two in Double-A Jacksonville and one in Triple-A New Orleans, allowing two runs on solo homers with no walks and three strikeouts in three innings.

"It went well," Wittgren said of his rehab. "Just about five or six days of no throwing, because the finger was so swollen and still hurting. After that, the pain went away, it felt good, it felt back to normal, and it was just a progression of getting back. After two weeks without seeing hitters, I had to throw a couple rehab outings with hitters in there, get back in the flow and swing of things. Now I'm feeling great."

Wittgren pitched a game with Jacksonville, went a day without pitching, threw again in Jacksonville, went two days without pitching, then 1 2/3 innings for New Orleans.

"[The multiple-inning outing was] just so I can get up and down [between innings] and make sure everything feels fine," Wittgren said. "Just get in the flow of things. I feel great."

Wittgren is available Friday, and Mattingly pointed out that the one benefit of the timing of Urena's injury is that the club can carry an extra reliever for the Rockies series in Coors Field, which is often hard on bullpens.

Suspensions pending

Starter Dan Straily's suspension for hitting Buster Posey in San Francisco on Tuesday is in limbo as Straily has filed for an appeal. If he loses the appeal, Straily will miss a start and the Marlins will have another spot in the rotation to fill.

"If something happens to Dan, we'll have to figure it out," Mattingly said. "We have some options. We'll see what happens in the series for Jose's spot and go from there."

Worth noting

Garrett Cooper is on rehab assignment in Triple-A. He played five innings in left field Thursday and is expected to play five innings at first base Friday.

• Left-hander Chris O'Grady is continuing his throwing progression and threw a 25-pitch live batting practice Friday.

Martin Prado is hitting live pitching and continuing with his running progression.

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com based in Denver.

Miami Marlins, Jose Urena, Nick Wittgren

Johnson in attendance at Marlins Play Ball event

Former Marlins player 'thankful' to return to site where son played T-ball
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. -- On the same fields Charles Johnson's son once played, the former All-Star catcher took part in assisting children during a Play Ball initiative on Friday morning.

Johnson met with and instructed dozens of boys and girls at Flamingo Park in the fourth Play Ball event conducted by the Marlins this week.

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PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. -- On the same fields Charles Johnson's son once played, the former All-Star catcher took part in assisting children during a Play Ball initiative on Friday morning.

Johnson met with and instructed dozens of boys and girls at Flamingo Park in the fourth Play Ball event conducted by the Marlins this week.

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"It's awesome for these young kids to come out and get outside and run bases, hit baseballs and throw," Johnson said. "That's what the Play Ball initiative is all about. Getting young kids out, introducing them to baseball. Getting young girls out. They may be the new generation of softball girls. These are the new generation of baseball kids. It's all about getting them out and introducing them to the game. I really love this initiative, Play Ball."

Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball and the United States Conference of Mayors are spending the summer hosting youth-focused baseball and softball events.

Johnson can relate to many of the kids he mingled with on Friday. He grew up in Fort Pierce, Fla., and played at the University of Miami before being drafted by the Marlins. He once played on similar fields in Florida, and he went on to become an All-Star catcher and World Series champion in 1997 with the Marlins.

Earlier in the week, the Marlins conducted similar events in Miami-Dade County, with former players Placido Polanco, Alfredo Amezaga and Antonio Alfonseca taking part.

On Friday, Johnson and Marlins personnel, including mascot Billy the Marlin, interacted with youth players on a steamy South Florida day.

"This place is dear to my heart," said Johnson, whose son first played T-ball at Flamingo Park. "I'm just very thankful and happy to come back here and celebrate Play Ball today."

Also on hand was Pembroke Pines mayor Frank Ortis.

"We tell our kids in Pines and every other city, educate as far as you can," Ortis said. "Make sure you do all of your education, but you have to recreate."

At the fields, there was music, dancing and baseball. Johnson offered instruction on hitting and baserunning. He posed for plenty of pictures, and he signed autographs.

"It's huge," Ortis said of having a former big leaguer at the complex. "He's an All-Star."

The mayor also tested his arm, throwing off the mound.

"We love the arts in our city," Ortis said. "We love our ballparks. Get out and have fun, because that's what the whole spectrum is -- hard work and have fun."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins

Marlins sign No. 69 overall pick Banfield

MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

MIAMI -- Will Banfield is ready to get to work.

