Inbox: Where will Mesa brothers start in '20?

Beat reporter Joe Frisaro answers Marlins fans' questions

October 15th, 2019

How did the Mesa brothers perform, all in all? What level is Víctor Víctor Mesa slated to start at next year?
-- @alfodeg

Víctor Víctor Mesa, 23, is the Marlins’ No. 13 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, and his younger brother, Víctor Mesa Jr., 18, ranks 27th on the Top 30 list.

Víctor Víctor is currently playing for Salt River in the Arizona Fall League, after spending his first season of professional baseball at Class A Advanced Jupiter and Double-A Jacksonville. He was shaken up after banging his right knee with another player the Fall Star Game last Saturday, but it’s nothing serious.

Víctor Jr. turned 18 in September, and at 17, was one of, if not the youngest players in the Florida Gulf Coast League.

The elder Mesa has struggled against high velocity pitches, and he didn’t homer at either Jupiter or Jacksonville in 116 combined games. He also puts the ball in play, with a strikeout rate of 12.3 percent at Jupiter and 14.2 percent at Jacksonville. Defensively, he is a standout in center field, with a strong arm. At this point, he projects more as a fourth outfielder than a regular big leaguer.

Mesa Jr., a left-handed hitter, showed plenty of promise, and hit .284/.366/.398 in 47 rookie league games. He has a chance to be a big league regular.

Will Martín Prado have a place on the Marlins’ coaching staff or in management?
-- @MGW417

Now that Martin Prado’s three-year, $40 million contract has expired, the 35-year-old will become a free agent after the World Series. At that point, he will explore all his options, and also get input from his family, as to whether he wants to keep playing. If he decides to call it quits as a player after 14 big league seasons, the Marlins absolutely should make a strong push to hire him in some capacity. The organization is already thinking this way.

Prado could do anything he wants because he offers so much value. And coaching may be what he wants to do, but he and his wife are raising a family, and the grind of coaching may not be right for him, at this time.

Do you get a sense that the Marlins and Starlin Castro could agree to a less costly contract after they decline his 2020 club option?
-- @Unozerounocinco

If I’m the Marlins, I wouldn’t rule it out. But I can’t see Starlin Castro, who performed admirably for two seasons on a building team, wanting to be back. The 29-year-old really stepped up after a slow first half, and hit .270 with career highs for home runs (22) and RBIs (86). If a club offered him about $7 million, I could see him taking it. The Brewers, Angels and Nationals could be free agent landing spots.

With veterans such as Martín Prado, Curtis Granderson and Neil Walker becoming free agents, is there any chance of resigning one of them, and what other veterans may they target in free agency? We all know it is crucial to have that leadership around a young and up-and-coming team.
-- @dvaz2

Prado, as answered earlier, has a chance to return to the organization either in a coaching or player development capacity. Curtis Granderson, a great influence this year, could also be headed to retirement. Of the three, Neil Walker is the most realistic. He has stated he is open to returning, but the Marlins will explore many options for corner infield spots.

I know record isn’t everything when going through a rebuild, but even with tampered expectations, 2019 left a lot to be desired. What do you think the Marlins need to do in 2020 to become a contender within the next couple of years?
-- @IAmEddySalazar

Without question, performance and progress will matter more in 2020, and patience is running thin for those who are not producing. Bottom line is the 2019 record was 57-105.

With that said, most of the organizational gains in 2019 were seen at the Minor League levels. So there is promise. By all accounts this year’s MLB Draft was a success, and the Gulf Coast League Marlins won a championship, while Class A Short-Season Batavia and Class A Clinton each made the playoffs.

To reach contention the next couple of seasons, I believe the club has to start targeting impactful free agents that fit with the big picture, which is to retain a strong Minor League system that allows for sustainable success.

Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, player development has to do its part. There is talent in the system, and development will go a long way in making sure that talent is ready to perform once it reaches the big leagues.