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Marlins trade Barraclough to Nats, eye Cuban stars

Miami deals reliever for international bonus-pool value
MLB.com

MIAMI -- The Marlins continued to get a head start on the Hot Stove season on Wednesday, dealing right-hander Kyle Barraclough to the Nationals for an undisclosed amount of international bonus pool money. It was the Marlins' second trade in four days to build up more international dollars for their pursuit of Cuban prospects Victor Victor Mesa, Victor Mesa Jr. and Sandy Gaston.

Miami dealt right-handed prospect Ryan Lillie to the Reds, also for international pool money, on Saturday. Before the two deals, the Marlins had $4.3 million in their international allotment, the second most of any team. Only the Orioles, at $6.7 million, have more. How much that gap has narrowed isn't yet known.

MIAMI -- The Marlins continued to get a head start on the Hot Stove season on Wednesday, dealing right-hander Kyle Barraclough to the Nationals for an undisclosed amount of international bonus pool money. It was the Marlins' second trade in four days to build up more international dollars for their pursuit of Cuban prospects Victor Victor Mesa, Victor Mesa Jr. and Sandy Gaston.

Miami dealt right-handed prospect Ryan Lillie to the Reds, also for international pool money, on Saturday. Before the two deals, the Marlins had $4.3 million in their international allotment, the second most of any team. Only the Orioles, at $6.7 million, have more. How much that gap has narrowed isn't yet known.

Victor Victor Mesa, 22, and Victor Jr., 18, are both outfielders. Gaston is a 16-year-old right-hander. Victor Victor Mesa is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the top international player on the market, and Gaston is ranked 16th. Major League Baseball recently cleared the three players as free agents, and on Friday they had a showcase in front of about 75 scouts at Marlins Park.

Barraclough, 28, had an uneven and perplexing 2018, going 1-6 with a 4.20 ERA in 61 appearances. He saved 10 of 17 chances. The right-hander became the Marlins' closer in the first half and had a 1.28 ERA in 42 1/3 innings before the All-Star break. In June, he was named the National League Reliever of the Month, not allowing a run and allowing just two hits in 11 2/3 innings. But in the second half, his ERA ballooned to 13.50 in 13 1/3 innings and was 1-for-5 in save chances.

The Marlins acquired Barraclough from the Cardinals in 2015, and in four seasons, he is 15-12 with a 3.21 ERA with 11 saves in 27 chances. The Marlins entertained trade possibilities for him at the non-waiver Trade Deadline in July. The 28-year-old is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time this offseason.

With Barraclough's departure, right-hander Drew Steckenrider is the Marlins' projected closer heading into the Hot Stove season.

Ziegler retires
Former Marlins reliever Brad Ziegler announced his retirement on Wednesday, his 39th birthday. The right-handed submarine-style pitcher opened the season as Miami's closer, but was dealt to the D-backs in July for right-hander Tommy Eveld, who currently is pitching in the Arizona Fall League. Ziegler signed a two-year contract with the Marlins in December 2016.

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

Miami Marlins, Kyle Barraclough

Marlins deal prospect to Reds, clear int'l money

Right-hander Lillie on move as Miami eyes Cuban trio
MLB.com

MIAMI -- On Saturday, the Marlins announced a Minor League trade that could have major implications in their pursuit of Cuban prospects Victor Victor Mesa, his younger brother, Victor Mesa Jr., and Sandy Gaston.

Miami dealt right-hander Ryan Lillie, a fifth-round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, to the Reds for an undisclosed amount of international bonus pool money.

MIAMI -- On Saturday, the Marlins announced a Minor League trade that could have major implications in their pursuit of Cuban prospects Victor Victor Mesa, his younger brother, Victor Mesa Jr., and Sandy Gaston.

Miami dealt right-hander Ryan Lillie, a fifth-round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, to the Reds for an undisclosed amount of international bonus pool money.

Video: Top Prospects: Ryan Lillie, RHP, Marlins

The Marlins have strong interest in signing the two Mesa brothers and Gaston, who were recently declared free agents by Major League Baseball. The three worked out Friday in front of about 75 scouts at Marlins Park.

All 30 big league clubs were invited to Friday's showcase, which lasted about three hours. Victor Victor Mesa, 22, and Victor Jr., 17, are both outfielders, and Gaston is a hard-throwing 16-year-old right-hander, whose fastball maxed out at 97 mph during the workout.

Trading Lillie boosts the Marlins' international bonus pool allotment, which was $4.3 million before the trade. Only the Orioles at $6.7 million have more bonus money than Miami.

The Marlins are also exploring other trades for additional international bonus money.

The Marlins have repeatedly stated that they intend to be aggressive in the Latin American market. With Miami's large Cuban-community, the club is targeting additional Cuban prospects and selling to them the advantages of living and playing in South Florida.

After Friday's workout, the Mesa brothers and Gaston sent out photos via their social media platforms wearing Marlins uniforms and caps.

Marlins chief executive officer Derek Jeter and other top club executives dined with the three Cuban prospects Friday.

Victor Victor Mesa played in the 2017 World Baseball Classic for Cuba, and his younger brother was on Cuba's 18-under national team.

Lillie, 22, pitched at three levels in 2018 -- combining for a 3.44 ERA in 22 starts. He spent most of the season at Class A Greensboro, going 6-2 with a 2.58 ERA in 80 1/3 innings. The right-hander who attended the University of California-Riverside, also made seven starts at Class A Advanced Jupiter, with a 4.93 ERA in 34 2/3 innings.

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

Miami Marlins

Miami hopes for home advantage with Mesas

Club will host workout for brothers from Cuba and RHP Gaston on Friday
MLB.com

MIAMI -- The Marlins are hoping that Marlins Park gives them a homefield advantage when it comes to signing Cuban prospects Victor Victor Mesa and his younger brother, Victor Mesa Jr. And the organization hasn't ruled out also landing right-hander Sandy Gaston.

Major League Baseball recently declared all three free agents, and on Friday they will participate in a showcase at Marlins Park in which all 30 clubs are invited.

MIAMI -- The Marlins are hoping that Marlins Park gives them a homefield advantage when it comes to signing Cuban prospects Victor Victor Mesa and his younger brother, Victor Mesa Jr. And the organization hasn't ruled out also landing right-hander Sandy Gaston.

Major League Baseball recently declared all three free agents, and on Friday they will participate in a showcase at Marlins Park in which all 30 clubs are invited.

The workout is not open to the media nor the public.

The Marlins have made no secret that they are particularly interested in the Mesa brothers, and there is a chance the club may also sign Gaston. They're also looking to be more active in the international market.

Video: Top International Prospects: Sandy Gaston, RHP

"We're the Miami Marlins and our stadium is in Little Havana," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "Miami is the gateway to the Americas, and it just made so much sense to everyone to host this workout."