Selected with the 69th overall pick in the 2018 Draft, Banfield on Thursday officially signed with the Marlins. The 18-year-old catcher from Brookwood High School (Snellville, Ga.) will now get down to business and begin working with the organization's Gulf Coast League team in Jupiter, Fla.

MIAMI -- Will Banfield is ready to get to work.

Selected with the 69th overall pick in the 2018 Draft, Banfield on Thursday officially signed with the Marlins. The 18-year-old catcher from Brookwood High School (Snellville, Ga.) will now get down to business and begin working with the organization's Gulf Coast League team in Jupiter, Fla.

Marlins' Draft results

Via Twitter, Banfield responded on Thursday: "I would like to thank the Marlins organization for putting their trust in me and allowing me the opportunity to live out my dream! All glory to God and officially part of the Miami Marlins!"

Tweet from @will_banfield: I would like to thank the Marlins organization for putting their trust in me and allowing me the opportunity to live out my dream! All glory to God and officially part of the Miami Marlins! pic.twitter.com/V3PHuIv8Bz

The deal was expected because Banfield reached agreement within days after being selected in Competitive Balance Round B. Banfield signed for $1.8 million, well above the recommended slot value of $894,600.

By signing with the Marlins, Banfield is passing on the opportunity to play at Vanderbilt University.

Advanced defensively, Banfield projects to be a frontline big league catcher and potential Gold Glove winner. In his senior season, he batted .409 with seven home runs, nine doubles, one triple and 33 RBIs in 37 games.

Banfield joins other recently signed Draft picks at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex in Jupiter. He is no stranger to the facility, having played in a Perfect Game event there last October. In that showcase, he displayed an exit velocity of 102 mph on one of his singles.

With Banfield's deal official, all but two of the Marlins' top 10 picks have signed. On Friday, MLB.com learned that infielder Osiris Johnson, a second-rounder from Encinal High School (Alameda, Calif.), and and outfielder Tristan Pompey, a third-rounder from the University of Kentucky, were close to signing. Slot value for Johnson was $1,318,500; slot for Pompey was $642,600.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins

A case for Realmuto as MLB's best catcher

Leads catchers in pop time, caught stealing, wRC+ and WAR
MLB.com @mike_petriello

Last year, we crowned Miami's J.T. Realmuto as baseball's "most athletic catcher," thanks to a combination of Statcast-based metrics that showcased his speed on the bases and skill behind the plate.

A year later, it's becoming clear that title might not have been enough. What if Realmuto is simply 2018's best all-around catcher? He may not have the name recognition of Buster Posey or Yadier Molina, but it's actually an easier case to make than you might think. Let's count down all the things Realmuto is shining at, shall we?

Last year, we crowned Miami's J.T. Realmuto as baseball's "most athletic catcher," thanks to a combination of Statcast-based metrics that showcased his speed on the bases and skill behind the plate.

A year later, it's becoming clear that title might not have been enough. What if Realmuto is simply 2018's best all-around catcher? He may not have the name recognition of Buster Posey or Yadier Molina, but it's actually an easier case to make than you might think. Let's count down all the things Realmuto is shining at, shall we?

It matters that Realmuto has been baseball's best hitting catcher this year (he has) and that he's baseball's fastest catcher (he is), and we'll get to those. Let's start with what's happening behind the plate, about how he's been cutting down opposing baserunners, since that's what people think of when they think of catchers. Let's start with pop time.

Realmuto has the fastest pop time and the best caught-stealing percentage.
There's a lot that goes into being a good catcher. Some of it we can quantify very well, and some of it, like calling pitches or handling pitchers, we can't. (Realmuto is "the leader of the team ... the leader of the staff, the hitters," said Marlins reliever Kyle Barraclough. "Not much more I can say.")

One of the things we can measure very well is pop time, which is simultaneously very new and extremely traditional. It's only been available publicly via Statcast™ leaderboards for about a year, but it's something scouts have been hand measuring with stopwatches for decades. It's intended to express how quickly a catcher gets the ball out of his glove (referring to the "pop" of the pitch hitting his mitt) to the infielder receiving the throw on a steal attempt (another "pop" of the throw reaching the fielder), though it's technically measured to the midpoint of the intended base.

