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Here are the Marlins' Top 30 Prospects

MLB.com

There's no question that the Marlins' farm system has improved since Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter purchased the franchise from Jeffrey Loria in September 2017. Whether it's strong enough to eventually return the big league club to contention remains very much in question, however.

Undergoing yet another rebuild, Miami has traded Dee Gordon, Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto in the last 14 months, turning its five best players when Jeter assumed control of baseball operations into big leaguers Jorge Alfaro and Starlin Castro plus 15 prospects, 12 of whom are on our latest Marlins Top 30 list. The best of them is right-hander Sixto Sanchez, who has drawn comparisons to Pedro Martinez but also missed most of 2018 with elbow inflammation -- and he's still the safest bet among the many high-risk/high-reward types Miami has collected.

There's no question that the Marlins' farm system has improved since Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter purchased the franchise from Jeffrey Loria in September 2017. Whether it's strong enough to eventually return the big league club to contention remains very much in question, however.

Undergoing yet another rebuild, Miami has traded Dee Gordon, Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto in the last 14 months, turning its five best players when Jeter assumed control of baseball operations into big leaguers Jorge Alfaro and Starlin Castro plus 15 prospects, 12 of whom are on our latest Marlins Top 30 list. The best of them is right-hander Sixto Sanchez, who has drawn comparisons to Pedro Martinez but also missed most of 2018 with elbow inflammation -- and he's still the safest bet among the many high-risk/high-reward types Miami has collected.

:: Team Top 30 Prospects lists ::

Outfielders Lewis Brinson (since graduated to the big leagues) and Monte Harrison have yet to prove they can make enough contact to deliver on their five-tool promise, while right-handers Sandy Alcantara and Jorge Guzman still must demonstrate that they can harness their overpowering stuff. Cuban outfielder Victor Victor Mesa signed in October for $5.25 million, a franchise record for a position player, yet generates mixed reviews about his offensive upside.

Here's a look at the Marlins' top prospects:
1. Sixto Sanchez, RHP
2. Victor Victor Mesa, OF
3. Monte Harrison, OF
4. Nick Neidert, RHP
5. Sandy Alcantara, RHP
Complete Top 30 list »

Biggest jump/fall
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2018 preseason list to the 2019 preseason list:

Jump: Jordan Holloway, RHP (2018: 29 | 2019: 14) -- Came back from Tommy John surgery to touch 99 mph and show best curveball in system

Fall: Merandy Gonzalez, RHP (2018: 16 | 2019: NR) -- Needs better command to reach his middle-reliever ceiling

Best tools
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average. Players in parentheses have the same grade.

Hit: 55 -- Brian Miller (Jose Devers, Tristan Pompey)
Power: 55 -- Monte Harrison (Joe Dunand)
Run: 70 -- Thomas Jones
Arm: 70 -- Monte Harrison (Will Banfield)
Defense: 60 -- Victor Victor Mesa (Jose Devers)
Fastball: 80 -- Jorge Guzman
Curveball: 60 -- Jordan Holloway (Braxton Garrett, Jordan Yamamoto)
Slider: 60 -- Riley Ferrell
Changeup: 60 -- Nick Neidert
Control: 60 -- Nick Neidert (Sixto Sanchez)

How they were built
Draft: 12
International: 3
Trade: 14
Rule 5: 1

Breakdown by ETA
2019: 8
2020: 8
2021: 9
2022: 5

Breakdown by position
C: 1
1B: 0
2B: 2
3B: 1
SS: 4
OF: 7
RHP: 11
LHP: 4

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Miami Marlins

Marlins welcome Mesa with open arms

Club's No. 2 prospect 'very comfortable' after first day of big league workouts
MLB.com

JUPITER, Fla. -- Before taking the field for the first time wearing a Marlins uniform, Victor Victor Mesa received plenty of support from his teammates and coaches.

Ranked as Miami's No. 2 prospect, and 99th overall by MLB Pipeline, Mesa was the top international prospect on the market before signing for $5.25 million in October.

JUPITER, Fla. -- Before taking the field for the first time wearing a Marlins uniform, Victor Victor Mesa received plenty of support from his teammates and coaches.

Ranked as Miami's No. 2 prospect, and 99th overall by MLB Pipeline, Mesa was the top international prospect on the market before signing for $5.25 million in October.

"I feel very comfortable," Mesa said through a translator after the first full-squad practice. "Many of the veteran players have approached me, with that as a first step of having the teammate relationship. That's made me very happy, very comfortable."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Mesa, 22, defected from Cuba last May along with his brother, Victor Mesa Jr., and they haven't played in organized games in more than a year.

Mesa Jr., 17, will be in Minor League camp, and the two will be brought along at their own pace.

Third-base coach Fredi Gonzalez, who also was born in Cuba, already has established a relationship with Victor Victor Mesa to help him acclimate to Spring Training.

Video: Top Prospects: Victor Victor Mesa, OF, Marlins

"I'm very happy," Mesa said. "[Gonzalez] knows of my dad from the time he played in Cuba. I'm very happy just having that connection with Fredi."

Mesa's father, Victor, was a legendary player and manager in Cuba, and is expected to attend Spring Training.

"Baseball is baseball anywhere in the world," Gonzalez said. "It's just the language, and I tried to make him feel comfortable as much as I can. [Mesa] was born in Cuba. I've been here a little longer than him. I can speak both languages. Whatever he needs on the field, or if he needs to pull me aside for some reason, I told him to feel comfortable coming over."

Be ready to compete
All 68 players on the roster are now in camp, and they took the field after a series of meetings with everyone from chief executive officer Derek Jeter to manager Don Mattingly.

Competition is one of the messages in camp.

"I've said to the guys before," Jeter said, "competition eliminates complacency. That's that bottom line. You have to take the field like you're trying to keep your job every year. That's the approach I took when I was a player. That's the approach I'm going to have for this organization. The best players that we have in this organization, the most talented players, are going to be given the opportunity to play."

Tweet from @Marlins: Camp is now in session. #MarlinsST pic.twitter.com/c6MiAKkbOl

Preparing for pitch clock
As part of pace-of-play initiatives, MLB is in the process of experimenting with a pitch clock, which if implemented will be 20 seconds.

In anticipation of a clock eventually being part of the game, the Marlins are taking measures now to get their pitchers in the habit of establishing a quick tempo. Actually, the organization is preaching to its pitchers to not delay between pitches.

"From a pitching standpoint, we want our pitchers to control tempo," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "We want them to keep a tempo when they're on the mound. To work aggressively toward disrupting the timing and the rhythm of those in the batters' box.

"Whenever that rule comes down, we'll be ready and willing to make it work. Just from a pitching standpoint, our pitchers work with tempo. They understand that that's part of keeping pressure on the opposing team. Working fast. Working crisply. Staying on the dirt and keeping the pressure. From that standpoint, it won't be an issue for us."

Position to watch
Martin Prado was working at first base on the first day of full-squad practice. The organization has already announced its plan to use Brian Anderson at third base, putting Prado in position to split time at first base.

Left-handed-hitting Neil Walker is a candidate to be the regular at first, or at least in a platoon situation with Prado.

On Monday, Prado, Peter O'Brien and Garrett Cooper worked at first base, with Anderson and Walker seeing time at third base.

