Marlins reassign Nos. 2, 4 prospects to Minors camp
Berry, Fulton show growth at first Major League Spring Training
JUPITER, Fla. -- Top prospects Jacob Berry and Dax Fulton were among the Marlins' first round of cuts on Tuesday morning, though neither was a surprise considering they were participating in their first big league camp.
"Fulton said that he didn't perform the way he wanted to perform, but we're looking at more than just that," manager Skip Schumaker said. "When I couldn't find Fulton a couple times for talks and that kind of thing of his scheduling, he was in the weight room, or he was getting his body worked on. He was handling himself the right way. So we look at more than just the three or four innings that he threw.
"'What did you do in between starts, and what did you do in the weight room, and how were you around teammates and that type of stuff?' And both Berry and Fulton showed that they're prospects for a reason. They're a big part of our organization, and we're really happy where they're at."
Ranked as Miami's No. 4 prospect, Fulton surrendered four runs on five hits across one-plus innings on Feb. 28 in his spring debut against the Red Sox, then another two runs (one earned) on three hits in 1 2/3 frames on Monday vs. the Rays. In 2022, the 21-year-old southpaw received a promotion to Double-A Pensacola, where he threw to a 2.57 ERA in four games (three starts) and helped the Blue Wahoos capture the Southern League title.
“I think that's one of the key things for me, is learning how to execute mentally when I'm on the mound,” Fulton said two weeks ago. “Keep my cool and make sure that I know how to pitch to these hitters that are a little bit more advanced than the guys I've been facing.”
Berry (No. 2) appeared in five spring games, going hitless in six at-bats with three strikeouts and one walk. The 21-year-old Berry reached the Single-A level and posted a .750 OPS after being selected sixth overall in last June's MLB Draft. MLB Pipeline ranks him as the No. 61 overall prospect in baseball.
“I'm just trying to learn as much as I can right now,” Berry said last week. “This is my first Spring Training in general, and obviously, the big leaguers know what they're doing. They're here, and this is where I want to be. I'm just learning as much as I can, just observing and just taking things that are going to help me this year -- my first year in the Minor Leagues -- and just kind of run with it.”
Joe Rizzo, who turns 25 on March 31, was another noteworthy name reassigned to Minor League camp. He appeared in seven Grapefruit League games at third base and first base -- two positions the Marlins are relatively thin at -- and went 2-for-10 with one double, two walks and one strikeout.
But Rizzo hasn't played above the Double-A level, where he hit .277/.343/.467 with 30 doubles and 21 homers across 118 games for the Mariners' system in 2022. It was his second straight season at Double-A.
"Rizzo showed that he can play at this level, took really good at-bats against righties and some tough lefties, and we wanted to see if he could play first and third. He showed he could do both," Schumaker said. "He has not one Triple-A at-bat in his career. So having those guys go down and getting game reps in to get ready for the season was important, and part of his development. But he showed that he can play, and we're excited where he's at."
Outfielder/first baseman Troy Johnston (No. 29 prospect), left-handers Dylan Bice, Jefry Yan and Robert Garcia, right-hander Enrique Burgos, catcher Jan Mercado and outfielder Jake Mangum were also reassigned.