It's a combination of two things, really: "How fast can you get the ball out of your glove?" which we call "exchange"; and "How fast can you throw it to the base?" -- which we express as "arm strength." This doesn't capture every facet of preventing steals (like throw accuracy, for example), but it's a good way to measure skills.

Among catchers who have faced five steal attempts of second base, Realmuto has 2018's fastest pop time, at 1.86 seconds, well below the Major League average of 2.01 seconds. While he's been above average from the day he arrived in the big leagues, he's actually gotten faster, dropping from 1.92 seconds in 2015 to 1.91 in '16 to 1.90 last year, then to 1.86 this season. Since '15, Realmuto is tied with Austin Hedges for first among those with 50 steal attempts, at 1.91. He's been in the top two every year.

Of catchers with at least 20 steals attempted against them, Realmuto has the best caught stealing percentage at 44 percent. We know that a catcher is not entirely responsible for that -- a pitcher's ability, or lack thereof, in holding a runner on plays a big part -- but we also learned last year that 0.1 seconds of pop time changes the caught stealing rate by 10 percentage points, so it matters.

So how does a catcher get to be good in pop time? You can have a cannon of an arm like the Phillies' Jorge Alfaro, who leads the Majors with a 90.4-mph average on his throws. You can have an elite exchange time like Welington Castillo of the White Sox, who got rid of the ball in just six-tenths of a second. Or you can be Realmuto, who's good at both. He's got the third-best arm strength, 87.6 mph, behind only Alfaro and Martin Maldonado. He's got the third-best exchange time too, at 0.68 seconds, behind Castillo and Carlos Perez.

Thanks to that combination, Realmuto has three of the five fastest individual pop times to catch a runner at second base this year, led by this 1.76-second laser to catch Amed Rosario on May 23.

Video: MIA@NYM: J.T. Realmuto throws out Amed Rosario

Realmuto has been baseball's best hitting catcher.
In 2016-17, Realmuto (.290/.337/.440) was the fifth-best hitting catcher among the 17 who had at least 750 plate appearances. This year (.300/.358/.531), he's been the best of the 14 catchers with at least 200 plate appearances so far. It's not that Realmuto has changed his strikeout or walk rates, because they've stayed similar to his past years. It's that he's hitting the ball much harder, and he's hitting it off the ground.

Realmuto's hard-hit rate has hovered in the 34-35 percent range for each of the past three years. This year, that's up over 43 percent, similar to Francisco Lindor or Jose Ramirez. He's also cut his ground-ball rate from 49 percent to 43 percent, allowing him to take more advantage of that power.

Video: MIA@BAL: Realmuto belts 2 homers, notches 4 RBIs

We can't guarantee that Realmuto will outhit Posey, Gary Sanchez, Yasmani Grandal and the rest all year. But he has so far.

Realmuto is baseball's fastest catcher.
"I've always been fast, from playing football, basketball," Realmuto said last year. "It didn't matter, whatever sport I was playing, I was always running. I tried to do my best to keep my athleticism with where it's at."

We have four years of data in Statcast™'s speed metric, Sprint Speed, and Realmuto has been the fastest catcher every year. This year, his average top speed has been faster than Yasiel Puig, Mookie Betts or Albert Almora Jr. While he stole 20 bases over the past two years, this speaks more to his overall athleticism than anything else.

Realmuto may be baseball's best all-around catcher.
Putting it all together, Realmuto leads all catchers in two very different versions of Wins Above Replacement. He's No. 1 at FanGraphs, just ahead of Francisco Cervelli, in a version of WAR that does not account for pitch framing. Realmuto is No. 1 at Baseball Prospectus, just ahead of Grandal, in a version that does. (While he's never been considered an elite framer, he was solidly above average last year, 13th, at plus-nine runs.)

So is Realmuto baseball's best catcher? It helps him that it's been a down year for backstops, that Salvador Perez, Molina and Tyler Flowers have been injured, that Sanchez has struggled, that Posey is now 31 and Russell Martin is 35.

But Realmuto will almost certainly represent the Marlins in the All-Star Game, and he's got a strong case to be the National League's starter, even though he's unlikely to win the vote. He's a pop time star, and he's good at almost everything. Realmuto is almost certainly the best catcher that not enough people know about.

Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast.

Miami Marlins, J.T. Realmuto

Straily appeals suspension for Posey HBP

Marlins righty receives 5 games, Mattingly gets one game
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

Marlins right-hander Dan Straily and manager Don Mattingly were slapped with suspensions by Major League Baseball on Thursday for their involvement Tuesday in Giants catcher Buster Posey being hit by a pitch after warnings were issued.

Straily received a five-game suspension for intentionally throwing at Posey in the Giants' 6-3 win over the Marlins at AT&T Park. The right-hander also was fined an undisclosed amount. Mattingly was suspended one game.

Marlins right-hander Dan Straily and manager Don Mattingly were slapped with suspensions by Major League Baseball on Thursday for their involvement Tuesday in Giants catcher Buster Posey being hit by a pitch after warnings were issued.

Straily received a five-game suspension for intentionally throwing at Posey in the Giants' 6-3 win over the Marlins at AT&T Park. The right-hander also was fined an undisclosed amount. Mattingly was suspended one game.

Straily is appealing the suspension. The right-hander's next scheduled start is on Monday against the D-backs at Marlins Park.

After reviewing the incident, MLB determined that Straily exhibited intent when plunking Posey on his left arm during the second inning, the same frame in which warnings were issued by home-plate umpire Andy Fletcher. Straily and Mattingly were both ejected after Posey was hit by the pitch. Postgame, Straily claimed he "just lost a fastball in" trying to force Posey off the plate.

"Obviously, Andy thought it was on purpose, and so he got me out of there," Straily said.

Also in the second inning on Tuesday, Giants right-hander Dereck Rodriguez struck Miami center fielder Lewis Brinson with a fastball, prompting the warnings.

When Posey was asked if he thought he was hit in retaliation for Brinson, he responded, "It sure seemed that way."

Video: MLB Tonight on Straily and Mattingly's suspensions

The Marlins and Giants concluded their three-game series on Wednesday, with the Giants prevailing, 6-5. Before Wednesday's game, Mattingly said he didn't think there would be any carryover from the previous game. Nothing materialized.

"In the course of a series or a game or a season, you are going to protect your guys," Mattingly said pregame Wednesday. "We're going to play baseball. I know it's fun to talk about. When stuff happens out there, it gets taken care of on the field, usually, and you move on."

The series in San Francisco came a week after the two clubs played four times at Marlins Park. In that series, Giants third baseman Evan Longoria suffered a broken hand after being hit by a Straily pitch.

On Monday, tensions rose in the ninth inning when Giants reliever Hunter Strickland stared at Brinson during a pitching change. The Marlins rallied for three runs in the ninth inning off Strickland to claim a 5-4 win. Brinson delivered the game-tying single off Strickland, and flipped his bat heading to first. On the first pitch of the at-bat, Strickland ran a fastball up on Brinson.

Strickland was replaced in the ninth inning after surrendering the lead, and walking off the mound, he stared at Brinson.

Video: Strickland and Brinson feud leads to pitcher's injury

A week earlier in Miami, Brinson lifted a game-tying sacrifice fly off Strickland in the ninth inning. The Giants ended up winning that 16-inning contest, 6-3.

The Giants took two of three this week in San Francisco, and the Marlins won four of seven in the intensely played season series.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins, Dan Straily

The Marlins' most pressing question

MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

Shifting powers within the National League East have created a new dynamic as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches, with more potential buyers than sellers dotting the landscape. The Braves, Nationals and Phillies all believe they have legitimate chances to make the postseason, while the Mets aren't quite counting themselves out yet, either.

Many general managers like to slice regular seasons into three segments, using the first to learn about their teams, the second to take action, and the third to let the chips fall where they may. But while each NL East team is well into Phase 2 of that plan, they all still have unanswered questions clouding their futures:

Shifting powers within the National League East have created a new dynamic as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches, with more potential buyers than sellers dotting the landscape. The Braves, Nationals and Phillies all believe they have legitimate chances to make the postseason, while the Mets aren't quite counting themselves out yet, either.

