Marlins call up Henry, Fortes to evaluate C

September 18th, 2021

MIAMI -- The Marlins have made a point of using the final stretch of the season to evaluate how their younger players might fit into the organization's future plans.

That continued on Friday, as Miami selected the contracts of catchers and from Triple-A Jacksonville. Henry, ranked as the Marlins' No. 30 prospect, went 1-for-4 with a double and three strikeouts during his Major League debut in the 2-1 loss to the Pirates at loanDepot park.

With Jorge Alfaro (left calf strain) on the injured list and Alex Jackson day to day with a bone bruise, now seemed like the perfect time to call up the upper-level backstops for their first taste of the big leagues, according to general manager Kim Ng.

The 24-year-old Henry, acquired from the Brewers for John Curtiss at the Trade Deadline, had been blocked in Milwaukee's system. He began 2021 at Double-A before being promoted to Triple-A, where he appeared in 19 games prior to the deal. He was batting .188/.300/.391 in 22 games for the Jumbo Shrimp.

“It's a dream come true, just like I'm sure every guy feels, but a lot of emotions,” Henry said. “Definitely a long road to get here. I'm just grateful, and I'm blessed, and I'm so happy.”

According to MLB Pipeline's scouting report, Henry's bat speed and strength enable him to drive the ball out of the park to all fields from the right side of the plate, but his overly aggressive approach hampered him in his first four professional seasons. He has shown more selectivity in 2021, but it has come at the expense of his pop, with just six homers in 276 plate appearances.

Below are his scouting grades on a 20-80 scale:
Hit: 40
Run: 35
Field: 50
Power: 45
Arm: 60
Overall: 40

"In terms of Payton, our homework, our scouts, people we've talked to really talked about Payton in the vein of, 'This guy really prepares well for the game, his game management is very good, has an understanding, cares quite a bit about that part of the game,'" Ng added. "And that's what we've seen from our end."

Fortes, whom the Marlins drafted in the fourth round in 2018, participated in big league Spring Training in '21. He started his season at Double-A Pensacola before advancing to Triple-A Jacksonville. The 24-year-old slashed .251/.338/.359 in 57 games for the Blue Wahoos, while working with a starting staff that included top prospects Max Meyer and Jake Eder. With the Jumbo Shrimp, he had a slash line of .237/.322/.378 in 38 games.

"This is a guy who has a pretty good bat, and so we're hoping that shows through up here as well," Ng said. "But [he's] also good with the game planning, good working with the pitchers, caring about them and all that, so we're excited."

Manager Don Mattingly said to expect a rotation behind the dish with Henry, Jackson, Fortes and veteran Sandy León on the active roster. The catcher position is one that the Marlins likely will try to upgrade over the offseason.

Another player who will get an extended look is Eddy Alvarez. Optioning Isan Díaz to Triple-A will allow the two-time Olympian to see most of the at-bats at third base, with veteran Joe Panik coming off the bench and playing some first, second and third.

The 31-year-old Alvarez collected his first MLB homer last weekend, and he can play second, third, short and outfield. Díaz , 25, has struggled offensively all season, slashing .193/.293/.282 in 89 games while primarily appearing at the hot corner for the first time in his Major League career.

"Like Kim and I talked about before, it's really more about these other guys, getting them an opportunity," Mattingly said. "I know she wants to see them. It was always kind of part of the plan to make sure they got here to be able to see them before the end of the season in this setting. It's really more about them than Isan, and really wanting to look at Eddy a little bit, too. He's another guy we want to see what his at-bats look like, and see what that looks like moving forward."