Up next
Full-squad workouts continue on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. ET at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex. They're open to the public.

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

Miami Marlins, Victor Victor Mesa

Marlins introduce Posada on Day 1 of workouts

Former Yankees catcher, four-time champ joins staff as special adviser
MLB.com

JUPITER, Fla. -- Full-squad workouts began for the Marlins on Monday afternoon, and it was an opportunity for organization to introduce one of its newest administrative additions.

Jorge Posada, the five-time All-Star catcher and four-time World Series champion with the Yankees, is now a special adviser to baseball operations under Marlins chief executive officer Derek Jeter.

JUPITER, Fla. -- Full-squad workouts began for the Marlins on Monday afternoon, and it was an opportunity for organization to introduce one of its newest administrative additions.

Jorge Posada, the five-time All-Star catcher and four-time World Series champion with the Yankees, is now a special adviser to baseball operations under Marlins chief executive officer Derek Jeter.

A Miami resident, Posada is a long-time close friend of Jeter, with the two coming up together through the Yankees' system under legendary owner George Steinbrenner. In his new role, Posada will provide insight and expertise in everything from player meetings to on-field instruction.

"He's going to add a lot of value," Jeter said. "He's going to add a lot of value to our player-development system."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Posada spent his entire 17-year big league career -- from 1995-2011 -- with the Yankees. And he has a close relationship with Marlins vice president of player development and scouting, Gary Denbo.

"He's been with Gary for a long time," Jeter said. "He knows Gary very well. We look forward to him having the opportunity to share some of his experiences with the young guys coming up."

The Marlins have a youthful squad, and ownership is building the foundation from the Minor Leagues on up.

"I think that special adviser role is pretty open, in terms of how you utilize the strengths of that individual," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "I would say you check all of the above boxes with Jorge, because we're going to use him every way possible to impact our organization."

Posada is the latest in a long line of former Yankees now with the Marlins.

"I wouldn't say, it's a Yankees feel," Posada said. "I'd say this organization itself is moving in the right direction. In the meeting today, they were talking about we're going to compete, and we're going to do everything we can to play the game the way it's supposed to be played."

Surrounding young athletes with high-character players from championship programs can be an important step in developing players.

The Marlins are in their second year of a rebuild process that will take time, but they are committed to put together a first-rate organization the right way.

Posada has plenty of experiences players can draw from.

"I'm coming from an organization that has valued [former] players," Jeter said. "I was always sort of a sponge for knowledge when I was younger.

"We had a particular mindset when we were coming up through our organization. Mr. Steinbrenner expected you to win every game you played. He didn't care if you were in the Minor Leagues or the Major Leagues; it was a mentality. I think we grew up with that environment, and we can share those experiences with the players."

Posada has lived in Miami since 2010, and the 47-year-old says the time is right to get back into the game in some capacity.

"I do want to get back into the game," Posada said. "I do want to help out. I want to be part of this organization moving forward, and look forward to things that I want to do."

Posada will be around the big league club, but is expected to spend a majority of his time with the Minor Leaguers. Miami has some promising catching prospects in Will Banfield (No. 9 in the organization per MLB Pipeline) and Nick Fortes, who promise to benefit by using Posada as a sounding board.

Banfield was a Competitive Balance Round B selection in the 2018 Draft and Fortes was taken in the fourth round.

"The players have to have their own experiences," Jeter said. "But I think just having that knowledge and being able to share that wisdom, so to speak, of what we've gone through as individual players, and what we've gone through from the team standpoint.

"Just for our players to have access to information like that, I think, is extremely important."

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

Miami Marlins

Top prospect Sixto part of package for Realmuto

Marlins acquire Sanchez, C Alfaro, LHP Stewart, int'l money from Phils
MLB.com

MIAMI -- After months of exploring countless trade scenarios with more than a dozen teams, the Marlins' best fit for All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto turned out to be the division-rival Phillies.

On Thursday, the clubs announced a deal that sent Realmuto to Philadelphia for catcher Jorge Alfaro, pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez, Minor League left-hander Will Stewart and $250,000 international bonus pool money.

MIAMI -- After months of exploring countless trade scenarios with more than a dozen teams, the Marlins' best fit for All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto turned out to be the division-rival Phillies.

On Thursday, the clubs announced a deal that sent Realmuto to Philadelphia for catcher Jorge Alfaro, pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez, Minor League left-hander Will Stewart and $250,000 international bonus pool money.

The deal brings closure to one of the most talked about potential trade pieces in years. The entire offseason was consumed with where Realmuto may wind up, and he was finally dealt six days before pitcher and catcher workouts begin for the Marlins.

"Ultimately, as the talks intensified with Philadelphia, we saw the opportunity to turn two years of control of J.T. Realmuto to over 17 years of control, when you think about the five years of Jorge Alfaro, the two front-line starting pitchers in Sixto Sanchez and Will Stewart," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said in a conference call. "And, on top of that, we added to our international bonus pool, in an area we will continue to focus and try to add talent to this organization."

Video: Frisaro on Marlins' return in Realmuto trade

With Spring Training beginning in less than a week, there was urgency to complete a deal. Miami also was motivated to get something done before FanFest, which will be from 3-7 p.m. ET on Saturday at Marlins Park.

All members of the 40-man roster are required to attend FanFest, as are the Minor Leaguers in this week's Captain's Camp. So Alfaro, Sanchez and Stewart are expected to be at Marlins Park on Saturday. (Outfield prospect Victor Victor Mesa is tending to a personal matter and will not be able to attend FanFest. The 22-year-old remains scheduled to report for full-squad workouts on Feb. 18.)

"There was no deadline of any sort that we put on trading J.T. Realmuto," Hill said. "I've been up front at the beginning of the offseason that we didn't have to trade him. We still had control of him for the next two years. Had we gotten to Spring Training, he would have done his job and done what he's done since the day we drafted him back in 2010."

With the deal is done ahead of camp, Alfaro will be able to immediately work with the Miami pitchers.

"The fact that we were able to bring a catcher back just makes the deal that much better in our eyes," Hill said. "We feel like we got a very talented young catcher, and given the timing of this, he gets to start at the beginning of Spring Training and develop that relationship and create the bonds that will allow him to be the best catcher for a very talented, young pitching rotation."

Video: Michael Hill on haul Marlins received for Realmuto

Alfaro, 25, caught 104 games for the Phillies in 2018, hitting 10 home runs while driving in 37 to go with a .262 batting average. He replaces Realmuto as Miami's starting catcher, while Sanchez projects to start off at Double-A Jacksonville and Stewart at Class A Advanced Jupiter.

The trade also removes the final major core piece of its 2017 squad. Last offseason, the club traded Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon.

In return, the Marlins infuse more young talent into an improved farm system.

Sanchez, a 20-year-old right-hander who is rated by MLB Pipeline as the No. 27 overall prospect, becomes Miami's top-ranked prospect.

A native of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, Sanchez was a 2015 international free-agent signee of the Phillies.

The hard-throwing right-hander was a Florida State League All-Star in 2018, posting a 4-3 record with a 2.51 ERA in 46 2/3 innings at Class A Advanced Clearwater. Sanchez's season was cut short due to right elbow inflammation, and he did not participate in the Arizona Fall League due to a sore collarbone.