Many general managers like to slice regular seasons into three segments, using the first to learn about their teams, the second to take action, and the third to let the chips fall where they may. But while each NL East team is well into Phase 2 of that plan, they all still have unanswered questions clouding their futures:

Video: Byrnes breaks down Braves, Freeman's MVP chances

BRAVES
The question: Can Atlanta keep this up?

This question is layered deeper than it might appear. Every year, a rebuilding team or two tends to rise to contention sooner than expected, as the Braves have done in shooting out to first place. If they play their cards right at the Deadline, Atlanta could add a reliever, a bench bat or even a starting pitcher if its budget allows. But the Braves won't likely address all of those areas, knowing they needs to maintain a strong farm system and a responsible budget to keep the window of contention open as long as possible.

How Atlanta performs over the next three to four weeks could have a major impact on what it does at the Deadline. A strong run could prompt more aggression from the Braves in trade talks. Less dynamic play might convince them to stay conservative, knowing that no matter what happens this year, they're a team with oodles of potential for 2019.

Video: MIA@BAL: Realmuto crushes a 2-run homer to center

MARLINS
The question: Which veterans will be on the move?

There's little doubt the Marlins will sell off pieces prior to the Trade Deadline. The only question is which ones?

Teams seeking catching help -- the Red Sox, Brewers and Angels spring to mind -- will surely ask about J.T. Realmuto, but there's doubt within the industry that Miami would deal him. When the Mets checked in earlier this year, they came away with the impression that the Marlins wanted to keep their standout catcher.

That could change as the deadline nears, but even if it doesn't, Miami has assets to spare. First baseman Justin Bour, second baseman Starlin Castro, starting pitcher Dan Straily and reliever Kyle Barraclough all could fetch interesting returns, considering they are under contractual control for multiple seasons. Like Realmuto, all of them have been involved in trade rumors in the past.

In any event, Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill is about to become a popular man.

Video: NYM@COL: Syndergaard discusses progress on his injury

METS
The question: When will the superstars return (and will it be too late)?

Yoenis Cespedes and Noah Syndergaard have combined to miss more than two months with injuries that the Mets once considered relatively minor -- a strained right hip flexor for Cespedes, a strained right index finger for Syndergaard. The team still doesn't have much of a timetable for either, complicating its attempt to push back into playoff contention. With Cespedes and Syndergaard active and healthy, the Mets believe they can make a late run at an NL Wild Card berth. Without them, the team might be inclined to look toward 2019.

Last summer, general manager Sandy Alderson provided a blueprint of what a yard sale could look like before (and after) July 31, dealing away Lucas Duda, Addison Reed, Jay Bruce, Neil Walker and Curtis Granderson for a cadre of high-upside relievers. This year's inventory of pending free agents is not quite so robust, with only Jeurys Familia and Asdrubal Cabrera potentially attractive to buyers. The Mets could pivot on their longstanding philosophy and deal away Jacob deGrom or Syndergaard, but trading either would indicate a full-scale rebuild -- something they do not appear willing to undertake.

Right now, the Mets see deGrom, Syndergaard and Cespedes as critical parts of their 2019 team. A return to health for the latter two players would do wonders for the team's outlook in '18 and beyond.

Video: Is Harper putting extra pressure on himself?

NATIONALS
The question: When will Bryce Harper be Bryce Harper again?

The Nationals have performed well enough without the usual output from Harper, whose batting average, on-base percentage and slugging mark are all down significantly from last season -- some of his major offensive statistics are down even from 2016, when rumors of a shoulder injury dogged him all summer. But Washington hasn't been able to upend Atlanta, which features the division's best offense (and statistically speaking, it's not particularly close).

It's not as if Harper, who leads the NL with 19 home runs, has been unproductive. It's just that he's far from the NL MVP Award candidate the Nats expected him to be. The good news for Washington? Harper's breakout appears to be a matter of when, not if. His average exit velocity is at its highest point since his 2015 NL MVP Award-winning season, while his batting average on balls in play is at a career low. Certainly, defensive shifts have played a role in that, but Harper is too elite of a hitter to stay this unproductive for long. How quickly he turns it around could well determine the NL East title.

Video: STL@PHI: Morgan induces grounder to preserve the win

PHILLIES
The question: Can Phils survive (or thrive) without a closer?