The Marlins are using Miami's diversity and the fact it has a large Cuban community to help attract players born in Latin America.

This year, the Marlins also have the financial resources to make major international signings. They have $4.3 million in international bonus pool money. Only the Orioles, with $6.7 million, have more.

Because the three have been cleared as free agents, they can sign at any time.

Under the directive of Marlins chief executive officer Derek Jeter, the Marlins have invested more resources into their international operations. They are in the process of making significant upgrades to their facility in the Dominican Republic and, in about a week, they will conduct an instructional league camp for their Minor Leaguers in the Dominican Republic that will run until Thanksgiving.

"In the past, our international budgets really weren't where we needed to be," Hill said. "We didn't maximize that area of talent acquisitions. It's something that, under new ownership, they understand that international talent -- all talent -- is important when you're trying to build a championship organization, and we're going to leave no stone unturned."

Victor Victor Mesa, 22, is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 1 international prospect, and Gaston is No. 16.

Video: Sanchez discusses Cuban standout Victor Victor Mesa

Mesa played on Cuba's 2017 World Baseball Classic club. Mesa Jr., 17, was a standout outfielder on the Cuban 18U national team. Their father, Victor Mesa Sr., played nearly two decades on the Cuban national team, and he's been a long-time manager on the island.

Gaston, 16, is a right-hander who throws 97 mph.

The Marlins have a few homegrown international signings on their current roster. Most notable is right-hander Jose Urena, their 2018 Opening Day starter.

From the Dominican Republic, Urena signed with the Marlins in 2008, and he says he has a comfort level playing in South Florida.

"Fans support you, like when we have the Heritage Days," Urena said. "You see the crowds they have for those games. It's a special game for them, so they show up."

Video: Dominican Heritage Night 2018

Miguel Rojas, from Venezuela, was traded to the Marlins from the Dodgers after the 2014 season. The veteran infielder makes South Florida his home year-round, and he sees a benefit in targeting players from Latin America.

"I have my family close to Miami," Rojas said. "There's a lot of the same culture we grew up with in Venezuela now in Miami. You feel like you're at home. That's why I feel like the more Latin players we can have in Miami, it's even better for the organization. I feel it will be more impactful in the community, too."

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

Miami Marlins

Guzman highlights instructional league game

Marlins prospects get opportunity to play Nats at Marlins Park
MLB.com

MIAMI -- The developmental process ramped up to another level for many Marlins prospects on Wednesday afternoon.

For the first time, the Marlins used their big league park to host an instructional league game. Rather than face the Nationals' instructional league team on a back field in Palm Beach County, the two squads played to a 1-1 tie in 10 innings at Marlins Park.

View Full Game Coverage

MIAMI -- The developmental process ramped up to another level for many Marlins prospects on Wednesday afternoon.

For the first time, the Marlins used their big league park to host an instructional league game. Rather than face the Nationals' instructional league team on a back field in Palm Beach County, the two squads played to a 1-1 tie in 10 innings at Marlins Park.

View Full Game Coverage

The roof was open, and the game matched two touted right-handers. The Marlins started hard-throwing right-hander Jorge Guzman, while Mason Denaburg went for Washington.

Guzman, ranked by MLB Pipeline as Miami's No. 5 prospect, was acquired from the Yankees last offseason as part of the Giancarlo Stanton trade. Denaburg, the No. 27 overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, is the Nationals' No. 4 prospect.

Guzman threw three perfect innings, striking out four. Of his 34 pitches, 23 were strikes. Denaburg threw an inning, walking two and allowing an unearned run.

At Class A Advanced Jupiter, Guzman threw 96 innings and posted a 4.03 ERA with 101 strikeouts and 64 walks.

"We knew that was going to be a big challenge for him," Marlins vice president of player development and scouting Gary Denbo said. "For Jorge, it's all about fastball command. When he learns to command his fastball, he's going to move very quickly in this organization. He spent a good year in the Florida State League."

Video: Top Prospects: Jorge Guzman, RHP, Marlins

Guzman will be added to the 40-man roster in the October and likely will open the 2019 season at Double-A Jacksonville.

"He did a lot better job of learning how to throw his changeup, and when to throw his changeup, and when to throw his secondary pitches," Denbo said. "It was a great development year for [Guzman]. We look for big things from him in the future."

The coveted prospect noted that he focused more on his offspeed pitches with the Hammerheads than his other pitches.

"They improved, because in Jupiter, my curve and my change were not consistent," Guzman said through a interpreter. "Now, I'm learning how to get them over for strikes more consistently as well as my fastball."

Six of the Marlins' starters on Wednesday are on the organization's Top 30 Prospects list: Guzman, shortstop Jose Devers (12), third baseman James Nelson (14), second baseman Christopher Torres (17), center fielder Thomas Jones (18) and outfielder Brayan Hernandez (25).

"It's an exciting day for these young men and our staff, as well," Denbo said. "For a lot of these players, it's the first time ever they've stepped onto a Major League field. It's important for us, from a player development standpoint, to get these guys out here and get comfortable."

More than just the playing field, Wednesday's game was also an opportunity for the young players to familiarize themselves with Marlins Park.

"Where to go to get into the clubhouse, the feel of the dugout, the feel for the mound, the batter's box, and how you see the ball here, and all those things," Denbo said. "A lot of the guys here, over the next few years, will be playing here for the first time for real. We feel like this is a good experience for them."

Worth noting
• Shortstop Osiris Johnson is dealing with a stress reaction to his right leg. The 17-year-old, Miami's second-round pick in June's MLB Draft, has been wearing a walking boot. He will rest for several more weeks, but should be ready for Spring Training. Johnson is the Marlins' No. 13 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

• Braxton Garrett, the club's No. 9 prospect, is throwing off the mound in the instructional league, but he is not expected to pitch in games. The left-hander is still recovering from Tommy John surgery.

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

Miami Marlins, Jorge Guzman

Alcantara labors for 2nd straight start vs. Nats

Organization's top pitching prospect struggles with command over four innings in rainy opener
MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- The elements created soggy conditions on Monday night at Nationals Park. But the bigger issue for Marlins rookie Sandy Alcantara was getting through the heart of the Nationals' lineup.

Alcantara surrendered back-to-back homers to Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto in a four-run fourth inning en route to a 7-3 loss in the series opener.

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WASHINGTON -- The elements created soggy conditions on Monday night at Nationals Park. But the bigger issue for Marlins rookie Sandy Alcantara was getting through the heart of the Nationals' lineup.

Alcantara surrendered back-to-back homers to Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto in a four-run fourth inning en route to a 7-3 loss in the series opener.

View Full Game Coverage

"It's just like a little [wet]," Alcantara said. "But I got a good grip today. I was like a little out of control today, but next time I've got to keep doing the best, you know?"

Making his fifth start of the season, Alcantara had to deal with the rainy conditions along with facing the same lineup in consecutive starts. Last Tuesday at Marlins Park, the 23-year-old right-hander gave up three runs in four innings in a loss.

"Just didn't seem to have command," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "Trouble with command. Rough day."

Video: MIA@WSH: Alcantara strands a pair in the 2nd inning

In both meetings, the Nationals grinded out at-bats against Alcantara. Miami's top pitching prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, walked five and struck out three on Monday after issuing six walks last week in Miami.

Alcantara threw 84 pitches (51 strikes) -- 22 two-seamers and 22 sinkers (or four-seamers), according to Statcast™. He recorded just six swinging strikes

"When he's not aggressive, then that's what you're going to get," Mattingly said. "He wants to throw the two-seamer instead of using the four-seamer. You were getting the ball running off the plate. And he's walking all the lefties. Obviously, we're going to work on that."

Rendon produced a two-run double off Alcantara in the first inning. In the fourth, Bryce Harper lifted a sacrifice fly for his 100th RBI, marking the first time in the All-Star outfielder's career he has reached the century mark. After Harper, Rendon belted a two-run shot and Soto followed with his 21st homer of the season. Per Statcast™, the Rendon homer was 102.6 mph off the bat, and Soto's shot at 107.7 mph.

Video: MIA@WSH: Rendon, Soto launch back-to-back HRs in 4th

"I had a little trouble with lefties," Alcantara said. "But we're going to keep working hard, keep working my 'pen, you know, [work] in to the lefties and to the righties outside a bit."

The rainy conditions caused both starters to struggle early.

Stephen Strasburg threw 38 pitches in the first inning, with Miami taking an early lead on JT Riddle's single and Miguel Rojas' RBI double.

"Even after they score [four], we still had guys out there and had a chance to get back in it there, and we're not able to do anything," Mattingly said.

Video: MIA@WSH: Rojas plates Riddle with a double in the 1st

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Trailing 6-1 in the fifth inning, the Marlins chipped away on Brian Anderson's RBI single. But Miami squandered a chance to get back into it. With two runners on, Lewis Brinson struck out. Austin Dean walked to load the bases, but Justin Miller fanned Magneuris Sierra and retired pinch-hitter Rafael Ortega on a groundout to second.

"It was one of those games where we had plenty of opportunities and we're not able to capitalize," Mattingly said. "We didn't really get anything done with guys in scoring position."

Video: MIA@WSH: Miller strands the bases loaded in the 5th

SOUND SMART
The Marlins left 10 on base and went 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
With runners on the corners and two outs in the fourth, catcher Matt Wieters retrieved a ball in the dirt and tried to pick off JT Riddle, who used a swim move, to get back safely to first. More >

Video: MIA@WSH: Riddle uses a nifty swim move to evade tag

HE SAID IT
"It didn't seem that bad. I know they were putting stuff out there. Javy [Guerra] threw three innings and didn't seem to have trouble. The other guys didn't seem to have trouble. Our guy [Alcantara] just struggled with command. All around, it wasn't real good." -- Mattingly, on the wet conditions

UP NEXT
Right-hander Jeff Brigham is getting an opportunity in September to see if he fits into the Marlins' future as a starter or reliever. On Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET, the rookie draws a tough assignment, taking on a star-filled Nationals lineup at Nationals Park. Making the task even more daunting is he is matched against National League Cy Young Award candidate Max Scherzer.

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

Miami Marlins, Sandy Alcantara

Marlins instructional league roster, schedule

MLB.com

At the end of each season, Major League clubs hold instructional league play, commonly known as instructs, an extended mini-camp that allows Minor Leaguers -- particularly those just starting their pro careers at the lower levels of their team's system -- to get some work in before calling it a year. Players work on specific parts of their game and get offseason workout plans while often playing a handful of games against nearby teams to provide low-key competition to put what they are working on into practice.

Here's a look at the Marlins' roster, with the players' ranks in the team's Top 30 Prospects list in parentheses:

At the end of each season, Major League clubs hold instructional league play, commonly known as instructs, an extended mini-camp that allows Minor Leaguers -- particularly those just starting their pro careers at the lower levels of their team's system -- to get some work in before calling it a year. Players work on specific parts of their game and get offseason workout plans while often playing a handful of games against nearby teams to provide low-key competition to put what they are working on into practice.

Here's a look at the Marlins' roster, with the players' ranks in the team's Top 30 Prospects list in parentheses:

Instructional league rosters

PITCHERS: Taylor Braley, RHP; Edward Cabrera, RHP (No. 6); CJ Carter, RHP; Peyton Culbertson, RHP; Braxton Garrett, LHP (No. 9); Albert Guerrero, RHP; Jorge Guzman, RHP (No. 5); Jordan Holloway, RHP; Tyler Kolek, RHP; Ryan Lillie, RHP; Edgar Martinez, RHP; Andrew Miller, LHP; Brady Puckett, RHP; Josh Roberson, RHP; Manny Rodriguez, LHP; Trevor Rogers, LHP (No. 10); Cason Sherrod, RHP; George Soriano, RHP; Chris Vallimont, RHP; Alex Vesia, LHP; Zach Wolf, RHP

CATCHERS: Luis Arcaya; Will Banfield (No. 7); Cameron Barstad; Keegan Fish; Nick Fortes

INFIELDERS: Jose Devers (No. 12): Walner Espinal; Osiris Johnson (No. 13); James Nelson (No. 14); Sean Reynolds; Marcos Rivera; Chris Torres (No. 17)

OUTFIELDERS: Corey Bird; Davis Bradshaw; Jorge Caballero; Jerar Encarnacion; Brayan Hernandez (No. 25)Thomas Jones (No. 18); Tristan Pompey (No. 15); Connor Scott (No. 4); Isael Soto; Milton Smith

SCHEDULE
Sun.., Sept. 23 - at Washington
Mon., Sept. 24 - at Houston
Tues., Sept. 25 - Camp day
Weds., Sept. 26 - vs. Washington
Thurs., Sept. 27 - vs. Houston
Fri., Sept. 28 - Camp day
Sat., Sept. 29 - at Washington
Sun., Sept. 30 - Off day
Mon., Oct. 1 - Camp day
Tues. Oct. 2 - vs. Washington

Miami Marlins

Prospects visit Marlins Park to get a feel of bigs

MLB.com

MIAMI -- As part of their final homestand weekend, the Marlins are recognizing and introducing several of their Minor Leaguers to the big league experience.

On Friday night, Miami's Minor League MVPs and their instructional league team visited Marlins Park, with some prospects participating in batting practice with the Marlins before they faced the Reds.

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MIAMI -- As part of their final homestand weekend, the Marlins are recognizing and introducing several of their Minor Leaguers to the big league experience.

On Friday night, Miami's Minor League MVPs and their instructional league team visited Marlins Park, with some prospects participating in batting practice with the Marlins before they faced the Reds.

View Full Game Coverage

Prospects mingled with the players in the clubhouse, and they interacted with manager Don Mattingly and the coaches.

"Donnie and staff were gracious enough to let them out on the field, and take batting practice with the big leaguers," Marlins vice president of player development and scouting Gary Denbo said. "We have some young guys, Rookie League players who have never been out on this field before. It's a tremendous experience, it means a lot."

MLB.com looks at four prospects who have shown potential at various levels:

Right-handed pitcher Nick Neidert : The 21-year-old is Miami's Minor League Pitcher of the Year, and No. 3 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. Acquired from the Mariners in the Dee Gordon trade, Neidert went 12-7 with a 3.24 ERA at Double-A with 154 strikeouts in 152 2/3 innings.

Neidert will compete for a big league rotation spot in Spring Training, but likely will open at Triple-A New Orleans next year.

Neidert's goals?

"Just be a better pitcher than I was this year," he said. "I know I have stuff I need to work on. Stuff I need to do to keep taking steps in the right direction."

Second baseman Isan Diaz: Acquired from the Brewers in the Christian Yelich deal, the 22-year-old was promoted from Double-A Jacksonville to Triple-A New Orleans. His slash line was .232/.340/.399 with 13 home runs and 56 RBIs. According to the Marlins' advanced analytics, Diaz put 9 percent of the balls in play at 105 mph or higher. The league average at Double-A is 7 percent.

"Absolutely. I was told a little more about that," Diaz said of his hard contact rates. "Stay the same. Don't worry about the results, and just go out there and stick to an approach, and let everything else take on its own. Everything worked out."

This offseason, Diaz, Miami's No. 8-ranked prospect, will represent Team Puerto Rico in Colombia during the U-23 Baseball World Cup 2018.

Shortstop Jose Devers: Regarded as the Marlins' shortstop of the future, the 18-year-old advanced this season from low Class A Greensboro to Class A Advanced Jupiter. The left-handed hitter finished .272/.313/.330 with 12 doubles and four triples. Devers was part of the Giancarlo Stanton trade with the Yankees, and he is Miami's No. 12 prospect. He was one of the younger players in the Florida State League.

"I was kind of surprised because it was a league you don't see many 18-year-olds in," Devers said through an interpreter. "But I knew what I've been working on, and I knew what I was capable of."

Devers finished the Minor League season on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis. He is participating in the instructional league, hitting and fielding, but not making long throws.

"My main offseason plan is taking care of my body and my arm," Devers said. "Obviously, I've got to do some things to improve offensively and defensively. But my main priority is taking care of my body and my arm."

Left-handed pitcher Luis Palacios: The left-hander from Venezuela posted impressive numbers in the Dominican Summer League. The 18-year-old was 8-0 with a 0.85 ERA, striking out 62 in 63 2/3 innings. His most telling statistic is just four walks.

"One of the things I do before the game is focus a lot on the strike zone," Palacios said through an interpreter. "I want to get ahead in the counts, and after that, I can go for the strikeout."

Palacios' fastball maxed at 91 mph, but he pitches in the 88-89 mph range. He credits his success to an improved curveball and changeup.

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

Miami Marlins, Jose Devers, Isan Diaz, Nick Neidert

Marlins honor Minor League award winners

MLB.com

MIAMI -- A message the Marlins gave to their Minor Leaguers early in Spring Training was, if players performed, they would be rewarded. A prime example is outfielder Austin Dean, who put up big numbers at Double-A and Triple-A, and now is getting substantial time in left field with Miami.

Dean was recognized by the organization on Friday night and received his award as the Marlins' Minor League Player of the Year. Along with Dean, right-hander Nick Neidert was named the Pitcher of the Year Award winner, while Walner Espinal was awarded the Student of the Year and Bruce Walton awarded the Staff Member of the Year.

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MIAMI -- A message the Marlins gave to their Minor Leaguers early in Spring Training was, if players performed, they would be rewarded. A prime example is outfielder Austin Dean, who put up big numbers at Double-A and Triple-A, and now is getting substantial time in left field with Miami.

Dean was recognized by the organization on Friday night and received his award as the Marlins' Minor League Player of the Year. Along with Dean, right-hander Nick Neidert was named the Pitcher of the Year Award winner, while Walner Espinal was awarded the Student of the Year and Bruce Walton awarded the Staff Member of the Year.

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"We're very proud of Austin Dean, and the progress that he made," Marlins vice president of player development and scouting Gary Denbo said. "He started out hot, and is finishing hot. He has done a tremendous job offensively. He's improved on his defense. We want well-rounded players and he's improved in every area of his game. We're very proud of his game. But it's not just him."

Dean, ranked by MLB Pipeline as Miami's No. 27 prospect, combined to hit .345 with 12 home runs and 68 RBIs at Double-A and Triple-A New Orleans.

Neidert, the organization's No. 3 prospect, was 12-7 with a 3.24 ERA at Double-A Jacksonville. Neidert was acquired from the Mariners in the Dee Gordon trade, and he played at Double-A at age 21.

Denbo noted the organization didn't hesitate in promoting young players to higher levels.

"That's a goal of ours," Denbo said. "It's to get our players at a younger age competing against tougher competition. Even sometimes when they struggle, we think it's the right thing to do, to put them in a position to learn, to make adjustments. We feel a lot of our guys did that."

A player who didn't move all season was outfielder Monte Harrison, Miami's top prospect, who spent the season at Jacksonville.

Harrison had a slash line of .240/.316/.399 with 19 home runs and 48 RBIs. The concern was strikeouts, as he fanned 215 times, and he had a strikeout percentage of 36.9 percent on the season.

"Monte Harrison, a tremendous athlete in Double-A this year," Denbo said. "We didn't move him because he was striking out way too often. But what he did over the course of the season was go from a very high strikeout total, an almost unacceptable strikeout total, to down near 25-26 percent over the last six weeks of the season."

If Harrison can make consistent contact, he has the ability to be impactful. According to Marlins advanced data, 20 percent of the balls he put in play were at 105 mph or higher. That was the seventh-highest rate of more than 400 hitters in Double-A.

Also on Friday, the Marlins invited their entire instructional league team to Marlins Park. Among the 40 players on the team, first-round pick Connor Scott, second-rounder Osiris Johnson and Competitive Balance Round B pick Will Banfield were on hand.

The Marlins are changing one of their Minor League affiliations in 2019. It was announced Friday that the new Class A affiliate will be the Clinton (Iowa) LumberKings in the Midwest League. Miami is leaving Class A Greensboro in the South Atlantic League.

"We're moving into the Midwest League," Denbo said. "I had an opportunity to play and coach in the Midwest League in my career. It's a good league. It's a good developmental league. We feel like it's on par with the other lower-level A leagues. We feel like it's an opportunity to put some of our younger players there."

Scott, Banfield and Johnson are projected to open next year at Clinton.

The Marlins also have hired Marti Wolever, longtime scouting director with the Phillies, who will be working on the amateur side.

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

Miami Marlins

Marlins announce Minor League award winners

MLB.com

MIAMI -- Rookie outfielder Austin Dean was rewarded for a strong Minor League season by getting an opportunity to play for the Marlins down the stretch. Nick Neidert spent the entire season at Double-A Jacksonville, where the right-hander enjoyed a strong season and projects to compete for a big league rotation spot in 2019.

Dean and Neidert were honored by the Marlins on Wednesday as their Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year Awards winners. The organization also recognized Walner Espinal as their Student of the Year Award winner, and Bruce Walton as their Staff Member of the Year Award winner.

MIAMI -- Rookie outfielder Austin Dean was rewarded for a strong Minor League season by getting an opportunity to play for the Marlins down the stretch. Nick Neidert spent the entire season at Double-A Jacksonville, where the right-hander enjoyed a strong season and projects to compete for a big league rotation spot in 2019.

Dean and Neidert were honored by the Marlins on Wednesday as their Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year Awards winners. The organization also recognized Walner Espinal as their Student of the Year Award winner, and Bruce Walton as their Staff Member of the Year Award winner.

The winners will be formally recognized pregame on Friday before the Marlins face the Reds at 7:10 p.m. ET at Marlins Park.

According to MLB Pipeline, Neidert is Miami's No. 3-ranked prospect, and Dean is ranked No. 27.

Dean worked his way to the big leagues by combining to bat .345, with 20 doubles, five triples, 12 home runs and 68 RBIs in 109 games at Double-A and Triple-A.

Dean was a fourth-round Draft pick of the Marlins in 2012, and he made his big league debut on Aug. 15 at Atlanta. The 24-year-old is getting substantial time in left field with the Marlins, and he is expected to compete for a roster spot with Miami next Spring Training.

Neidert, 21, was acquired in December from the Mariners as part of the Dee Gordon trade. At Jacksonville, he was 12-7 with a 3.24 ERA in 26 starts over 152 2/3 innings, with 154 strikeouts and 31 walks.

Espinal, a native of the Dominican Republic, signed as an international free agent in 2016. This season, he played for the Gulf Coast Marlins, batting .252 with eight doubles, a triple and three home runs in 45 games. He logged the most hours of any player in his Burlington English software in the computer lab.

Walton is in his first season as pitching coach at Class A Advanced Jupiter. The Hammerheads' pitching staff had a 3.43 ERA, which was the lowest in the Florida State League.

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

Miami Marlins, Austin Dean

Alcantara shines as Marlins fall on walk-off

Rookie righty limits Mets to 2 hits over 7-plus frames in Game 1 loss
MLB.com

NEW YORK -- At 23 years old, Marlins right-hander Sandy Alcantara is not quite a finished product. But he's getting closer.

Alcantara took another step forward Thursday afternoon, giving up two runs in seven-plus innings. But on a day the rookie showed more growth on a big league mound, the bullpen wasn't able to lock down the victory. With two outs in the ninth inning, Michael Conforto and Todd Frazier delivered back-to-back home runs as the Mets walked off the Marlins, 4-3, in Game 1 of a doubleheader at Citi Field.

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NEW YORK -- At 23 years old, Marlins right-hander Sandy Alcantara is not quite a finished product. But he's getting closer.

Alcantara took another step forward Thursday afternoon, giving up two runs in seven-plus innings. But on a day the rookie showed more growth on a big league mound, the bullpen wasn't able to lock down the victory. With two outs in the ninth inning, Michael Conforto and Todd Frazier delivered back-to-back home runs as the Mets walked off the Marlins, 4-3, in Game 1 of a doubleheader at Citi Field.

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Video: MIA@NYM: Frazier goes back to back with a walk-off HR

"Sandy was good. The pitch count was down, he went late into the game. ... He did a great job," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.

The Mets rally came off Kyle Barraclough, who was one out from recording his first save since July 21. Left-hander Adam Conley, who followed Alcantara, got three outs in the eighth inning, and then opened the ninth, getting Jay Bruce to pop out to first.

Barraclough retired Dominic Smith, but left a changeup down the middle to Conforto, and Frazier homered on a fastball.

"Again, pull side is worrisome," Mattingly said of the homers. "That's one of the things we've talked about. If somebody's going to beat you, [let them] beat you the opposite way. Obviously, Conforto can do that. You just feel better if he beats you on the other side of the field."

"[Comforto] said he wasn't even looking for a changeup, and I left it up," Barraclough said. "That was a good pitch to him. It was the right pitch. I've just got to execute it to him, and get it down. It kind of just ran into his barrel, and Frazier was kind of the same thing.

"Got ahead of him. Got ahead of all the hitters the last two months, and everything seems to kind of come together, and then you have a day like this. You make two mistakes and they make you play by putting it in the seats, as opposed to a single or a double or a triple, or anything other than what they just did."

Until the late heroics by the Mets, Alcantara was in line for his third win.

Making his third big league start, Alcantara yielded just two hits, struck out six and walked three.

"You take things from bad outings, bad experiences," Alcantara said through an interpreter. "But you just keep going. You stay focused and keep focused."

Video: MIA@NYM: Alcantara on his 7-inning outing vs. Mets

With September being a month the Marlins are using to help evaluate for their future, Alcantara has shown continued growth, especially in terms of mixing up his pitches. Along with a fastball that maxed at 98.2 mph Thursday, Alcantara threw 32 sliders. He induced nine ground ball outs.

The big blast he yielded was a two-run homer to Steven Matz, his pitching counterpart. Matz, too, impressed on the mound, giving up three runs in 6 1/3 innings.

Peter O'Brien had a home run and drove in a run in the seventh inning that put the Marlins in front, 3-2. The run was charged to Matz, who allowed a leadoff double to Brian Anderson, before exiting with one out.

Video: MIA@NYM: O'Brien puts Marlins ahead with an RBI knock

The Marlins and Mets played a doubleheader Thursday to make up for the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader being postponed due to rain. The elements impacted the entire series, starting off with Monday night's game being washed out.

Back-to-back home runs from O'Brien and Isaac Galloway gave the Marlins the lead in the second inning. It was the fourth time this season Miami teammates have homered in succession. For O'Brien, it was his first big league home run since Sept. 10, 2016, when the right-handed-hitting first baseman was with Arizona.

Video: MIA@NYM: O'Brien smacks a solo home run to right

The Marlins lead was short-lived, because with two outs in the bottom of the frame, Matz crushed a two-run home run to left field. It was the left-hander's first career home run.

Video: MIA@NYM: Matz crushes his 1st big league home run

"It was just a bad pitch to Matz," Alcantara said. "Other than that, I was able to settle back in and get going."

In his three big league starts, Alcantara's ERA is 1.42.

"Ever since they made the decision to send me back to Triple-A," Alcantara said. "I took my time to focus on all my pitches, and attack the zone, as well."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The way the ninth inning played out, the Marlins could have used some insurance runs. They almost had at least two more in the seventh inning. After O'Brien's single gave them a 3-2 lead, the Marlins had the bases full with two outs when Miguel Rojas smoked a line drive that shortstop Jack Reinheimer made a terrific leaping play on. Statcast™ had the exit velocity on the liner at 103.1 mph, and a hit probability of 77 percent. Miami would have scored perhaps two if the ball had fallen for a hit.

Video: MIA@NYM: Reinheimer makes a terrific catch at short

SOUND SMART
Barraclough now has seven blown saves, and the Marlins have 22 blown saves on the season.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
With one out in the second inning, O'Brien and Galloway delivered their back-to-back shots. O'Brien's traveled to right field, and Galloway's went to left. Per Statcast™, O'Brien's drive projected at 387 feet, with an exit velocity of 108.7 mph, and a launch angle of 40 degrees. Galloway's shot was 408 feet, with an exit speed of 102.9 mph and a 31-degree launch angle.

Video: MIA@NYM: Galloway goes back-to-back with a solo shot

HE SAID IT
"J.T. [Realmuto] and I were in sync. Every time J.T. called a slider, I was right there with him. When he called it, I was ready to throw it." -- Alcantara, on his slider

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

Miami Marlins, Sandy Alcantara

Instructional league opens for Miami prospects

Scott, Guzman, Devers among young talent participating
MLB.com

NEW YORK -- The closing of the Minor League season didn't mark the end of the developmental process for many of the Marlins' top-ranked prospects.

On Wednesday, the organization opened its instructional league at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla., with lower-level Minor League players getting additional work for the next three weeks.

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NEW YORK -- The closing of the Minor League season didn't mark the end of the developmental process for many of the Marlins' top-ranked prospects.

On Wednesday, the organization opened its instructional league at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla., with lower-level Minor League players getting additional work for the next three weeks.

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"These are all young players that we're trying to continue their growth and development," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "Instructional league is a great opportunity to continue to give them their reps to accomplish those goals."

Miami's top four picks in the 2018 Draft -- outfielder Connor Scott, shortstop Osiris Johnson, catcher Will Banfield and outfielder Tristan Pompey -- are participating in workouts and games. Right-hander Jorge Guzman and shortstop Jose Devers, who both played at Class A Advanced Jupiter this season, will also take part.

Video: Top Prospects: Connor Scott, SS/2B, Marlins

Instructional league will also feature three pitchers recovering from Tommy John surgery -- left-hander Braxton Garrett and right-handers Jordan Holloway and Tyler Kolek.

Garrett, ranked by MLB Pipeline as Miami's No. 9 prospect, was the seventh overall pick in the 2016 Draft. Holloway and Kolek saw some Minor League game action late in the season at Class A Short-Season Batavia.

Holloway, a right-hander, is an interesting prospect with an upper-90s fastball. In 7 2/3 innings combined in the Gulf Coast League and with Batavia, he struck out nine with no walks.

Video: Draft 2018: Marlins draft SS Osiris Johnson No. 53

"Holloway is 6-4, long, lean and explosive," Hill said. "He has a fastball, slider mix. He profiles as a front-of-the-rotation talent. We're excited to have him healthy and back on the mound. We're looking forward to seeing what he can do."

Garrett missed the entire season due to his surgery. In 2017, the left-hander had a 2.93 ERA in 15 1/3 innings.

"We weren't able to get him into a game there," Hill said of Garrett. "We're continuing with his mound progression. We look forward to continuing that through instructional league, and have him full-go and ready to compete in Spring Training."

Devers and Guzman were acquired from the Yankees as part of the Giancarlo Stanton trade. Guzman is ranked as Miami's No. 5 prospect, and Devers is No. 12. Devers, 18, was shut down the final few weeks at Jupiter due to a tired right shoulder.

Video: WLD@USA: Guzman K's Knizner swinging in the 7th

Banfield, the No. 7 prospect, ended his season on the Minor League disabled list with a bruised toe.

Banfield and Devers are at the instructional league, but they are being moved along more slowly.

"We're excited to continue the development of our young players," Hill said. "Our top prospects, our top guys in the Draft will all be there. Just giving them additional opportunity, both on and off the field to improve their situations."

Video: Top Prospects: Will Banfield, C, Marlins

This is the first year the Marlins are having two instructional leagues. In October, they will have another three-week session at their complex in the Dominican Republic.

Worth noting

• A few Minor League managers and coaches will not be returning for the 2019 season. Triple-A New Orleans manager Arnie Beyeler and hitting coach Tommy Gregg will not be back, nor will Double-A Jacksonville manager Randy Ready. There will also be managerial changes in the Gulf Coast League and the Dominican Summer League, as John Pachot and Ray Nunez are not returning.

• Miami's agreement with Class A Greensboro has expired, and the organization is seeking another South Atlantic League location.

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

Miami Marlins

Alcantara stymies Phillies in return to Majors

Prospect pitches seven-plus scoreless innings in second big league start
MLB.com

MIAMI -- The Marlins are using September to give opportunities to several prospects. Sandy Alcantara showcased plenty of promise on Wednesday night.

The 22-year-old right-hander threw seven-plus innings of shutout ball and Austin Dean delivered two RBIs as the Marlins held off the Phillies, 2-1, at Marlins Park to take two of three in the series.

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MIAMI -- The Marlins are using September to give opportunities to several prospects. Sandy Alcantara showcased plenty of promise on Wednesday night.

The 22-year-old right-hander threw seven-plus innings of shutout ball and Austin Dean delivered two RBIs as the Marlins held off the Phillies, 2-1, at Marlins Park to take two of three in the series.

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"To me, what you see tonight, is a guy that you let develop," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "He's a guy who is a lot different than what you saw in Spring Training. He has another full season basically under his belt pitching. The key, when you talk about him, you talk about the potential of him. Is it a top-of-the-rotation guy? Only he tells us that."