Sanchez, who is not being added to the 40-man roster, is healthy and ready to go for the start of Spring Training. He will be in Minor League camp at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla.

"He's 20 years old. He throws 100 mph," Hill said. "So there is going to be inherent risk with everyone who throws the ball that hard. But when it was all said and done, we were extremely comfortable with his medicals. We couldn't be happier to add that type of talent to our pitching stable."

Tweet from @Marlins: See Sixto ring 'em up. pic.twitter.com/N2o0vtUerS

Realmuto, who turns 28 next month, was an All-Star for the first time in 2018. In a breakthrough season, he batted .277 and established career highs in home runs (21) and RBIs (74) on a club that lost 98 games.

Eligible for free agency after the 2020 season, Realmuto signed for $5.9 million in 2019 to avoid arbitration in his second year of eligibility.

The Marlins entered the offseason with the hope of signing arguably the Majors' best catcher to an extension. But shortly after the World Series ended, Realmuto's agent, Jeff Berry of CAA Sports, publicly stated that his client was not interested and hoped to be traded.

In the past couple of weeks, trade talks heated up with a handful of clubs. Most recently, the Reds and Padres were among the most aggressive, with the Dodgers, Rays and Braves in the mix.

Stewart, 21, is from Huntsville, Ala., and was a 20th-rounder of the Phillies in 2015. Last season, he went 8-1 with a 2.06 ERA in 20 starts, with 90 strikeouts in 113 2/3 innings.

"There were a number of suitors that surfaced over the course of the offseason," Hill said. "Really, we just entertained deals, and talked with a number of different teams, pretty much all offseason. We never really lowered, in our minds, what we felt was fair value for J.T."

Tweet from @Marlins: Stewart in action. ������ pic.twitter.com/sJmnLddqb9

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

Miami Marlins, Jorge Alfaro, J.T. Realmuto, Sixto Sanchez, Will Stewart

Inbox: Will Walker signing affect Castro's future?

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

What is Starlin Castro's future with the Marlins now that Neil Walker has been signed?
-- @Athletics89, via Twitter

Nothing really changes for Castro, at least for the first half of 2019. The four-time All-Star is expected to be the Marlins' everyday second baseman. But Walker is there to fill in if Castro needs a day off. I anticipate Walker will play a lot at first base, as well as getting some time at second base and third when necessary. Walker also can fill in at either outfield corner spot.

What is Starlin Castro's future with the Marlins now that Neil Walker has been signed?
-- @Athletics89, via Twitter

Nothing really changes for Castro, at least for the first half of 2019. The four-time All-Star is expected to be the Marlins' everyday second baseman. But Walker is there to fill in if Castro needs a day off. I anticipate Walker will play a lot at first base, as well as getting some time at second base and third when necessary. Walker also can fill in at either outfield corner spot.

:: Submit a question to the Marlins Inbox ::

Castro, who is making $11 million this year, is a potential trade candidate around midseason. Because of his salary, he didn't have much trade value this offseason. But if Castro has a good year, closer to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, he could draw trade interest. At that point, more clubs might be willing to acquire Castro, because they then could be on the hook for roughly half his salary, plus a $1 million buyout, if they don't exercise his $16 million club option for 2020.

Walker is making $2 million, and he is a nice pickup because of his versatility.

Will the Marlins sign a veteran free-agent outfielder or stick with in-house options?
-- @EspoBoomin, via Twitter

Once the J.T. Realmuto trade saga is over, I wouldn't be surprised if the Marlins went after a veteran outfielder. To me, it makes sense to explore signing Carlos Gonzalez, who would be a nice veteran addition as a corner outfielder. The Rockies reportedly are interested in bringing back Gonzalez.

Miami, obviously, has internal options, such as prospect Monte Harrison. But he's likely to open the season at Triple-A New Orleans. For the start of the season, there's definitely question marks in the outfield.

Do you think Harrison and Isan Diaz will be called up to the Marlins this year? If so, what month do you think it will happen?
-- @TDup25, via Twitter

I feel both Harrison and Diaz have a legitimate shot to be in the Majors at some point, but it is up to them to determine if they're ready. Harrison made strides with a refined approach in the Arizona Fall League, where he made plenty of consistent hard contact. But he still struck out 215 times at Double-A Jacksonville last year. So if Harrison continues to show improvement, a midseason callup is possible. I would think June or July at the earliest for him. Diaz, who reached Triple-A New Orleans last year, is a left-handed hitter with power potential. He probably joins Harrison at New Orleans to start the season. If Diaz performs, he will be someone to watch for, especially if Castro is traded by July.

Is there a method to the madness of designating for assignment reliever Nick Wittgren? He shows lots of promise and is coming off a good year with good peripherals and has four years of control.
-- @Noahdevine, via Twitter

It appears Wittgren got caught up in the numbers, because the Marlins had to create room on their 40-man roster for Walker, who officially signed on Tuesday. You are correct that Wittgren has shown plenty of promise at the big league level. I wouldn't be surprised if a trade is being worked out. Remember, Wittgren had a minor procedure on his right elbow before the 2018 season, and he battled through that. I think Miami has some internal candidates who are getting closer to being big league ready, and Wittgren was the choice to let go.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the direction of Derek Jeter's Marlins. Is this franchise moving in the right direction, or are we simply rebuilding for another dismantling?
-- @dsweeneyjr, via Twitter

When the ownership group, headed by Bruce Sherman and Jeter, purchased the club, it pledged to build an organization from the bottom on up. The front office has been focused primarily on restocking a depleted farm system, which it continues to do, and is making strides in that direction. The Marlins also have spent a lot of resources improving the Minor League facilities, including their academy in the Dominican Republic. Another offseason project includes numerous enhancements to Marlins Park. Much of what they have done this offseason has not been focused on traditional player moves that impact the Major League club.

I anticipate that the Marlins will be more active in free agency for higher-priced players a year from now . It's important to note that the organization has been dealing with revenue issues for a long time. Attendance -- even with Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and others -- ranked in the bottom five in the Majors. The current TV contract expires in 2020, but I wouldn't be surprised if a new deal is in place before then. That deal could bump the local TV contract from around $18 million a season to $80 million.

It's all part of a broader plan to strengthen the entire organization, while infusing as much talent as possible to all levels. The whole process requires patience. Even if 2019 is another 95-plus loss season, as long as the Marlins continue to make the right decisions in drafting and player development, fortunes on the field can swing as soon as '20.

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

Miami Marlins, Starlin Castro, Isan Diaz, Monte Harrison, Nick Wittgren

Around the Horn: Outfield spots up for grabs

MLB.com

Marlins pitchers and catchers start Spring Training with their first workouts on Feb. 13, and position players follow on Feb. 18. With Spring Training a little more than two weeks away, Marlins.com is going around the horn with a series of position-by-position breakdowns leading into camp. Up next: Outfield.

MIAMI -- At least two starting outfield jobs will be up for grabs when the Marlins open Spring Training next month.

Marlins pitchers and catchers start Spring Training with their first workouts on Feb. 13, and position players follow on Feb. 18. With Spring Training a little more than two weeks away, Marlins.com is going around the horn with a series of position-by-position breakdowns leading into camp. Up next: Outfield.

MIAMI -- At least two starting outfield jobs will be up for grabs when the Marlins open Spring Training next month.

While there's no shortage of candidates in camp, there are few guarantees as to who will start or even make the Opening Day roster.

Around the Horn: Bullpen | Infield | Rotation

MLB.com sizes up the options, who may have the inside edge and which prospects may fit into the equation as the season progresses.

Make or break time for Brinson?
None of the three starting outfield spots are set, but center fielder Lewis Brinson might be the closest to a sure bet. Still, the 24-year-old will have to earn it.

Brinson was given every opportunity as a rookie in 2018, and the Coral Springs, Fla., native experienced his growing pains. He batted .199 with 11 home runs and 42 RBIs in 109 games and missed about two months with a bruised right hip.

Miami may not show as much patience in 2019, so Spring Training will be crucial for Brinson.

What's right for Anderson?
After finishing fourth in the 2018 National League Rookie of the Year Award voting, Brian Anderson is a big part of the club's core. There's no question Anderson will be a middle-of-the-order candidate. It's less clear where will he play.

A natural third baseman, Anderson appeared in 91 games in right field a year ago, compared to 71 at the hot corner. His versatility is a luxury.

Anderson, 25, may wind up in right field if another option isn't available. The health of Martin Prado may also be a factor. Prado has dealt with hamstring, knee and oblique injuries the past two seasons. If healthy, Prado could be at third base, with Anderson in right. Otherwise, Anderson could be back in the infield at the hot corner.

Video: Brian Anderson brings versatile skills to the Marlins

The "Dean Machine"
Miami's organizational position player of the year award winner last year, Austin Dean earned his big league promotion after being a hits machine at Double-A Jacksonville and Triple-A New Orleans. At the two levels, Dean combined to hit .345/.410/.511 with 12 home runs and 68 RBIs.

At the end of 2018, Dean received most of the playing time in left field. In a small sample size, Dean experienced some struggles, hitting .221/.279/.363, but also showed some promise with four home runs and 14 RBIs in 34 big league games. As the roster is currently constructed, the 25-year-old might have the inside edge to start in left field.

Video: CIN@MIA: Dean belts a 2-run homer to left field

Backup plans
Due to injuries, the Marlins promoted speedster Magneuris Sierra from Triple-A to the big leagues, perhaps too soon. The 22-year-old projects to start off in the Minors. Additionally, two of the corner outfield candidates also may wind up being the club's first basemen. Peter O'Brien and Garrett Cooper could both make the club because they are potential right-handed power hitters who can play first base, left and right field. O'Brien helps his value because he is an emergency third catcher option.

Video: Denbo on O'Brien, Cooper attending hitter's camp

Prospects on the rise
Ranked by MLB Pipeline as Miami's No. 2 prospect, Monte Harrison would improve his stock with a strong Spring Training. A five-tool talent, Harrison has 20-plus home run and 20-plus stolen base potential. An issue last year was making consistent contact at Double-A, where he struck out 215 times. Harrison did homer 19 times and steal 28 bases. The 23-year-old showed improvement in the Arizona Fall League. If he starts off at New Orleans, as expected, a midseason callup is possible.

Video: Harrison, Denbo on Harrison's Fall League improvement

ETA for Victor Victor Mesa
Rated No. 99 on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 list, Mesa will be the biggest mystery in camp. Mesa and his younger brother, Victor Mesa Jr., were international free-agent signings by Miami in October. Mesa, 22, will be in camp as a non-roster invitee. Because he hasn't had much game experience since defecting from Cuba last year, the Marlins will take things slowly with him. Mesa may open at Class A Advanced Jupiter, and he could get promoted quickly to Double-A as soon as he shows he's ready.

Video: Top Prospects: Victor Victor Mesa, OF, Marlins

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

Miami Marlins, Brian Anderson, Lewis Brinson, Garrett Cooper, Austin Dean, Monte Harrison, Victor Victor Mesa, Peter O'Brien, Magneuris Sierra

Marlins add prospect Neidert, 10 others as NRIs

Miami announces Spring Training broadcast schedule
MLB.com

MIAMI -- Spring Training will provide the Marlins' coaching staff and front office with an opportunity to check out some of the organization's top prospects not currently on the 40-man roster.

Right-handers Nick Neidert, Zac Gallen, Robert Dugger and Tommy Eveld are among 11 new non-roster invitees who will be with the big league club when pitchers and catchers' workouts begin on Feb. 13 at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla.

MIAMI -- Spring Training will provide the Marlins' coaching staff and front office with an opportunity to check out some of the organization's top prospects not currently on the 40-man roster.

Right-handers Nick Neidert, Zac Gallen, Robert Dugger and Tommy Eveld are among 11 new non-roster invitees who will be with the big league club when pitchers and catchers' workouts begin on Feb. 13 at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla.

Miami also announced the Minor League signings of right-hander Hector Noesi and catcher Santiago Chavez.

Rounding out the latest list of NRIs are right-handers Brett Graves and Ben Meyer, lefty Dylan Lee, infielder Yadiel Rivera and outfielder Brian Miller.

Neidert is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Marlins' No. 4 prospect, Miller is rated No. 12 and Gallen is No. 20.

Video: Miller on his big game vs. Glendale in Fall League

Eveld, a hard-throwing right-hander who participated in the Arizona Fall League, was acquired from the D-backs last July for reliever Brad Ziegler. Neidert and Dugger were acquired by the Marlins from the Mariners in December 2017 as part of the Dee Gordon trade.

Neidert, 22, impressed at Double-A Jacksonville in 2018, posting a 12-7 record with a 3.24 ERA. The right-hander is projected to open the season at Triple-A New Orleans.

Gallen was part of the Marcell Ozuna trade with the Cardinals in December 2017. The 23-year-old spent all of 2018 at Triple-A, and he went 8-9 with a 3.65 ERA in 25 starts.

Miller, 23, was the Marlins' Competitive Balance Round A selection in 2017, and the former University of North Carolina standout combined to hit .295 at Class A Advanced Jupiter and Jacksonville last year.

The Marlins now have 25 non-roster invitees slated to attend big league camp.

Additionally, the organization announced its broadcast schedule for Spring Training, which includes seven games on Fox Sports Florida:

• Feb. 23 vs. Cardinals
• Feb. 25 @ Rays
• March 2 @ St. Louis
• March 17 vs. Cardinals
• March 19 vs. Mets
• March 20 @ Cardinals
• March 24 @ Cardinals

The Marlins' English-language flagship station, 940 AM WINZ, will broadcast 15 games, while the Spanish-language flagship, WAQI 710 AM, will broadcast 10. An additional 14 games will be streamed on MLB.com.

Twenty-nine of Miami's 30 Spring Training games will be broadcast, the exception being a split-squad game against the Astros at their Spring Training complex, The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, on March 6.

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

Miami Marlins

Top prospect Mesa making strong impression

Nine Minor Leaguers taking part in three-day hitting camp
MLB.com

JUPITER, Fla. -- After months of training and conditioning, Marlins top prospect Victor Victor Mesa took some swings Monday on the main field at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. The 22-year-old outfielder from Cuba made a strong first impression.

Mesa was one of nine hitting prospects invited to a three-day camp, which is being supervised by Gary Denbo, Miami's vice president of player development and scouting.

JUPITER, Fla. -- After months of training and conditioning, Marlins top prospect Victor Victor Mesa took some swings Monday on the main field at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. The 22-year-old outfielder from Cuba made a strong first impression.

Mesa was one of nine hitting prospects invited to a three-day camp, which is being supervised by Gary Denbo, Miami's vice president of player development and scouting.

"He's in great shape," Denbo said of Mesa. "He had a great BP. The tools that he brings to the table are obvious. He's very serious about his work. He's done a lot of work with his trainers. It's obvious the work he's done has prepared him for Spring Training."

Ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Marlins' No. 1 prospect, Mesa was rated as the top international prospect when he signed along with his younger brother, Victor Mesa Jr., in October.

Since joining the Marlins, Mesa and his 17-year-old brother have trained together. But they didn't participate in winter ball, and they haven't seen organized game action since defecting from Cuba.

"I feel very anxious," Mesa said through an interpreter. "After all, what makes a player a player is the game. I'm looking forward to doing that."

Tweet from @VictorMesaRios1: Clutching 🧨🏋���������🤸���������#vmjr10 #thechosenone #justgettinstarted #marlins pic.twitter.com/4s0zHnQAB8

The elder Mesa will be a non-roster invitee when the Marlins open Spring Training with pitchers and catchers workouts on Feb. 13 in Jupiter. Full-squad drills get underway five days later.

The Marlins plan on giving Mesa plenty of at-bats in the spring. To expedite the process, Mesa -- as well as other hitters -- will spend time in the bullpen tracking pitches when they aren't playing.

When the season opens, Mesa likely will start off either at Class A Advanced Jupiter or Double-A Jacksonville.

Mesa understands he carries high expectations, especially being a promising star from Cuba living in Miami, which has a large Cuban population.

"I enjoy the Cuban community, it's one of the things I enjoy the most," Mesa said of South Florida. "But also I feel the pressure. They're expecting a lot from me. I want to work with the Marlins' organization, work and try to make everything they expect from me happen."

Video: Frisaro on meaning of Marlins signing Mesa brothers

Because this is his first season of professional baseball in the United States, and the fact he is not on the 40-man roster, Mesa isn't expected to be with the Marlins on Opening Day. Still, it will be a big Spring Training for him to showcase his talents to the organization and big league staff.

"There is great expectations, but I'm just going to focus on working hard, getting better," Mesa said. "I'm going to start knowing everybody in the organization, and going from there."

Among the hitting prospects at the camp were Mesa, Mesa Jr., No. 2 prospect Monte Harrison, infielders Joe Dunand (No. 23), James Nelson (No. 15), Justin Twine and Riley Mahan (No. 26) and outfielders Corey Bird and Milton Smith Jr.

Marlins hitting coach Mike Pagliarulo, assistant hitting coach Jeff Livesey and new Minor League hitting coordinator Eric Duncan are among the instructors at the camp.

This marks the third camp for hitters the Marlins have held in the offseason but the first with the Mesa brothers in attendance.

The elder Mesa is wearing No. 32, the number his father, Victor Mesa Sr., wore during his playing days in Cuba.

"He's got speed. He can fly in the outfield," Denbo said. "His defensive abilities are very good. His throwing arm is very good. We think he's going to hit for a high average. What remains to be seen is if he hits for power or not.

"With that being said, with all that tool package, he's got limited experience in professional baseball. So he's got some work to do. It isn't easy to get to the Major League level. It's even more difficult to stay at the Major League level."

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

Miami Marlins, Victor Victor Mesa

Inbox: Does Guzman project as closer or starter?

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

Do you think Jorge Guzman can be a future closer for the Marlins? Or do you prefer him to be a starter?
-- @antonioadolfo6

That's an easy one. Of course, the preference is for Guzman to be a starter. But if he isn't able to command his fastball to both sides of the plate, then his future may ultimately be as a reliever. The Marlins acquired Guzman, their No. 6 prospect per MLB Pipeline, from the Yankees in December 2017 as part of the Giancarlo Stanton trade.

Do you think Jorge Guzman can be a future closer for the Marlins? Or do you prefer him to be a starter?
-- @antonioadolfo6

That's an easy one. Of course, the preference is for Guzman to be a starter. But if he isn't able to command his fastball to both sides of the plate, then his future may ultimately be as a reliever. The Marlins acquired Guzman, their No. 6 prospect per MLB Pipeline, from the Yankees in December 2017 as part of the Giancarlo Stanton trade.

The flamethrower spent the entire 2018 season at Class A Advanced Jupiter, where his velocity maxed at 101 mph. Guzman is a physical presence, who also is polishing up his slider and changeup. The Marlins added the 22-year-old right-hander to their 40-man roster in the offseason, and he is expected to start off at Double-A Jacksonville, where he will be in the rotation. This season will give a better indication of whether Guzman profiles as a future option for the rotation. If he moves to the bullpen, whether he becomes a closer or not will depend on how effective he is at missing bats. To close, you need swing-and-miss pitches.

:: Submit a question to the Marlins Inbox ::

Which teams are still interested in Marlins All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto?
-- @nynfa711

The landscape changed in recent days with Yasmani Grandal reportedly reaching agreement on a one-year deal with the Brewers. With Grandal no longer an option to return, the Dodgers are in the market for a front-line catcher, and they have the prospects and need to make a strong push for Realmuto. I'm hearing, in no particular order, the Dodgers, Braves, Astros, Padres, Reds and Rays have expressed the most interest in Realmuto. The Marlins' firm stance has not changed. They seek an overpay situation: a top prospect and more.

Realmuto agreed to a $5.9 million deal in his second season of arbitration, which is another reason the Marlins have insisted they have no urgency to deal their best player. Along with Realmuto, right-handers Jose Urena and Dan Straily, lefty Adam Conley and infielder Miguel Rojas avoided arbitration.

It's also important to note that if Miami does trade Realmuto, the club would then have to address its catcher situation by finding another option who has big league experience to work with a young pitching staff.

Do you think Starlin Castro will get traded this offseason to make room for Isan Diaz?
-- @josecuba305

The Marlins are open to trading Castro, but the second-base market had been slow moving until recent reports regarding Brian Dozier, Jed Lowrie and DJ LeMahieu. Teams also are reluctant to take on the $11 million Castro will make this season, and his deal has a club option of $16 million for 2020, with a $1 million buyout. The July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline may realistically be a time when teams are more receptive to trading for Castro. As for Diaz, the 22-year-old left-handed hitter is considered the second baseman of the future. I suspect Diaz will open at Triple-A New Orleans, and how he performs will also determine how quickly he reaches the big leagues. If Diaz shows he can hit, Miami would find a place for its No. 9 prospect to play in the big leagues. He did play some third base in the offseason, but the hope is for him to be at second.

What are your thoughts on one of the Marlins' newest additions, Rosell Herrera? Do you think he makes the Opening Day roster?
-- @kevinmiller64__

The Marlins claimed Herrera off waivers from the Royals recently and added him to the 40-man roster, which gives him somewhat of an advantage to make the Opening Day roster, most likely as a utility player. The 26-year-old switch-hitter saw action in the big leagues in 2018 with the Reds and Royals, combining to hit .234/.286/.317. Herrera can play all three outfield positions, second base and third base. He came up as a shortstop and has good speed, but Herrera isn't a power threat..

Besides Realmuto, are there any possible trade candidates on this roster before the start of the season?
-- @ProfessorXXX88

Realmuto has taken up so much of the Marlins' offseason, and whether he stays or goes impacts other positions. For instance, Miami may be more inclined to trade for a first baseman rather than sign a free agent on what would most likely be a one-year deal.

Marlins' trade candidates not named Realmuto

A pitcher who could be dealt by the Marlins before Spring Training is Straily, the projected No. 2 starter. Clubs have touched base this offseason on Straily, who was in his second year of arbitration eligibility. If something makes sense, Straily could be moved.

A number of teams have checked in on Urena, who was arbitration-eligible for the first time. But Urena may be the closest player Miami has to being untouchable. The way its roster is presently constructed, Urena is a workhorse who can give the club 30 starts and about 180 innings. I could see July as a more likely window for Urena to 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, Starlin Castro, Isan Diaz, Jorge Guzman, Rosell Herrera, J.T. Realmuto, Dan Straily, Jose Urena

Marlins grooming prospect Diaz as 2B of future

MLB.com

MIAMI -- It's no mystery the Marlins are in the market for an impactful left-handed hitter, and the organization just might have a secret weapon lurking in its farm system.

Second baseman Isan Diaz made big strides at the Double-A and Triple-A levels in 2018, and he wrapped up his year by playing winter ball in Puerto Rico. The 22-year-old is ranked by MLB Pipeline as Miami's No. 9 prospect, and the No. 4 second-base prospect overall.

MIAMI -- It's no mystery the Marlins are in the market for an impactful left-handed hitter, and the organization just might have a secret weapon lurking in its farm system.

Second baseman Isan Diaz made big strides at the Double-A and Triple-A levels in 2018, and he wrapped up his year by playing winter ball in Puerto Rico. The 22-year-old is ranked by MLB Pipeline as Miami's No. 9 prospect, and the No. 4 second-base prospect overall.

Of all the Marlins' prospects, Diaz is regarded as the closest to being big league ready.

The Marlins consider Diaz their second baseman of the future, and his estimated time of arrival in the big leagues could hinge on how much longer Starlin Castro remains with the organization.

Video: MIA@STL: Diaz slugs a home run to the opposite field

Castro is in the final year of his contract, and the four-time All-Star may be dealt before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Miami is exploring trade options for Castro, but his $11 million salary makes it extremely unlikely that he will be dealt before Spring Training begins on Feb. 13 at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium Complex in Jupiter, Fla.

Diaz played some third base in the offseason, but the Marlins are grooming him as their second baseman. While he is expected to start off at Triple-A New Orleans, reaching the big leagues around midseason is certainly possible.

A native of Puerto Rico, Diaz recently wrapped up winter ball for the Gigantes de Carolina squad, hitting .272/.348/.368 with six doubles, one triple, one home run and 13 RBIs in 33 games.

Acquired from the Brewers in the Christian Yelich trade last January, Diaz opened 2018 at Double-A Jacksonville before a promotion to New Orleans.

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

In 119 Minor League games, his slash line was .232/.340/.399 with 23 doubles, five triples, 13 homers and 56 RBIs. At Double-A, his numbers were .245/.365/.418 with 19 doubles, one triple, 10 homers and 42 RBIs. There were some growing pains at New Orleans, where his slash line was .204/.281/.358 with three homers and 14 RBIs in 36 games.

In Diaz, the Marlins feel they have a second baseman with 20-homer power, and he has shown the ability to hit the ball hard to all fields. According to Miami's internal analytics, 9 percent of the balls Diaz put in play in the Minors in 2018 had an exit velocity of at least 105 mph. The MLB average is 7 percent.

More than just the numbers, the Marlins didn't hesitate to expose Diaz to higher-level pitching, and he saw more of it in the offseason.

When you add in 33 games in the Puerto Rican Winter League, Diaz appeared in 152 total contests, with 545 combined at-bats. That gave Diaz a sampling of what the rigors would be like over a full Major League season. Additionally, Diaz participated in a tournament with the Puerto Rican national team.

Tweet from @diaz_isan: #NewProfilePic pic.twitter.com/SYXrTpi8GW

The Marlins are giving Diaz even more preparatory experience before camp begins.

Diaz, outfielder Monte Harrison, the Marlins' second-ranked prospect, and right-hander Jordan Yamamoto (No. 17) have been invited to the Rookie Career Development Program, which is being held this week in Miami.

Prospects from all 30 big league clubs are invited to the annual event that features seminars and guest speakers.

Harrison, like Diaz, is expected to open the season at New Orleans. How quickly he progresses to the big leagues depends on how he continues to refine his approach at the plate, while demonstrating he can make consistent contact.

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

Miami Marlins, Isan Diaz

Inbox: When will Mesa arrive on scene?

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

Last year, the Marlins' rotation was made up mainly of right-handers. Wei-Yin Chen was the only left-handed starter most of the time. Do you envision the Marlins pursuing a left-handed starter in free agency? Who would be a potential candidate? -- @Havana_Casino

You raise an interesting point. Chen indeed is the lone lefty in the projected Opening Day rotation, and Miami doesn't have much lefty starting-pitching depth at its upper levels. Last month, the Marlins traded southpaw Dillon Peters to the Angels for right-handed reliever Tyler Stevens.

Last year, the Marlins' rotation was made up mainly of right-handers. Wei-Yin Chen was the only left-handed starter most of the time. Do you envision the Marlins pursuing a left-handed starter in free agency? Who would be a potential candidate? -- @Havana_Casino

You raise an interesting point. Chen indeed is the lone lefty in the projected Opening Day rotation, and Miami doesn't have much lefty starting-pitching depth at its upper levels. Last month, the Marlins traded southpaw Dillon Peters to the Angels for right-handed reliever Tyler Stevens.

:: Submit a question to the Marlins Inbox ::

I don't anticipate Miami being active in free agency looking for a left-handed starter, unless it is a non-roster invitee situation. But keep this in mind, Caleb Smith is returning from surgery to repair a torn left pectoral muscle. Smith is expected to take it slow early in Spring Training, and he may not be completely ready for Opening Day. If he isn't, and barring any setbacks, Smith could be a second lefty to join the rotation at some point in the first month or two of the season.

Video: MIA@SF: Smith nabs McCutchen with a nice pickoff move

How do you see the Marlins using JT Riddle and Miguel Rojas? Will they platoon, or will one play a different position? -- @jason_beland

Unless the Marlins acquire a shortstop in a trade, I envision more of the same from the Marlins at shortstop. Riddle, 27, has been slowed by injuries in each of his first two seasons. He appeared in 102 games in 2018, after seeing time in 70 games in his rookie ('17) campaign. So this is a critical time for Riddle to show if he can handle the premier position. A year ago, his offseason was hindered by the fact he was recovering from surgery and wasn't able to build up his strength. The club is hopeful Riddle rebounds and provides some production from the position. As for Rojas, you know what you're going to get. He's a true pro, and impresses defensively. Of the two main shortstop candidates, Rojas is more likely to see time at third, second or first.

Video: MIA@NYM: Rojas lays out to rob Frazier of a hit

Considering all the moves made by the Marlins over the past year, do you feel the farm system is much more respectable, and do you see a bright future? -- @mpowis3

Without question, the system is deeper, and has added layers of talent -- ranging from Class A ball through Triple-A. Dating back to 2017, the Marlins have made more than 15 trades that brought in more than 30 players. Of that group, 15 are ranked by MLB Pipeline on Miami's Top 30 prospects list. What the organization doesn't appear to have right now is that marquee "can't miss" talent like Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez when they were breaking into pro ball. But Miami has an influx of very talented athletes. As an organization, it is profiling athletes who can play up the middle and move to the corner spots, if necessary. Keep in mind, many players in the system are considered to have "first-round talent." Not all went in the first round, but players like international signings Victor Victor Mesa and his brother, Victor Mesa Jr., are regarded as players who would have first-round talent. Lewis Brinson was a first-rounder. Yes, he struggled in his first full big league season, but he has elite athleticism and talent.

Video: Frisaro on meaning of Marlins signing Mesa brothers

What are the odds that Victor Victor Mesa cracks the Opening Day roster? If he doesn't, where will he start off -- Double-A or Triple-A? -- @AidanWagner9

No one realistically expects Mesa, who signed in October, to be big league ready from Day 1. Remember, he isn't yet on the 40-man roster. The 22-year-old prospect from Cuba has been spending his offseason training with his younger brother, Victor Mesa Jr., and he hasn't seen much game action in about a year. In terms of his development timeline, he is considered to be at the Double-A level, but I wouldn't be surprised if he starts off at Class A Advanced Jupiter to get his timing down, and then depending on how he performs, he could get promoted to Double-A. The athleticism and tools are very impressive. One scout clocked one of his throws from the outfield at a workout at 93 mph. There are some questions as to if he will hit. That's where development will play a part. Clearly, Mesa will be one of the most followed players in Spring Training.

What is the likelihood we will see a reunion with Logan Morrison? -- @welch_04

Morrison, of course, was drafted by Miami and played with the organization from 2010-13. Now 31, Morrison would fit what Miami is looking for, a left-handed-hitting first baseman. Whether he is the top priority remains to be seen. Morrison struggled last year with the Twins. As a free agent, he may be a candidate to sign in January.

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

Miami Marlins, Victor Victor Mesa

Marlins select RHP Ferrell in Rule 5 Draft

Miami loses outfield prospect Lee in Triple-A phase
MLB.com

LAS VEGAS -- Utilizing all avenues to acquire new talent, the Marlins selected right-hander Riley Ferrell from the Astros in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday.

The Rule 5 Draft is the last order of business at the Winter Meetings, which wrapped up with Miami not completing any significant trades. The Marlins also didn't lose any players off their Triple-A roster in the MLB phase, which means lefty reliever McKenzie Mills will remain with New Orleans. In the Triple-A phase, Miami lost Double-A outfielder Braxton Lee, who was taken by the Mets.

LAS VEGAS -- Utilizing all avenues to acquire new talent, the Marlins selected right-hander Riley Ferrell from the Astros in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday.

The Rule 5 Draft is the last order of business at the Winter Meetings, which wrapped up with Miami not completing any significant trades. The Marlins also didn't lose any players off their Triple-A roster in the MLB phase, which means lefty reliever McKenzie Mills will remain with New Orleans. In the Triple-A phase, Miami lost Double-A outfielder Braxton Lee, who was taken by the Mets.

In Ferrell, the Marlins envision a candidate who will get an immediate chance to pitch in high-leverage innings in the big leagues. The Astros selected the right-hander in the third round of the 2015 Draft out of Texas Christian University.

"He is somebody we had followed out of the Draft," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "He had a history of pitching in high-leverage innings in college and has had success since he's come into professional ball. As we looked at options for us in the Rule 5 Draft, we think we will have opportunity in bullpen."

Tweet from @Marlins: With the fourth pick in the MLB phase of the 2018 Rule 5 Draft, the Miami Marlins selected RHP Riley Ferrell from the Houston Astros organization. Welcome to Miami, Riley! #OurColores pic.twitter.com/eYLWVh9yVh

The cost to take players in the MLB phase is $100,000.

Ferrell must spend the season on Miami's big league roster, unless he is on the disabled list.

MLB Pipeline ranked the 25-year-old reliever as the Astros' No. 17 prospect. He split time in 2018 at the Double-A and Triple-A levels, combining for a 4-3 record with a 4.53 ERA in 43 games. In 51 2/3 innings, Ferrell struck out 67 and walked 34. His fastball has been in the 95-99 mph range, and he mixes in a power slider.

Ferrell enjoyed better success at Double-A, where he posted a 1.90 ERA in 21 appearances. At Triple-A, his ERA jumped to 6.75.

A year ago, Miami made two selections in the MLB phase, taking right-hander Elieser Hernandez from the Astros and right-hander Brett Graves from the A's. Both spent the entire season with the Marlins.

Video: WSH@MIA: Hernandez freezes Turner, strands bases full

On Monday, the Marlins outrighted Graves to Triple-A, along with infielder Yadiel Rivera, to reduce the club's 40-man roster to 38.

The Marlins actually have another player on their 40-man roster who is under Rule 5 restrictions: hard-throwing right-hander Julian Fernandez, who was claimed off waivers recently from the Giants. He missed all of 2018 due to Tommy John surgery and is not expected to be available until at least June. Because Fernandez was a Rule 5 Draft selection a year ago for San Francisco, he still is subjected to Rule 5 guidelines.

Mills, acquired from the Phillies in August for Justin Bour, was left unprotected on the 40-man roster. He is listed as the club's No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

History of the Rule 5 Draft

Lee, acquired by Miami in June 2017 from Tampa Bay in the Adeiny Hechavarria deal, was on the Marlins' Opening Day roster in '18. He ranked as Miami's No. 29 prospect.

The emergence of outfield prospect Brian Miller made Lee expendable.

The Marlins have traditionally been active in the Rule 5 Draft, with their most famous selection coming at the 2005 Winter Meetings. That year, they selected Dan Uggla from the D-backs' system, and he became a three-time All-Star second baseman.

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

Miami Marlins, Riley Ferrell, Braxton Lee, McKenzie Mills

Marlins round out roster by adding 7 players

MLB.com

MIAMI -- A year ago, the Marlins overhauled their roster, trading core and All-Star players for coveted prospects. More than 30 new players were brought into the system through trades that dated back to June 2017.

On Tuesday, three of those top-ranked Minor Leaguers moved closer to reaching the big leagues. Outfielder Monte Harrison, right-hander Jorge Guzman and second baseman Isan Diaz were among seven players who had their contracts selected. They are now part of Miami's 40-man roster, which is full.

MIAMI -- A year ago, the Marlins overhauled their roster, trading core and All-Star players for coveted prospects. More than 30 new players were brought into the system through trades that dated back to June 2017.

On Tuesday, three of those top-ranked Minor Leaguers moved closer to reaching the big leagues. Outfielder Monte Harrison, right-hander Jorge Guzman and second baseman Isan Diaz were among seven players who had their contracts selected. They are now part of Miami's 40-man roster, which is full.

Per Pipeline, Harrison is ranked second, Guzman sixth and Diaz ninth. There is a chance of these three could reach the big leagues in 2019.

Marlins Top 30 prospects

Also added to the roster are right-handers Jordan Yamamoto, Jordan Holloway and Kyle Keller, as well as lefty Jose Quijada.

Miami also announced hard-throwing right-hander Julian Fernandez was claimed off waivers from the Giants on Monday. Fernandez, who turns 23 on Dec. 5, is coming off Tommy John surgery, and he missed all of 2018. He will have to spend the entire season either on the active roster or the disabled list to remain in the Marlins' organization.

Miami entered the day with four openings on the 40-man roster, so three corresponding moves were necessary. Outfielder Braxton Lee, right-hander Ben Meyer and lefty Dillon Peters were designated for assignment.

On Tuesday all 30 clubs had to add players eligible for the Rule 5 Draft to their 40-man roster if they wanted to protect them.

The Rule 5 Draft is scheduled for Dec. 13, on the morning of the final day of the Winter Meetings, which begin on Dec. 10 in Las Vegas.

By rule, players first signed at age 18 must be added to 40-man rosters within five seasons or they become eligible to be drafted by other organizations through the Rule 5 process. Players signed at 19 years or older have to be protected within four seasons. Clubs pay $100,000 to select a player in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft. If that player doesn't stay on the 25-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $50,000.

For this year, that means an international or high school Draft pick signed in 2014 -- assuming he was 18 or younger as of June 5 of that year -- has to be protected. A college player taken in the 2015 Draft is in the same position.

With no roster spaces available, the Marlins left unprotected three of their top 30 prospects, according to MLB Pipeline. Infielder Christopher Torres (No. 18), outfielder Brayan Hernandez (No. 26) and left-hander McKenzie Mills (No. 30) are now eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft.

Last year, the Marlins were active in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft, selecting right-handers Elieser Hernandez from the Astros and Brett Graves from the A's.

The Marlins acquired Harrison, Guzman and Diaz through trades last offseason. Harrison and Diaz, along with Yamamoto were part of the Christian Yelich deal with the Brewers.

Guzman was a centerpiece in the Giancarlo Stanton deal with the Yankees.

Harrison spent the season at Double-A Jacksonville, where he batted .240 with 19 home runs and 48 RBIs. The 23-year-old was a standout in the Arizona Fall League, batting .290 with a .383 on-base percentage and 16 RBIs.

Guzman, one of the hardest throwers in the system, spent the season at Class A Advanced Jupiter, where he had a 4.03 ERA in 21 starts, and struck out 101 in 96 innings. With a 100 mph fastball, Guzman is expected to open the season at Double-A.

Diaz advanced from Double-A to Triple-A New Orleans in '18, combining for 13 home runs and 56 RBIs, to go with a slash line of .232/.340/.399.

Fernandez, a native of the Dominican Republic, has had his fastball clocked at 100 mph. At the 2017 Rule 5 Draft, he was selected by the Giants off the Rockies' roster. But in Spring Training, he suffered a UCL tear that required Tommy John surgery on March 29. Fernandez must be on the roster (but he could serve time on the disabled list) for the entire 2019 season.

According to Marlins' data, Fernandez's average fastball velocity in 2017 was 98.4 mph, and he topped at 103 mph.

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

Miami Marlins, Isan Diaz, Jorge Guzman, Monte Harrison

Impactful Harrison making strides in AFL

Miami's No. 2 prospect putting ball in play more consistently
MLB.com

MIAMI -- For Monte Harrison, his raw power, speed and athleticism have always been obvious. The major question about the Marlins outfield prospect is whether he can make enough contact to be truly impactful.

Harrison has provided some answers playing for the Salt River Rafters in the Arizona Fall League. He has been putting the ball in play with more consistency, and the results have been impressive.

MIAMI -- For Monte Harrison, his raw power, speed and athleticism have always been obvious. The major question about the Marlins outfield prospect is whether he can make enough contact to be truly impactful.

Harrison has provided some answers playing for the Salt River Rafters in the Arizona Fall League. He has been putting the ball in play with more consistency, and the results have been impressive.

The 23-year-old is batting .308 with a .403 on-base percentage, two doubles, one triple and 16 RBIs in 17 games. In 65 at-bats, he has struck out 16 times and drawn 10 walks.

Tweet from @wboor: #Marlins prospects also contributing with the bat. Here���s a two-run triple from Monte Harrison. @MLBPipeline pic.twitter.com/7uqyMGEdwi

A power threat, Harrison likely will always deal with swings and misses in his game. It's a matter of how much he can reduce his strikeouts that will tell when he is big league-ready.

Harrison is expected to be added to the Marlins' 40-man roster this offseason, and he will be in Spring Training camp with the Major League club. While making the Opening Day roster may be a long shot, he projects to start off at Triple-A New Orleans. If Harrison performs there, a big league callup is realistic around midseason.

What's encouraging is Harrison is showing positive signs this fall playing in Arizona. One reason is he has adjusted his swing from his 2018 season at Double-A Jacksonville, where he fanned 215 times in 521 at-bats.

Before heading to Arizona, Harrison refined his mechanics while working out at the Marlins' Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla.

Most noticeable is Harrison scrapped the high front leg kick he used during the Double-A season. He has been using more of a front foot pivot as a timing mechanism.

Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill noted that all of the Minor League players were given a personalized plan with objectives to work on in the offseason.

Tweet from @MLBazFallLeague: Sooo, we had some fun today during batting practice: @Team_Harrison3 pic.twitter.com/lDhcOLu9RU

For Harrison, it was pretty straight forward: Put the ball in play more. The data shows that when he does, he can be a force. According to the Marlins' internal metrics, 20 percent of the balls Harrison put in play had an exit velocity of 105 mph or higher. For context, the MLB average is seven percent.

"We have player plans where we look at their areas of improvement and what they need to do to continue to get better and make it to the big leagues," Hill said. "It was no secret that we're trying to cut down on the strikeouts for Monte and get his swing a little more under control so that he could have more contact, and make more impact, and do more damage."

Salt River is the only park in the Arizona Fall League that has Statcast™ readings. In Harrison's home games, 55.6 percent of the balls he has put in play (10 of 18) had an exit velocity of greater than 100 mph. He's 7-for-10 on those struck balls, including a high of 114.6 mph.

Ranked by MLB Pipeline as Miami's No. 2 prospect, Harrison went through a transition year in 2018.

A potential five-tool talent, Harrison was acquired by the Marlins from the Brewers as part of the Christian Yelich trade.

A three-sport standout at Lee's Summit West High School in Missouri, Harrison turned down an opportunity to play football at the University of Nebraska to begin his professional baseball career.

Harrison dealt with injuries in 2015-16 before combining to bat .272/.350/.481 with 21 home runs and 67 RBIs at two levels of Class A ball in '17.

The Marlins kept Harrison at Double-A Jacksonville for the entire 2018 season, where he was refining his swing but using a high front leg kick. Hitting was a work in progress, with Harrison finishing .240/.316/.399 with 19 home runs, 48 RBIs and 28 stolen bases.

Video: Marlins pr