Philadelphia's Opening Day closer, Hector Neris, lost the job in May, and it didn't stop there, as he slid all the way to Triple-A this week. For now, the Phillies are going closer-by-committee, with Adam Morgan nailing down a rogue save on Wednesday. As new-school as they come, manager Gabe Kapler doesn't believe in set bullpen roles, preferring to use his best relievers in the highest-leverage spots. But decades of history suggests that strategy doesn't often work over a 162-game season, and the Phils' ninth-inning issues don't appear to be disappearing.

A team with issues on the left side of its infield won't necessarily be able to splurge on a closer before the Deadline, even with Familia and Zach Britton among those potentially available. Instead, there's a good chance it will be up to Seranthony Dominguez, Edubray Ramos and the rest of the Phillies' in-house mix to make Kapler's strategies work.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals, New York Mets

Urena hurt by 1 inning as Marlins fall short

Right-hander feels a little arm discomfort after allowing 5 runs in 6th
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

SAN FRANCISCO -- Cruising through five innings on just 60 pitches, Jose Urena was on pace to go the distance, or at least go seven or eight innings. But in the sixth inning, the right-hander encountered command issues, and his promising start eventually unraveled.

The Giants scored five times in the sixth inning, with Gorkys Hernandez capping an epic, 14-pitch at-bat against Urena with a two-run single, that factored into the difference in the Marlins' 6-5 loss on Wednesday afternoon at AT&T Park.

View Full Game Coverage

SAN FRANCISCO -- Cruising through five innings on just 60 pitches, Jose Urena was on pace to go the distance, or at least go seven or eight innings. But in the sixth inning, the right-hander encountered command issues, and his promising start eventually unraveled.

The Giants scored five times in the sixth inning, with Gorkys Hernandez capping an epic, 14-pitch at-bat against Urena with a two-run single, that factored into the difference in the Marlins' 6-5 loss on Wednesday afternoon at AT&T Park.

View Full Game Coverage

After rallying to win on Monday, the Marlins dropped the next two, and the Giants claimed the series. These teams met seven times over the past week, with the Marlins winning four of seven.

Video: MIA@SF: Urena and Mattingly talk close 6-5 loss

"You're feeling like he's left his pitch count in a good place," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of Urena. "He didn't have any real battles early in the game. In that sense, fresh. It just seemed like in that sixth inning, he got out of rhythm with that first guy, and he kept getting behind in counts. When you start getting behind in counts, you usually have to pay."

Postgame, Urena said he felt a little discomfort in his throwing arm in the sixth inning, a frame in which his velocity held up at 97 mph. The club will monitor, and could make a roster move on Friday before the series opener at Colorado, if necessary. Urena's next start is scheduled for Tuesday at home against the D-backs, but that is now uncertain.

Trailing by three entering the ninth inning, the Marlins made it interesting, chipping back with two runs off Sam Dyson. Starlin Castro had a sacrifice fly, and Brian Anderson delivered a two-out RBI single. J.T. Realmuto singled, putting two on for J.B. Shuck. Reyes Moronta replaced Dyson and recorded his first career save with a strikeout.

Video: MIA@SF: Anderson pulls an RBI single to right in 9th

"I love the intensity," said Marlins outfielder Cameron Maybin, who had two hits and a walk. "I've had the chance to play here in this division for four years [with the Padres]. This is one of the best places to play, as far as atmosphere. As far as things you have going against you, the fans bring it. They bring it at home. I think it was a good test for us. I like the way that we played. I like the fact that we didn't back down, especially against a veteran team like that. We had our nose in it, every game."

Wednesday's finale had no carryover of any bad blood that may have spilled over from Tuesday's 6-3 Giants win. That game featured some drama as Marlins right-hander Dan Straily and Mattingly were ejected after batters were hit by pitches on both sides.

Video: MIA@SF: Hernandez singles in 2 runs after 14-pitch AB

Momentum turned for Urena quickly in the sixth inning. Of the 39 pitches he threw, 14 of them were to Hernandez, who singled. A key pitch in the sequence was the seventh pitch, which was a 97-mph two-seam fastball that appeared to be a strike up in the zone. But it was called a ball, and the at-bat extended seven more pitches.

"He was trying to cover the zone, and he did a pretty good job," Urena said of Hernandez. "I made a pitch that was right there in the zone, and they called a ball on it. You can't do anything about it."