Video: PHI@MIA: Mattingly on Alcantara's performance in win

Alcantara pounded the strike zone with four-seam fastballs and sinkers, striking out six while scattering three hits. Of his 97 pitches, 44 were sinkers, which averaged 96.4 mph. His velocity topped at 98.8 mph, but unfortunately that pitch resulted in a hit-by-pitch to Jorge Alfaro.

Acquired from the Cardinals in the Marcell Ozuna trade, Alcantara is Miami's No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline. He opened the season at Triple-A New Orleans before making one big league start on June 29 against the Mets. But after that outing, he went on the disabled list with a right axillary infection. When he was ready to return, he was optioned back to the Baby Cakes.

At the time he was sent down, the organization told Alcantara it wanted him to better command his fastball and utilize all of his pitches. An indication of the results were seen in the series finale.

"It was a bit disappointing, getting that injury and then going through the rehab," Alcantara said through an interpreter. "They made the decision to send me down, so I just took that time to play my way through. They brought me up here, and I was able to have a good outing today."

Video: PHI@MIA: Alcantara, Dean on 2-1 win over Phillies

After walking Carlos Santana to start the game, Alcantara was able to establish his four-seam fastball and sinker. The right-hander's velocity reached 97.5 mph in the first inning, an encouraging sign for the Marlins because the rookie struggled to reach 95 mph in his season debut.

"We wanted him to get back to his four-seam and be able to use it," Mattingly said. "The key for him is to use the two-seam [sinker] like the four-seam. Not really guiding it, throw it. … When you've got 98 [mph] in the tank, the four-seam works, too. You've got to be able to use all your weapons."

The Marlins gave Alcantara some early support off Nick Pivetta, who worked four innings. Dean recorded an RBI fielder's choice in the second inning and laced an RBI single to center in the fourth. Derek Dietrich scored on both plays.

Philadelphia got on the board with two outs in the eighth inning. Pinch-hitter Jose Bautista knocked a two-out double off Adam Conley, and Asdrubal Cabrera slapped an RBI single to left on an 0-2 changeup from Kyle Barraclough.

Video: PHI@MIA: Cabrera plates Bautista with single in 8th

By taking two of three, the Marlins prevented the Phillies from gaining any ground on the National League East-leading Braves, who remain three games ahead.

On a young Marlins squad, players are being evaluated on how they perform against contenders.

"We're talking about getting experience right now for next year, but the biggest part is, we're trying to win games and trying to dictate who makes the playoffs," Dean said. "Stuff like that -- for me -- I'm out there, I'm playing every game as hard as I can, and just trying to help the team win games."

Video: PHI@MIA: Dean drives home Dietrich with single in 4th

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Locking down wins has been a struggle for the Marlins in recent weeks. Drew Steckenrider has been getting most of the save chances, and the right-hander escaped a shaky situation in the ninth inning. With one out, Cesar Hernandez walked and Alfaro singled to right. But Steckenrider escaped by striking out pinch-hitter Pedro Florimon and Roman Quinn.

"That was a good game," Mattingly said. "A lot of good things happened. Obviously, Sandy was really good. Adam comes in and gets a big double play with that lineout from Santana. Claw gives up a hit, he's on the attack, and then gets a big out. Steck ends up getting two guys on, but then gets out of that. It was good to see the guys we've kind of been counting on all year long. They had been pretty good until probably the last week. They were able to step up and stop that game."

Video: PHI@MIA: Steckenrider K's Quinn to nail down the save

SOUND SMART
Lewis Brinson went 2-for-3 and raised his batting average to .201. The rookie is riding a career-high seven-game hitting streak and is 10-for-28 (.357) in that stretch, which includes two games before he went on the DL in July. In five games since coming off the DL, Brinson is 8-for-18 (.444).

HE SAID IT
"That was honestly the best I've seen him pitch this year. Just lights out. That was a fantastic job on his part." -- Dean, on Alcantara. The two previously were Triple-A teammates.

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
A replay overturn in the second not only gave the Marlins their first hit of the night, it also extended the inning to help Miami push across its first run. Brinson tapped a slow roller to shortstop Cabrera, who made the throw to first. Brinson was initially called out, as Dietrich advanced to third. Miami challenged, and after a review, the call was overturned.

Video: PHI@MIA: Brinson singles on overturned call in 2nd

With runners on the corners, Dean grounded to the hole at short to score Dietrich on the fielder's choice.

"Just getting down the line," Mattingly said. "We talk about guys being athletic and doing some things on the field. Basically on a little slow roller, Brins is able to get down the line on just effort and beat the play. It gives us another opportunity. You talk about speed and things like that; it puts pressure on the defense to make everything clean."

Video: PHI@MIA: Dean plates Dietrich to open scoring in 2nd

UP NEXT
Dan Straily, coming off a season-high eight innings in a no-decision against the Blue Jays, gets the starting nod for the Marlins at 7:05 p.m. ET on Friday at the Pirates. The right-hander is 3-3 with a 4.24 ERA in 11 career appearances against Pittsburgh. Chris Archer starts for the Pirates.

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

Miami Marlins, Sandy Alcantara, Austin Dean

Harrison, other top prospects wrap up seasons

Guzman, Diaz also progressed with new organization
MLB.com

MIAMI -- As several highly rated Marlins prospects get a taste of the big leagues in September, another wave of them recently wrapped up their Minor League seasons. Topping the list is outfielder Monte Harrison, ranked by MLB Pipeline as Miami's No. 1 prospect (76th overall in the Top 100).

Harrison, 23, finished up his first full season in the Marlins' organization, spending all of it at Double-A Jacksonville.

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MIAMI -- As several highly rated Marlins prospects get a taste of the big leagues in September, another wave of them recently wrapped up their Minor League seasons. Topping the list is outfielder Monte Harrison, ranked by MLB Pipeline as Miami's No. 1 prospect (76th overall in the Top 100).

Harrison, 23, finished up his first full season in the Marlins' organization, spending all of it at Double-A Jacksonville.

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A power and speed threat, Harrison belted 19 home runs and stole 28 bases to go along with a slash line of .240/.316/.399 with a .715 OPS.

In the offseason, the Marlins will add Harrison to their 40-man roster, and he will participate in the Arizona Fall League.

"We're very happy with how Monte was able to finish his first full season at Double-A," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "We think he's a tremendous talent. We're going to continue to give him regular work and continue his development."

Video: HOU@MIA: Harrison crushes a solo shot to left

Acquired from the Brewers as part of the Christian Yelich trade, Harrison could be ready to make the leap to the big leagues at some point next season. The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder, who was a three-sport standout in high school, will most likely open the year at either Jacksonville or Triple-A New Orleans.

This was a transitional season for Harrison, who made adjustments with his swing. There's a concern with swings and misses, as he struck out 215 times in 521 at-bats. His strikeout percentage was 36.9. Conversely, he did walk 7.5 percent of the time.

"With him, we know we're working on cutting the strikeouts down," Hill said. "But his overall approach has definitely improved from where he was at the beginning of the season to where he is right now. We hope to continue that progress in the Fall League."

Harrison improved as the season progressed, batting .266 with six home runs, eight RBIs and nine walks in August.

"The Fall League is just a tremendous opportunity for young players to play against the best talent in baseball," Hill said. "It's an opportunity for us to continue to allow him to play deeper into the offseason."

The season also came to a close for hard-throwing right-hander Jorge Guzman, a key pickup from the Yankees in the Giancarlo Stanton trade. The 22-year-old is Miami's No. 5 prospect, and he spent the season at Class A Advanced Jupiter.

Guzman made 21 starts there, striking out 101 in 96 innings. Also eye-catching is the 0-9 record, which is deceptive considering how he pitched. He had an ERA of 4.03.

Video: Top Prospects: Jorge Guzman, RHP, Marlins

"You look at all of his metrics, all of his rates, he had a tremendous season," Hill said. "Obviously, wins and losses are what the general public sees, but in terms of the progress that he made in developing himself as a complete pitcher, we're very pleased with the progress that he made."

Isan Diaz, the organization's eighth-ranked prospect, made the jump from Double-A to Triple-A New Orleans. A left-handed-hitting second baseman, Diaz has an advanced approach. The 22-year-old had a combined slash line for the season of .232/.340/.399 with 13 home runs and 56 RBIs.

Also part of the Yelich trade with the Brewers, Diaz could see big league time at second base in 2019.

"In his situation, we had an opportunity at Triple-A," Hill said. "He was swinging the bat well at Double-A, so we thought it was a nice way to challenge him. You see a young player with a tremendous offensive approach who is making great strides."

Video: ATL@MIA: Blaylock talks NOLA Baseball with Diaz

Worth noting
• Jimmy Rollins, the former All-Star shortstop with the Phillies, is the cousin of shortstop prospect Osiris Johnson, Miami's second-round pick in this June's Draft. The 17-year-old is the Marlins' No. 13 prospect, and he reached Class A Greensboro. Rollins worked with Johnson before his senior season at Encinal High School in Alameda, Calif.

"He's never seen that level of competition before," Rollins said. "He's seen high school. He's seen guys his age, but he hasn't faced guys who have played three years of SEC baseball, ACC baseball, Pac 12 baseball. Guys who are seasoned, compared to a 17-year-old coming out of high school, who hasn't seen anything 97 [mph], especially on a consistent basis. Everybody throws hard."

Rollins, who now lives in Tampa, was in Miami this week as an invited guest of the Phillies.

• Catcher Will Banfield, Miami's No. 7 prospect, ended his season on the seven-day disabled list at Greensboro. Banfield took a foul ball off his foot, and rather than take any chances, he was shut down. The 18-year-old was Miami's Competitive Balance Round B selection.

• The Marlins will do something different this season with their instructional leagues. They will have two sessions: Starting Sept. 12 and running through the first week of October, selected Minor Leaguers will participate in an instructional league at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex in Jupiter. A second instructional league will take place in October and run into the first week of November in the Dominican Republic.

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

Miami Marlins

Shoulder strain ends Lopez's season

Marlins prospect Brigham called up among moves, to debut Sunday
Special to MLB.com

MIAMI -- Outfielder Lewis Brinson and infielder Martin Prado came off the disabled list on Saturday. That was the good news. The not-so-good news is that right-handed pitcher Pablo Lopez has been put on the 60-day DL with a right shoulder strain and his season is done. In a corresponding move, the Marlins called up right-handed pitcher Jeff Brigham, who will get his first start on Sunday.

Brinson and Prado were both reinstated from the 10-day DL. In addition, the Marlins called up right-handed pitchers Sandy Alcantara and Nick Wittgren, as well as catcher Chad Wallach, from Triple-A New Orleans. That was the first of what Marlins manager Don Mattingly anticipates being a wave of callups during the final month of the season.

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MIAMI -- Outfielder Lewis Brinson and infielder Martin Prado came off the disabled list on Saturday. That was the good news. The not-so-good news is that right-handed pitcher Pablo Lopez has been put on the 60-day DL with a right shoulder strain and his season is done. In a corresponding move, the Marlins called up right-handed pitcher Jeff Brigham, who will get his first start on Sunday.

Brinson and Prado were both reinstated from the 10-day DL. In addition, the Marlins called up right-handed pitchers Sandy Alcantara and Nick Wittgren, as well as catcher Chad Wallach, from Triple-A New Orleans. That was the first of what Marlins manager Don Mattingly anticipates being a wave of callups during the final month of the season.

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Brinson said that he is coming back a different player.

"First year in the big leagues, you want to impress, and I put a little too much pressure on myself. That's behind me now," Brinson said. "I'm hoping to finish the season strong, just play my game the way I know how, go out there and have fun and everything else will take care of itself."

Lopez said he felt something during long toss on Friday prior to his bullpen session.

"I felt something unusual," said Lopez, who decided to stop and have the shoulder checked out.

An MRI revealed just a strain and nothing more serious.

"It should be fine," said Lopez. "I'm looking forward to next season. It's not the way anyone wants to end their season, but at the same time the news was better than it could have been. So I'll get rest and try to come back ready for next season."

Mattingly said that Lopez is expected to rest the shoulder and then begin a full winter workout and throwing program in preparation for Spring Training.

Lopez made 10 starts in his rookie season, compiling a 2-4 record and a 4.14 ERA.

"I'm very proud of his season," Mattingly said. "Moving forward we think he's a guy that's going to be very competitive and has a chance to make a lot of noise in the big leagues in his career."

Brigham, who was acquired by the Marlins in a trade with the Dodgers back in 2015, gets his first Major League start on Sunday in the finale of the three-game series with Toronto. He is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Marlins' No. 20 prospect.

Mattingly said that Brigham would become part of a six-man rotation over the final month of the season.

"We'll give [Jose Urena and Trevor Richards] the extra day and just go on from there," said Mattingly. "We'll get a chance to see him four or five times before the end of the year."

Brigham is a power pitcher with a slider.

"The development of the third pitch is probably going to be the separator," said Mattingly. "I didn't see him in spring, just saw reports, so I'm looking forward to seeing him [pitch]."

Alcantara will also slot into the starting rotation as well and pitch the final game of the Phillies series on Wednesday at Marlins Park. Beginning Sunday, the rotation follows with Brigham, Urena, Richards, Alcantara and Dan Straily in order.

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami.

Miami Marlins, Jeff Brigham, Lewis Brinson, Pablo Lopez, Martin Prado