Video: MIA@SF: Castro grounds an RBI single to left field

Until the sixth, Urena was breezing along, protecting a one-run lead. Of his 60 pitches in five innings, 45 were strikes. But Kelby Tomlinson led off the sixth with a walk, and Joe Panik singled. Brandon Belt, who had three hits, delivered an RBI double that evened the game at 1.

Mac Williamson's fielder's choice gave the Giants the lead, and Hunter Pence had an RBI single, making it 3-1.

"He walks Tomlinson right there, gives up the hits to Panik and Belt," Mattingly said. "He started to get himself into bad counts, so it looks like he started to get out of rhythm, and never got back into it."

Wednesday was the seventh and final meeting of these two clubs, and it also was the first time the Marlins scored first. They got on the board in the second inning on Maybin's leadoff double, and Miguel Rojas' two-out RBI single.

Video: MIA@SF: Rojas smacks an RBI single to left field

Off Giants starter Derek Holland, the Marlins scored three runs on seven hits over six innings. Miami added two more runs in the seventh on Yadiel Rivera's sacrifice fly and Castro's RBI single.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Moving the line: In all seven games with the Giants, the Marlins showed the ability to rally, especially in the late innings. All four of Miami's victories came via late rallies. In the ninth inning, the Marlins were knocking on the door again, with Castro's sacrifice fly and Anderson's two-out RBI single. Realmuto singled, but Miami stranded two.

"I think this is the type of baseball that we have to play," Mattingly said. "We have to keep the line moving, and keep putting pressure on the guy out there. Just keep the line moving, and not trying to do too much."

Video: MIA@SF: Castro scores Rojas on a sacrifice fly

Even though the rally fell short, Maybin said games like Wednesday help grow character with a club.

"If we're going to grow, these are the kinds of series that you need to be in," Maybin said. "The type of series where the fans come at you. I think series like this can help a young team like us grow, more than anything."

SOUND SMART
Before allowing five runs in the sixth inning, Urena had a string of 13 straight scoreless innings, dating back to his eight shutout frames on Friday at Baltimore.

HE SAID IT
"I'm not quite sure. I don't think I've ever seen that. I've never seen the guy be the leadoff hitter and then lose count of the outs. He was hustling. He was running very hard." -- Mattingly, on Urena getting doubled up in the third inning on Castro's fly out to center. With no outs, Urena took off on contact and was around second when the ball was caught.

Video: MIA@SF: Giants turn DP on Urena's baserunning error

ELEVEN DRAFT PICKS SIGN
On Monday, Marlins second-round pick, infielder Osiris Johnson from Alameda, Calif., was a guest of the Marlins at AT&T Park. Johnson has yet to sign, but there is confidence a deal will eventually get done.

Marlins Draft Tracker

On Wednesday, the Marlins did announce the signings of 11 more of their 2018 MLB Draft picks. Topping the list is right-hander Zack Leban from the University of Kansas (12th round). The others announced were: right-hander Eli Villalobos (14th), left-hander Alex Vesia (17th), right-hander Zach Wolf (18th), right-hander Cam Baird (20th), shortstop Luke Jarvis (25th), right-hander Tyler Jones (26th), right-hander C.J. Carter (29th), right-hander Jake Norton (32nd), right-hander Joe Strzelecki (34th) and right-hander Jackson Rose (35th).

According to MLB.com's Jim Callis, Wolf's deal is for $120,000.

UP NEXT
Off on Thursday, the Marlins open a three-game series at the Rockies on Friday with Wei-Yin Chen making the start. Jon Gray goes for Colorado starting at 8:40 p.m. ET. Chen has had his struggles on the road, with a 1-3 record and 8.88 ERA, compared to a 1-0, 2.53 mark at Marlins Park. 

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins, Cameron Maybin, Miguel Rojas, Jose Urena

Inbox: How soon until Marlins see Harrison?

Beat reporter Joe Frisaro answers questions from Marlins fans
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

Is Monte Harrison or Isan Diaz close to getting called up? -- @SpeedyN7

Harrison, an outfielder, and Diaz, a second baseman, were both part of the Christian Yelich trade with the Brewers. Per MLB Pipeline, Harrison is the Marlins' No. 1 prospect, and Diaz is seventh. The two are currently at Double-A Jacksonville, and neither is currently on the 40-man roster, so neither is a candidate to be called up to the big leagues any time soon. A more likely promotion could be to Triple-A New Orleans, but that would depend on how they're progressing by the end of July. Both have shown flashes of their raw talents, but they've also dealt with inconsistencies. Harrison has nine home runs, but his slash line is .225/.312/.391 in 68 games. Since Spring Training, the Marlins staff has been refining his swing. Diaz is batting .239/.368/.376 with five home runs. The second baseman missed time after being struck on the helmet by a pitch.

Is Monte Harrison or Isan Diaz close to getting called up? -- @SpeedyN7

Harrison, an outfielder, and Diaz, a second baseman, were both part of the Christian Yelich trade with the Brewers. Per MLB Pipeline, Harrison is the Marlins' No. 1 prospect, and Diaz is seventh. The two are currently at Double-A Jacksonville, and neither is currently on the 40-man roster, so neither is a candidate to be called up to the big leagues any time soon. A more likely promotion could be to Triple-A New Orleans, but that would depend on how they're progressing by the end of July. Both have shown flashes of their raw talents, but they've also dealt with inconsistencies. Harrison has nine home runs, but his slash line is .225/.312/.391 in 68 games. Since Spring Training, the Marlins staff has been refining his swing. Diaz is batting .239/.368/.376 with five home runs. The second baseman missed time after being struck on the helmet by a pitch.

What players realistically get traded at Deadline? I am thinking Starlin Castro, as it allows Brian Anderson to go to third base with Miguel Rojas or JT Riddle to second. Martin Prado is probably not healthy enough to draw interest. Dan Straily? J.T. Realmuto? Cameron Maybin? Brad Ziegler? -- @putter1013

The Marlins will listen to what opportunities are out there, but with the indications I'm getting, I'm not sure how active the club will be. There is plenty of speculation on Realmuto, and that goes back to the offseason. But clubs already know the asking price is extremely high, so I'm not sure he is a realistic trade option. Also, the Marlins don't want to part with Realmuto, because he is part of what they are building. He isn't a free agent until 2021, so there is no urgency to trade one of the top catchers in the game. As for Castro, it would be a matter of who needs a second baseman? Prado is on the disabled list and is not a realistic trade candidate. Straily, first baseman Justin Bour and Zielger could attract interest, and could be the most likely trade candidates.

Submit a question to the Marlins Inbox

The international signing period is coming up, any rumors on who the Marlins are pursuing? -- @drguava

Fernando Seguignol is the organization's new director of international operations. He is highly respected and accomplished, and the organization is actively scouting the market. The signing period begins on July 2. A name the Marlins have been linked to is Cuban right-hander Sandy Gaston. The 16-year-old is ranked 14th on MLB Pipeline's Top 30 International list. His fastball has touched 97 mph, and it sits at 94-95. His command is an issue going forward.

Does Magneuris Sierra have a future in the Marlins' outfield? We already have Lewis Brinson, Harrison and Peter O'Brien. -- Akivan, Miami Beach, Fla.

Ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Marlins' No. 6 prospect, Sierra is a speedy center fielder who just turned 22 in April. He absolutely is part of their long-term plans. His production is down slightly from a year ago when he was in the Cardinals' system, but he missed almost all of Spring Training due to a left hamstring strain. A low walk rate is a little concerning, but Sierra is similar to other speedsters who lack power. Dee Gordon, for instance, also doesn't walk much, yet he has been an All-Star. Sierra can be that kind of player. Would he play center or a corner spot? Brinson currently is in center. When Sierra is ready, the organization will have to sort the positions out. You mention Harrison, who can play center, but likely would profile in right. O'Brien is more of a first baseman, and organizational depth.

With the way Kyle Barraclough is pitching, do you think the Marlins will try to sell high with him or hold onto him? -- @BrendenKatz

We see it every year, there is always a strong market for relievers around the Trade Deadline on July 31. The Royals just dealt Kelvin Herrera to the Nationals, so teams already are making moves. Barraclough qualifies for arbitration next year, so he has three more years of club control. Like Realmuto, Barraclough is a piece the club prefers to build around. However, if an offer is made that is too enticing to pass up, Barraclough could be moved.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins