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Young pitchers spur excitement in front office

Hill lauds depth in all levels of Minors
MLB.com

JUPITER, Fla. -- Sandy Alcantara, Nick Neidert, Zac Gallen, Merandy Gonzalez, Pablo Lopez and the list goes on of high-ceiling pitching prospects who have been added to what had been a thin Marlins' system.

Around the organization, the excitement level is high among team executives because they're finally getting to see the collection of promising pitchers throw off the mounds.

JUPITER, Fla. -- Sandy Alcantara, Nick Neidert, Zac Gallen, Merandy Gonzalez, Pablo Lopez and the list goes on of high-ceiling pitching prospects who have been added to what had been a thin Marlins' system.

Around the organization, the excitement level is high among team executives because they're finally getting to see the collection of promising pitchers throw off the mounds.

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"I think you look around the first few days and you see the energy," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "You see the excitement. All of our pitchers and catchers alike, just understand what's in front of them. There's a tremendous opportunity in this organization to be a part of something that is going to be special."

With all their offseason turnover, the Marlins are getting aquainted to their new collection of young talent. Many are unknown names to fans, but within the industry, they're highly coveted. Five pitchers acquired in trades dating back to last July rank on the Marlins' Top 30 prospect list, according to MLB Pipeline.

Alcantara rates No. 3, and he projects as a top of the rotation talent. Neidert, per Pipeline, is the 10th-rated prospect, followed by Gonzalez (13), Gallen (18) and Lopez (30).

"I think the biggest thing you'll see is there's layers of pitching depth now," Hill said. "There's pitchers that we've acquired that will fall right in with our existing inventory of pitching at the A-ball level. We were able to add a number of pitchers who will be a part of the Double-A and Triple-A rotations, and those who will be competing for our Major League rotation."

Of all the pitchers in camp, Alcantara is the most celebrated. The hard-throwing right-hander threw 8 1/3 innings at the big league level with the Cardinals in 2017. The 22-year-old features a fastball, that according to Statcast™, averaged 98.51 mph.

Video: Top Prospects: Sandy Alcantara, RHP, Marlins

Miami acquired Alcantara from St. Louis as part of the Marcell Ozuna trade. Alcantara is competing for an Opening Day rotation spot, but if the club feels he isn't completely ready, he could open at Triple-A New Orleans.

Neidert came to Miami from the Mariners in the Dee Gordon trade in December. Gonzalez was involved in the deal made last July with the Mets for AJ Ramos.

Lopez is a 21-year-old who was part of the David Phelps trade with the Mariners last summer. Lopez may be ranked 30th on the prospect list, but he's already impressing the staff.

As the Marlins build their system from the bottom up, they've made an effort to infuse players into every organizational level, from Class A ball up to Triple-A, and eventually into the big leagues.

Video: Top Prospects: Merandy Gonzalez, RHP, Marlins

"We didn't have depth," Hill said. "I don't think that's a secret. We didn't have upper-level depth. When you don't, it puts you in a tough spot. For us to be built the right way, and to have a sustainable organization, you have to have depth at the Minor League level."

Of the five pitchers, Alcantara and Gonzalez are on the 40-man roster. For all, Spring Training is a showcase, but the organization pledges it will not rush anyone.

"I think everyone, and our coaches included, understands that it's all a process," Hill said. "The goal every day is to try to get better, and to make players better and pitchers better, and there's no shortcuts. I think we understand our inventory and what we have here, and we're extremely excited about the ceilings and the talent that we have in camp. We're going to let it develop at its pace." 

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

Miami Marlins

Marlins handling talented Alcantara with care

22-year-old fireballer was acquired in trade for Ozuna
MLB.com

JUPITER, Fla. -- Watching Sandy Alcantara throw off the mound just once is all the Marlins needed to see they have a potential ace. But at this stage, Miami's staff also recognizes the importance of handling the 22-year-old's development with care.

So, if there are any questions as to whether the rangy right-hander (he's listed at 6-foot-4, 170 pounds) with an upper-90s fastball is completely ready to be a fixture in the rotation, Alcantara may open the season at either Triple-A New Orleans or Double-A Jacksonville. His performance in Spring Training ultimately will decide.

JUPITER, Fla. -- Watching Sandy Alcantara throw off the mound just once is all the Marlins needed to see they have a potential ace. But at this stage, Miami's staff also recognizes the importance of handling the 22-year-old's development with care.

So, if there are any questions as to whether the rangy right-hander (he's listed at 6-foot-4, 170 pounds) with an upper-90s fastball is completely ready to be a fixture in the rotation, Alcantara may open the season at either Triple-A New Orleans or Double-A Jacksonville. His performance in Spring Training ultimately will decide.

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"That's the one thing you never want to get away from," manager Don Mattingly said. "You know there is opportunity here, and you know there's a guy with a lot of talent. But you want him to be good for a long time. So you worry about development first, and for him to be prepared to have success."

Alcantara is the Marlins' No. 3 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. The Dominican native was a centerpiece in the Marcell Ozuna trade with the Cardinals. He debuted as a September callup with St. Louis last year, tossing 8 1/3 innings of relief.

"I was able to pitch in September in the big leagues," Alcantara said in Spanish. "I've got to work at it to get back up here and take advantage whenever they give me the ball."

Video: STL@CHC: Alcantara K's Happ to strike out the side

Alcantara's first bullpen session was on Wednesday, Miami's first day of Spring Training, and he's expected back on the mound on Friday. Alcantara's four-seam fastball averaged 98.21 mph last year, well above the MLB average of 93.21 mph. The Marlins envision him as a starter, and if he can command his breaking pitches, he projects as a top-of-the-rotation-type talent.

"The experiences I got from last year told me I need to keep working on my breaking pitches, the command on my breaking pitches," Alcantara said. "And I've got to attack the hitters with my fastball."

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Mattingly says the only two locks for the Marlins' rotation are Dan Straily and Jose Urena, though a third spot also could be relatively secure: Mattingly noted on Thursday that left-hander Jarlin Garcia, who pitched in relief last year, is being stretched out to start. Alcantara is one of about 10 candidates to fill out the rotation.

Pitching coach Juan Nieves studied video of Alcantara in the offseason, and early in camp, he will be monitoring each throwing session. But there won't be any rush to push Alcantara if he's not completely ready.

"I think we're in a situation where we must not have to speed up any processes," Nieves said. "It takes time."

The Marlins learned the hard way a few years ago with Brad Hand, who ran out of options and was let go. The Padres picked him up, and the left-hander became an All-Star closer last year.

"When you speed up guys to the big leagues, you pay the consequences either way," Nieves said. "Either guys that leave, because options are out, or guys who don't grow in the big leagues and aren't able to stay or become solid players or pitchers in the big leagues. So, we're going to try. I'm sure everything will be on time."

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

Prospect Harrison working to be 5-tool player

MLB.com

MIAMI -- A change of scenery hasn't swayed outfield prospect Monte Harrison's enthusiasm or expectations about being with the Marlins.

Acquired from the Brewers in late January as part of the Christian Yelich trade, Harrison is one of Miami's most talented, young players. According to MLB Pipeline, the 22-year-old is the organization's No. 2 rated prospect and 71st on Pipeline's Top 100 list.

MIAMI -- A change of scenery hasn't swayed outfield prospect Monte Harrison's enthusiasm or expectations about being with the Marlins.

Acquired from the Brewers in late January as part of the Christian Yelich trade, Harrison is one of Miami's most talented, young players. According to MLB Pipeline, the 22-year-old is the organization's No. 2 rated prospect and 71st on Pipeline's Top 100 list.

At 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, Harrison has the skill set to develop into a middle-of-the-order threat.

"I'm trying to be a five-tool guy," Harrison said in a phone interview with MLB.com. "I'm trying to put every aspect of my tools on display. When I step on the field, I really try to be one of the best players on the field, if not the best player on the field."

Tweet from @Team_Harrison3: 305 ������������������������ Can���t wait to get started with the @Marlins this new journey is going to be a fun one ! Aye y���all bois ready ?!?!😏 @LewisBrinson @diaz_isan @jyamaz21 https://t.co/HYtVMKLAEA

The Marlins will get a good look at Harrison, who will be a non-roster invitee, in Spring Training. Not currently on the 40-man roster, he likely will open the season at either Class A Advanced Jupiter or Double-A Jacksonville.

Wherever Harrison winds up, his progress will be closely monitored. He also is excited to join an organization with Derek Jeter as its chief executive officer.

"He's a guy who is highly respected, on and off the field," Harrison said. "He's a great example. He wasn't called the Captain for no reason. Every time I think of him, I just think of trying to do the right things, and play the game the right way."

From Lee's Summit, Mo., Harrison was a three-sport standout in high school. He was regarded as the best athlete in the 2014 MLB Draft, where he was a second-round selection.

Harrison turned down an opportunity to play wide receiver at the University of Nebraska, and he has no regrets.

"People ask me all the time if I miss football," Harrison said. "I'm like, 'No, it's not even an option in my head.' Even with those injuries."

Tweet from @CespedesBBQ: New for Cut4New Marlins prospect Monte Harrison (@Team_Harrison3) was a three-sport star in high school has has some insane dunks:https://t.co/sbMSh03e2j pic.twitter.com/9mxjYQvI6S

A serious left ankle injury sidetracked his development in 2015, and a year later, he missed time with a fractured left hamate bone.

"I feel like everything happens for a reason," Harrison said. "There are experiences to everything later on when you realize it.

"Same thing with the hamate. It's just one of those things that's unfortunate. You can't really complain about it or whine about it. What are you supposed to do about a bone in my hand that I didn't even know that I had?"

The breaks started going Harrison's way last year. At two levels of Class A, he combined for 21 home runs and 27 steals to go with a slash line of .272/.350/.481.

"I felt like I had a way different attitude," Harrison said of 2017. "I felt like it was a make-or-break year. I had a lot of motivation going into it. Once I started getting that success, I just rolled with it. I kept my routine. It was very good."

The success carried into the Arizona Fall League, where he posted a slash line of .283/.333/.604. Power? Five of his 15 hits were home runs.

Video: Callis on Fall League standouts Harrison, Murphy

The Marlins took notice, and Harrison was a central figure in the five-player Yelich deal. In the trade, Miami also acquired outfielder Lewis Brinson, the team's top prospect and No. 27 overall. Infielder Isan Diaz and right-hander Jordan Yamamoto were also in that transaction. Diaz is Miami's No. 9 prospect.

"The people they got back in the Yelich trade, man, they can definitely make some noise," Harrison said. "Miami fans are kind of sad about all those big names leaving, but, man, the people they're getting back, they should be very excited about. We're going to come in and work, and work hard."

This week, Harrison has been getting a jump start into the Marlins' system as one of more than 20 prospects participating in a mini-camp at the team's Spring Training complex in Jupiter, Fla.

Tweet from @Team_Harrison3: I mean....since we suggesting numbers and stuff...*cough cough 3������ cough cough*.... https://t.co/qTCnT7GXYc

It didn't take long to see the on-field intensity of Gary Denbo, Miami's vice president of player development and scouting.

"He's a very intense guy," Harrison said. "I feel like he's the military dad. A lot of good can come of that. I feel like he's going to make a good, good impression on this organization, and get people to believe this can be a winning club again."

The day before being traded, the Brewers gave Harrison a heads-up phone call that he could be on the move. They reached out to him because he was making plans to attend a fanfest in Milwaukee. At that point, he exchanged messages with Brinson.

"When all this stuff started going down, we all started hitting each other's phone like, 'This is wild,'" Harrison said. "All the Brew Crew boys are back together.'"

Miami Marlins, Monte Harrison

Prospects ready to make strong first impression

Brinson, Harrison, Alcantara, Sierra will be in big league camp
MLB.com

MIAMI -- You only get one chance to make a first impression.

If that's the case, the Marlins are elated at what they've seen so far from top prospect Lewis Brinson. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound outfielder not only is a physical presence, his energy and enthusiasm also make him a logical choice to become a team leader and face of the franchise.

MIAMI -- You only get one chance to make a first impression.

If that's the case, the Marlins are elated at what they've seen so far from top prospect Lewis Brinson. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound outfielder not only is a physical presence, his energy and enthusiasm also make him a logical choice to become a team leader and face of the franchise.

South Florida-raised in Coral Springs, Brinson grew up a Marlins fan.

New-look Marlins ready for team building to begin

After being acquired from the Brewers in late January as part of the Christian Yelich trade, Brinson has not hidden his appreciation to be joining the Marlins.

"I'm super, super excited to be in Miami," Brinson recently said on MLB Network's Hot Stove show. "To come back and play in front of the home crowd, and play for the team I grew up watching and loving, it's a great honor to do that."

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The Marlins are going through an organizational transition. After eight straight losing seasons, they've broken up the core that had been together for several years.

When Spring Training opens for Miami with pitchers and catchers workouts on Feb. 14, the club will be showcasing its new additions. Many of them rank highly on top prospects lists. Brinson, according to MLB Pipeline, is Miami's No. 1 prospect and ranks 27th on MLB's Top 100 list. Fellow outfielder Monte Harrison, also part of the Brewers' trade, rates second on the team's list and 71st in the Top 100.

Video: Top Prospects: Monte Harrison, OF, Marlins

Seven of the Marlins' top 10 prospects were acquired in trades made this offseason. Six of them, including Brinson and Harrison, will be in big league camp.

The new collection of young players takes the field for the first time on Feb. 14 at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla. Full-squad practices get going on Feb. 19.

Right-hander Sandy Alcantara is the Marlins' No. 3 prospect, and outfielder Magneuris Sierra is seventh. Alcantara and Sierra were part of the Marcell Ozuna deal in December with the Cardinals. The two will be competing for Opening Day roster spots.

Video: Alcantara on learning from 2017, veteran advice

Infielder Isan Diaz, who came over from the Brewers, is ninth on the prospect list, and right-hander Nick Neidert, part of the Dee Gordon trade with the Mariners, is 10th.

"A lot of things are happening in Miami right now," Brinson said. "I'm ecstatic. The team that we have, obviously, it's dismantled a little bit. But I think the guys we have on the team right now are good players and great Major League players. I think we can do a lot of things. Maybe not this year. It's going to take some time, but I think if you just believe in the process that everybody has been saying, I think we'll be good in the next couple of years."

Miami Marlins, Sandy Alcantara, Lewis Brinson, Monte Harrison, Magneuris Sierra

Brinson meets former Marlins OF Pierre at workout

New Miami prospect idolized speedster during childhood
MLB.com

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. -- When Juan Pierre arrived at North Community Park on Tuesday afternoon, Marlins top prospect Lewis Brinson was already playing catch and warming up.

Pierre observed the rangy 23-year-old outfielder and said, "If he wears No. 9, that will be the only thing we have in common."

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. -- When Juan Pierre arrived at North Community Park on Tuesday afternoon, Marlins top prospect Lewis Brinson was already playing catch and warming up.

Pierre observed the rangy 23-year-old outfielder and said, "If he wears No. 9, that will be the only thing we have in common."

A surprise visitor at Brinson's workout, Pierre, one of the most respected players in Marlins history, formally met one of the organization's promising young future stars.

"On a 1-to-10 scale, meeting J.P. is probably a 20," Brinson said. "I was so excited driving here, knowing that he was going to come out, meeting him for the first time. The only time I've seen him was when he was playing center field for the Marlins."

Acquired last Thursday from the Brewers in the Christian Yelich trade, Brinson, the No. 27 prospect in the Majors per MLB Pipeline, grew up in Coral Springs idolizing Pierre, who lives in nearby Parkland. In the trade, Miami brought in four prospects, with Brinson being the centerpiece, along with outfielder Monte Harrison, infielder Isan Diaz and right-hander Jordan Yamamoto.

Video: Lewis Brinson discusses joining the Marlins

"This is literally a dream come true," Brinson said. "My hero growing up, I used to watch [Pierre] all the time with the Marlins, all of those guys. That team was my idols, but he was the one who stood out for me. It was a real honor to meet him."

Brinson's most memorable season watching the Marlins was 2003, when Pierre served as leadoff hitter and was the catalyst on the World Series championship team.

Brinson's admiration for Pierre is so great that he is openly lobbying to wear No. 9. The number is available now that Dee Gordon was traded to the Mariners.

Pierre noted he has no say in number designations, but gave his approval if Brinson wanted to carry on the legacy.

Video: Lewis Brinson gives evaluation on his game

Pierre, 40, enjoyed a 14-year big league career, compiling 2,217 hits and 614 stolen bases. He retired following the 2013 season, after completing his second stint with the Marlins.

A slap hitter who made things happen with his speed, Pierre, 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds, is taken aback that Brinson, 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, calls him his favorite player.

"For me to be his favorite, I told him, when he was about 10 years old, we were probably about the same height and size," Pierre said. "He's a lot bigger than I thought he was. I just tell him, the sky is the limit for a guy like that. But it starts with hard work [and] getting your work in every day."

Video: Lewis Brinson reacts to joining a new team

Brinson was also working out with Marlins Minor League outfielder John Silviano and Alvaro Gomez, who is on the Minor League coaching staff.

Over his career, Pierre's work ethic was legendary. When he joined the Marlins in 2003, he regularly arrived to Spring Training camp around 6 a.m. That was unheard of before he became a Marlin, and it set a standard that players follow today.

"I'm just trying to pick his brain right now and go about my business like he would," Brinson said. "I'm a very hard worker. I like to get stuff done, get it done right, get it done efficiently, make sure I'm not just half-working, half-stepping. We do everything with a purpose out here. I know he's a man of that, and working hard, and his 'beast mode' thing and everything like that. I try to model myself after guys like that. The harder I work, the better the success will be one day."

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

Miami Marlins, Lewis Brinson

Brinson, Harrison named Top 100 prospects

Newly acquired youngsters ranked Nos. 27, 71 in MLB
MLB.com

MIAMI -- Remaking the roster has netted the Marlins a number of highly touted prospects this offseason, including two who are now part of an exclusive group.

MLB Pipeline unveiled its Top 100 Prospects list on Saturday, and a pair of recently acquired outfielders -- Lewis Brinson and Monte Harrison -- are ranked 27th and 71st, respectively.

MIAMI -- Remaking the roster has netted the Marlins a number of highly touted prospects this offseason, including two who are now part of an exclusive group.

MLB Pipeline unveiled its Top 100 Prospects list on Saturday, and a pair of recently acquired outfielders -- Lewis Brinson and Monte Harrison -- are ranked 27th and 71st, respectively.

Brinson, a South Florida native from Coral Springs, is a right-handed hitter with speed and power. On the brink of being Major League-ready, he has been considered one the best overall prospects in the game for years. Harrison is another potential middle of the lineup threat who promises to be part of Miami's future.

Video: Mayo analyzes Marlins' return in Yelich trade

Brinson and Harrison were centerpieces in Thursday's blockbuster trade with the Brewers. The Marlins dealt outfielder Christian Yelich to Milwaukee for Brinson, Harrison, infielder Isan Diaz and right-hander Jordan Yamamoto.

"We felt like we added impactful, championship-caliber players -- players that will be a part of future Marlins championships as they reach the big leagues and allow us to bring a championship back to South Florida," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said.

:: Complete 2018 Top Prospects coverage ::

The annual ranking of MLB's Top 100 prospects is assembled by MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo and Mike Rosenbaum, who compile input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, proximity to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. Only players with rookie status entering the 2018 season are eligible for the list. Players who were at least 25 years old when they signed and played in leagues deemed to be professional (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Cuba) are not eligible.

Thursday's trade also reshuffled the Marlins' Top 30 Prospects list, also compiled by MLB Pipeline.

Brinson and Harrison rank Nos. 1 and 2, moving right-handers Sandy Alcantara and Jorge Guzman down to third and fourth, respectively.

Alcantara was acquired from the Cardinals in December as part of the Marcell Ozuna trade, and Guzman was a main piece in the deal with the Yankees for Giancarlo Stanton.

From the Milwaukee trade, Diaz, who plays shortstop and second base, is Miami's new No. 9-ranked player.

"Our goal is always to make a deal that makes sense for us and to add quality," Hill said. "In this [Yelich] transaction, we've added three impactful position players … and a middle-of-the-rotation starter."

Video: Marlins acquire four prospects in trade for Yelich

Brinson, 23, could find himself in Miami's Opening Day lineup. He's an athletic center fielder, but may wind up in a corner spot. He spent part of last year at Triple-A, posting a slash line of .331/.400/.562 with 13 home runs, 22 doubles, four triples and 48 RBIs.

A former first-round pick of the Rangers in 2012, Brinson appeared in the Sirius XM Futures Game, and he played briefly with the Brewers, hitting .106 with two home runs in 47 at-bats.

"Lewis has done everything he can throughout his Minor League career to put himself in this upper echelon of prospects throughout baseball," Brewers general manager David Stearns said. "We appreciate everything he did here, and we certainly expect the Marlins and their fan base are going to get a very good player, a good person, and someone they are going to like."

Harrison, listed at 6-foot-3, 220-pounds, spent last year at two levels of Class A, and his slash line was .272/.350/.481 with 21 home runs and 67 RBIs. He likely will open at Double-A Jacksonville.

Video: Top Prospects: Monte Harrison, OF, Marlins

"I think Monte really fast-tracked his development last year," Stearns said. "He had a healthy year and we saw his development come. Very athletic player, very enthusiastic player."

After eight straight losing seasons, the Marlins made it clear they intend to build an organization from the bottom up. Brinson and Harrison are now two key parts in moving the franchise forward.

"I'm looking forward to watching us play," Hill said. "There's a lot of reason for our fans to be excited. When you think about the existing pieces that are still on our roster, the young players that we've been able to add ... there's athleticism, there's speed, there's power arms. I'm excited to see those guys report to Jupiter and to see them get ready for the upcoming season."

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

Miami Marlins, Lewis Brinson

Brinson excited to play for hometown team

Newly acquired prospect grew up in Fort Lauderdale rooting for Marlins
MLB.com

Not only did the Marlins acquire a highly touted outfield prospect on Thursday when they received Lewis Brinson from the Brewers, they also gained a team historian in the deal.

A former first-round Draft pick of the Rangers, Brinson is a graduate of Coral Springs High School in nearby Fort Lauderdale. From that upbringing, he became a devout Marlins fan.

Not only did the Marlins acquire a highly touted outfield prospect on Thursday when they received Lewis Brinson from the Brewers, they also gained a team historian in the deal.

A former first-round Draft pick of the Rangers, Brinson is a graduate of Coral Springs High School in nearby Fort Lauderdale. From that upbringing, he became a devout Marlins fan.

"I particularly remember that 2003 team with Juan Pierre," said Brinson during a Friday morning conference call. "To this day, I idolize him. Pudge Rodriguez, Derek Lee, [Juan] Encarnacion. Jeff Conine. All of those guys. Growing up going to the old Marlins park and watching them play was awesome. I looked forward to doing that all the time. So to get to play for my hometown team, I can't tell you guys how excited I am."

Tweet from @LewisBrinson: I���m coming home! 🙏🌴🌴🌴

Brinson allowed that every time he got assigned a paper in school about what he wanted to do when he grew up, he always wrote that he wanted to play for the Marlins.

"My dream was to play in the big leagues and to play for, at the time, the Florida Marlins," Brinson said. "And to get that opportunity now is just absolutely crazy. ... That's reality now. It's kind of crazy and surreal."

Video: Marlins acquire four prospects in trade for Yelich

Being a Marlins fans puts Brinson in an interesting position. He arrives to the team in the midst of a rebuild, in a trade that sent Christian Yelich to the Brewers. But he feels like he'll be a part of a long-term success story for the Marlins.

"I'm glad to be a part of it," Brinson said. "I'm glad the guys that got traded with me are glad to be a part of it. I can't wait to bring this organization back to where it once was. I'm really excited to be a part of that for the future. And I think our future is pretty bright. I think our fans have a lot to be excited about.

"Obviously, [the fans are] a little bit hurt, but I think they're going to be a little bit surprised by what we have to offer with all of the young guys."

Video: Lewis Brinson reacts to joining a new team

The 23-year-old Brinson, who has 21 games of Major League experience, is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the game's 13th-best prospect. Scouts have raved about the ceiling of his power-speed combination, touting Brinson as a potential 30-30 player. He cracked the Majors last June, and though he struggled in 21 games --slashing .106/.236/.277 with 17 strikeouts and seven walks in 55 plate appearances -- Brinson has impressed over six Minor League seasons, with a .287/.353/.502 line, 89 homers, 29 triples, 133 doubles and 322 RBIs to go with 96 steals.

"I learned a lot [last season]," Brinson said. "Learned how to be routine oriented. I learned to stay within myself, and not get out of myself and try to do too much. Just tell myself that I belong in the big leagues. It's tough up there. Guys make adjustments. There's cameras. There's video on you from the moment you step on the field. So they have an edge on you already from watching video. You just have to stick to your plan up there."

Brinson served two stints in the Major Leagues last season, and he noted that the second time around he told himself he was going to have fun.

"Just play a kid's game," he said. "That's what I've always been playing, a kid's game. That's probably the biggest thing that helped me physically and mentally, just go out there and have fun and play my game."

Brinson said he is "more than ready" to be an everyday Major League player.

"Especially after last year getting that little taste," he said. "I think I'm more ready to contribute to a big league team. Hopefully the Marlins give me that opportunity."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com.

Miami Marlins, Lewis Brinson

Marlins acquire Brinson, 3 others for Yelich

Brewers send haul of prospects in exchange for outfielder
MLB.com

Christian Yelich is the latest Marlins standout to leave South Florida. On Thursday, Miami traded the outfielder to the Brewers for a quartet of prospects -- Lewis Brinson (outfielder), Isan Diaz (middle infielder), Monte Harrison (outfielder) and Jordan Yamamoto (right-handed pitcher).

Brinson, 23, was the Brewers' No. 1 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, and is the No. 13 overall prospect in the Majors. He made it to the big leagues for the first time last June. Though he struggled in 21 games -- slashing .106/.236/.277 with 17 strikeouts and seven walks in 55 plate appearances -- Brinson has impressed over six Minor League seasons, with a .287/.353/.502 line, 89 homers, 29 triples, 133 doubles, 322 RBIs and 96 stolen bases.

Christian Yelich is the latest Marlins standout to leave South Florida. On Thursday, Miami traded the outfielder to the Brewers for a quartet of prospects -- Lewis Brinson (outfielder), Isan Diaz (middle infielder), Monte Harrison (outfielder) and Jordan Yamamoto (right-handed pitcher).

Brinson, 23, was the Brewers' No. 1 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, and is the No. 13 overall prospect in the Majors. He made it to the big leagues for the first time last June. Though he struggled in 21 games -- slashing .106/.236/.277 with 17 strikeouts and seven walks in 55 plate appearances -- Brinson has impressed over six Minor League seasons, with a .287/.353/.502 line, 89 homers, 29 triples, 133 doubles, 322 RBIs and 96 stolen bases.

Diaz, 21, was the Brewers' Minor League Player of the Year in 2016 and was the club's No. 6 prospect. He is the No. 86 prospect in MLB. Scouting reports rave about Diaz's defense and potential to blossom into a power hitter at a premier defensive position. He is a career .261/.357/.458 hitter in 362 Minor League games over four seasons.

Video: Brinson headlines Fish prospect haul in Yelich trade

"I think we added three impactful position players -- Brinson, Diaz and Harrison," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "And I think you look at the deals that we've been able to make and to add the pitching [Yamamoto], which we obviously needed and that you can never have enough of, we felt like we added impactful, championship-caliber players, layers that will be part of future Marlins championships, that will reach the big leagues and allow us to bring a championship back to South Florida."

A 2012 first-round Draft pick by the Rangers, Brinson, who was dealt to Milwaukee in the Jonathan Lucroy trade in '16, is a graduate of Coral Springs (Fla.) High School. Scouts have raved about the ceiling of Brinson's power-speed combination and touted him as a potential 30-homer, 30-steal player. Hill said Brinson will immediately be added to the 40-man roster, while Diaz, Harrison and Yamamoto will likely begin the year at Double-A Jacksonville.

"Lewis has done everything he can throughout his Minor League career to put himself in this upper echelon of prospects throughout baseball," Brewers general manager David Stearns said. "We appreciate everything he did here and we certainly expect the Marlins and their fan base are going to get a very good player, a good person, and someone they are going to like."

In their first offseason under new ownership, the Marlins have been direct about their objective: gain financial flexibility, while building their farm system. The Marlins have succeeded in doing that this offseason.

Video: Top Prospect: Lewis Brinson, OF, Marlins

"Christian Yelich is a talented player, as were all of the players we've moved this offseason," Hill said. "You want to get talent in return. You want to get impact, championship-caliber players, and that's what Lewis Brinson is. That's what Monte Harrison is. That's what Isan Diaz is, and that's what Jordan Yamamoto is."

Video: Top Prospects: Isan Diaz, 2B, Marlins

Prior to Thursday's trade of Yelich, the Marlins had already traded a trio of All-Stars -- slugger Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees, outfielder Marcell Ozuna to the Cardinals and second baseman Dee Gordon to the Mariners.

Yelich voiced his frustration with Miami's direction after those moves. However, Hill said that did not influence the deal.

"I think as we talked about what was in front of us and our offseason, we felt like we needed to get better," Hill said. "We had a collection of very talented players on our roster, but we couldn't get where we needed to go, so we felt like we needed to make some changes to build our organization, to create more depth to allow us to win on a consistent basis. To have an organization that has the layers of depth to have sustainable winning, and consistent winning, on an annual basis."

Video: MLB Tonight on Yelich to the Brewers for four players

Harrison, 22, was Milwaukee's No. 14 prospect and its second-round pick in 2014. Over four Minor League seasons, Harrison slashed .243/.338/.392 with 33 homers, 57 doubles, 10 triples, 186 runs scored and 149 RBIs. He has been touted for his bat speed, and his high strikeout numbers may be attributed to a long swing and pitch-recognition issues that have the potential to be corrected, according to scouting reports.

"I think Monte really fast-tracked his development last year," Stearns said. "He had a healthy year and we saw his development come. Very athletic player, very enthusiastic player."

Yamamoto, 21, spent last year with Class A Advanced Carolina, going 9-4 in 22 games, including 18 starts. Over 111 innings, he struck out 113 and walked 30, while giving up just eight home runs. A 12th-round pick in 2014, Yamamoto recorded a 2.51 ERA last season that ranked 15th-best among full-season Class A pitchers.

Hill didn't indicate whether any additional moves will be coming. When asked about the upcoming season, he noted, "Our expectation every year [when] we report to Spring Training is to win as many games as possible."

Tweet from @LewisBrinson: I���m coming home! 🙏🌴🌴🌴

"There have been conversations with [manager] Donny [Mattingly] and the staff all offseason, and that will always be our expectation, is to play the game the right way and win as many games as possible," Hill said. "I think that will always be our approach. That's our goal as we head to Spring Training."

The Marlins have been stockpiling prospects throughout the offseason. In addition to Thursday's haul, they landed outfielder Magneuris Sierra and pitchers Sandy Alcantara, Zac Gallen and Daniel Castano from the Cardinals for Ozuna. They received right-hander Jorge Guzman, shortstop Jose Devers and Starlin Castro from the Yankees, when they rid themselves of the $295 million remaining on the final 10 years of Stanton's contract. Gordon yielded three prospects -- right-handers Nick Neidert and Robert Dugger and infielder Chris Torres -- from the Mariners.

The Marlins have successfully reduced their payroll, which should bode well for doing business in the future. Meanwhile, the youngsters acquired should bring a different look to the team.

"I'm looking forward to watching us play," Hill said. "There's a lot of reason for our fans to be excited. When you think about the existing pieces that are still on our roster, the young players that we've been able to add ... there's athleticism, there's speed, there's power arms. I'm excited to see those guys report to Jupiter and to see them get ready for the upcoming season."

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)

Yelich gets a major fantasy boost from this trade, as he will move from a retooling lineup in a pitcher-friendly park to a potentially potent order with more hitter-friendly confines. Overall, the 26-year-old should be regarded as a safe, five-category option in Round 5 of standard-league drafts. The arrival of Yelich will also cause Keon Broxton (20 homers, 21 steals in 2017) to move to a reserve role and come off mixed-league draft lists.

Meanwhile, in Miami, Brinson instantly becomes a deep-league sleeper due to his strong career Minor League numbers and his opportunity to earn a regular role in Spring Training.

Bill Chastain has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2005.

Miami Marlins, Lewis Brinson, Christian Yelich

Prospects watch, learn from Teheran, Guerrero

Pitchers work out at showcase for Venezuelan teens
MLB.com

CARTAGENA, Colombia -- Julio Teheran's Wednesday morning began the same way it has every day this offseason.

The Braves pitcher was on the mound at Estadio 11 de Noviembre a few hours after dawn, just early enough to avoid the scorching sun to get his work in.

CARTAGENA, Colombia -- Julio Teheran's Wednesday morning began the same way it has every day this offseason.

The Braves pitcher was on the mound at Estadio 11 de Noviembre a few hours after dawn, just early enough to avoid the scorching sun to get his work in.

Marlins Minor League pitcher Tayron Guerrero stepped on the mound next. It was his bullpen day, too.

"I'm here to work," Guerrero said. "This is a big Spring Training for me, and I want to show up ready. That's why we are here."

The two Colombian pitchers with something to prove also managed to fashion themselves as examples to follow this week. Watching the duo workout Wednesday were the 51 prospects in town for Major League Baseball's showcase for prospects from Venezuela.

"I think it's important to show them that dreams can come true with hard work," Teheran said. "To be selected to participate in this event is a big honor. I know I didn't have this type of thing when I was growing up, so I hope they take advantage of the opportunity."

The showcase concluded Wednesday with batting practice and two games. The event began Tuesday with a timed 60-yard run followed by infield and outfield practice. The prospects also took several rounds of batting practice and played one game on the first day of the event.

The top prospects from this week's showcase and the showcase for Venezuelan teens last November in Aruba will participate in MLB's International Prospect Showcase along with the top teens from places like Brazil, Curacao, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Panama next month in the Dominican Republic.

The prospect events were held in Aruba and Colombia because of the economic crisis and political unrest in Venezuela.

It was a busy morning of baseball. After completing their daily routine, Teheran and Guerrero addressed the prospects as a group and then followed up with a few one-on-one chats. The pitchers talked about baseball, but also about life.

Teheran, 26, is a two-time All-Star but coming off of an up-and-down season in Atlanta. Guerrero, 27, who last pitched in the Major Leagues in 2016 with the Padres, could pitch out of the bullpen for the Marlins, but needs to show improved command.

"My message to them is to keep working hard," Guerrero said. "I told them the key is to play without pressure and play the game they way they have always played it. Have fun in this game and keep on dreaming. It's important they listen to the coaches and trainers and believe in themselves. They are here for a reason."

If the prospects sign, when they sign and how much money they will earn is to be determined. The international market continues to take shape, and baseball's decision-makers are still evaluating this year's Venezuelan class.

"I think some people believe that this year's class is one of the lighter classes and next year will be even better," one National League scout said. "Maybe these guys don't have the 'wow factor' we have seen in the past, but there is talent in Venezuela, just like every year and there are going to be a lot of kids sign from there. I can see a few sleepers in this year's class."

Here's what we know: The Blue Jays, Brewers, D-backs, Phillies, Rangers, Red Sox, Rockies, Tigers and Yankees are expected to be aggressive on the international market when the signing period starts July 2. The Cubs, Dodgers, Giants and Royals, teams that will no longer be in the penalty, are also expected to be very active on the market.

The A's, Astros, Braves, Cardinals, Nationals, Padres, Reds, and White Sox are in the maximum penalty and cannot sign players for more than $300,000 during the upcoming period.

It's uncertain how many Venezuelan teens will sign, but it's worth noting that almost 400 prospects from the country have signed during the current international signing period that started last July. What's more, there were 261 prospects from the country that signed during the previous signing period.

Among the Venezuelan teens that stood out this week in Colombia were catchers Diego Cartaya and Juan Perez, infielders Eduardo Garcia and Miguel Droz, along with outfielders Misael Urbina and Jesus Bolivar. Other Venezuelan prospects could garner more attention in the months leading up to the start of the international signing period or even after the period starts.

There's a reason to be patient with the Venezuelan prospects.

"These guys are still developing, and you don't know who they will be in the future, but you have to let them grow," one American League international scouting director said. "Remember, Ronald Acuna signed out of Venezuela for like $90,000, and there were some questions with him. Look at him now. We are all looking for our own Acuna."

Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins, Tayron Guerrero, Julio Teheran

Anderson No. 9 among Top 10 3B prospects

Big '17 season has 24-year-old on cusp of starting job
MLB.com

MIAMI -- After a slow start in 2017, Brian Anderson had a strong finish. The 24-year-old made an impression as a September callup, and he will head into Spring Training competing for the Marlins' third-base job.

It's not a given Anderson will get the nod, because veteran Martin Prado, if he's healthy and isn't traded, is the front-runner to secure the spot. But whether it is by Opening Day or at a later date, Anderson has placed himself in the conversation for being Miami's third baseman of the future.

MIAMI -- After a slow start in 2017, Brian Anderson had a strong finish. The 24-year-old made an impression as a September callup, and he will head into Spring Training competing for the Marlins' third-base job.

It's not a given Anderson will get the nod, because veteran Martin Prado, if he's healthy and isn't traded, is the front-runner to secure the spot. But whether it is by Opening Day or at a later date, Anderson has placed himself in the conversation for being Miami's third baseman of the future.

:: Top 10 Prospects by Position ::

Anderson's progression also has earned him a spot on MLB Pipeline's list of the Top 10 third-base prospects, coming in at No. 9. MLB Pipeline ranks him as the No. 6 prospect in the Marlins' system.

Anderson made some big strides a year ago, working through an early slump at Double-A Jacksonville, eventually participating in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in July. He advanced to Triple-A New Orleans before his Sept. 1 MLB debut.

"They pretty much told me they were happy with what I did," Anderson said last September after being called up. "They were happy with how I competed out there at a higher level, and they wanted to see me get more and more consistent and do that over the course of a full year."

A year ago, over 87 games with Jacksonville, Anderson had a respectable slash line of .251/.341/.450 with 14 home runs and 55 RBIs.

Video: Anderson named Marlins' Pipeline hitter of the year

Anderson earned a spot on the United States team in the Futures Game, which was played at Marlins Park. He started at DH and had two hits, including a double, before switching to third base and remaining on the field through the final out.

"It's what I've played my whole life to get, get this opportunity, and it was awesome and I had a lot of fun," Anderson said of the Futures Game.

Shortly after the Futures Game, Anderson was promoted to New Orleans, where his numbers took off. He appeared in 33 games, hitting .339/.416/.602 with eight home runs and 26 RBIs. All told, Anderson hit 22 home runs with 81 RBIs to go along with a .275/.361/.492 slash line in 120 Minor League games last year.

Video: Anderson discusses Futures Game during BP

With Prado on the disabled list following Anderson's callup, the rookie handled most of the action at third base. The results were solid in 25 big league games -- .262/.337/.369 with seven doubles, a triple and eight RBIs. The power didn't show as much, as he didn't hit a home run in 84 at-bats, but that's expected to change as he becomes more acclimated to MLB pitching.

The Marlins are restructuring their roster and are open to giving opportunities to their prospects, but Anderson is in a similar situation to many other players in the system. His development won't be rushed.

Video: Anderson could be a big part of Marlins' future

If the Marlins don't consider Anderson ready to be a regular on Opening Day, there's a chance he could open the year at New Orleans. On the other hand, there is a possibility that Prado could be dealt or even play left field, clearing the way for Anderson. First, Prado must re-establish his health. He missed time in 2017 due to left hamstring and knee injuries. The fact he's overcoming issues to his legs could decrease the chances Miami uses him in left field, especially in spacious Marlins Park.

For Anderson, it's about continued development. If he produces in Spring Training, he could make his case to being a big league regular.

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

Source: Miami interested in Cuban OF Martinez

MLB.com

MIAMI -- As part of their organizational makeover, the Marlins are placing a greater emphasis and more resources into signing international players. One of their early targets is Cuban-born outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez.

According to a source, MLB.com has confirmed Miami's interest in the 21-year-old left-handed power hitter, who held a private workout for the team on Thursday at the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla. Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill was in attendance at the workout, though the club has not commented on it.

MIAMI -- As part of their organizational makeover, the Marlins are placing a greater emphasis and more resources into signing international players. One of their early targets is Cuban-born outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez.

According to a source, MLB.com has confirmed Miami's interest in the 21-year-old left-handed power hitter, who held a private workout for the team on Thursday at the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla. Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill was in attendance at the workout, though the club has not commented on it.

According to Baseball America, the Marlins, Yankees and Rangers are considered the three favorites for Martinez, who is also expected to have a private workout with the Yankees at their complex in Tampa, Fla.

The Marlins are going through a transitional phase on their international side. In recent months, Fernando Seguignol was named director of international operations, replacing Albert Gonzalez, who has joined the Royals after spending 12 years with Miami.

The Marlins would be looking to sign Martinez as part of the 2018-19 international signing period, which starts on July 2. That's when they get their new international pool figure.

Due to a couple of offseason trades, the Marlins are more limited in what they can currently spend on the international market, as they've already traded away $1.25 million in pool money.

In November, Miami dealt right-hander Michael King and $250,000 of pool money to the Yankees for left-hander Caleb Smith and first baseman/outfielder Garrett Cooper. A more hefty exchange came in December. The Marlins sent Dee Gordon and $1 million of international pool money to the Mariners for three prospects -- Nick Neidert, Chris Torres and Robert Dugger.

At the time, the Yankees and Mariners were making strong pushes for Shohei Ohtani, who eventually signed with the Angels.

Of the three favorites, the Rangers are better positioned -- pool wise -- to sign Martinez during the current international signing period, which runs through June 15.

Martinez defected from Cuba in November before establishing residency in Haiti. He's already petitioned MLB to become a free agent, and that formality is expected to happen before the current signing period ends.

Martinez is regarded as a first-round caliber talent who batted .333 with six home runs and 24 stolen bases in his final season playing in Cuba.

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

Miami Marlins

Marlins sign 1B Rodriguez to Minors pact

MLB.com

MIAMI -- Jonathan Rodriguez, a power-hitting first baseman and outfielder, has signed a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training. 

The 28-year-old played for Double-A Chattanooga in 2017, batting .309, which placed him second to Marlins prospect Braxton Lee for the Southern League batting title.

MIAMI -- Jonathan Rodriguez, a power-hitting first baseman and outfielder, has signed a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training. 

The 28-year-old played for Double-A Chattanooga in 2017, batting .309, which placed him second to Marlins prospect Braxton Lee for the Southern League batting title.

Rodriguez is a power-hitting threat, belting 21 home runs in 119 games for Chattanooga. A native of Puerto Rico, he provides right-handed hitting depth, and will compete for a roster spot in Spring Training.

Rodriguez and Lee battled it out for the Southern League batting title in 2017. Both finished at .309, with Lee technically getting the edge by a percentage point in a race that went down to the final at-bat.

The two will now be in Spring Training competing for positions on the Marlins.

Lee was acquired last June from the Rays as part of the Adeiny Hechavarria trade, joining Double-A Jacksonville for the remainder of the season.

Lee is already on the 40-man roster, while Rodriguez will try to fight his way onto the Marlins' roster in Spring Training.

Listed at 6-foot-2, 250-pounds, Rodriguez was a 17th round Draft pick of the Cardinals in 2009.

In nine Minor League seasons, he has a career slash line of .273/.368/.450 with 119 home runs and 486 RBIs in 913 games.

In 2017, Rodriguez was in the Twins' system, and played 119 games at Double-A and five for Triple-A Rochester, adding one additional home run at that level. 

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

Miami Marlins, Jonathan Rodriguez

Prospect Alcantara: 'New doors are opening'

Right-hander 'ready to compete' with Marlins at Spring Training
MLB.com

MIAMI -- Sandy Alcantara possesses a 100-mph fastball, and he has top-of-the-rotation starter potential. With all the makings of a future ace in place, it would be tempting for the Marlins to speed up the developmental clock for the 22-year-old.

They're not. They're going to let their No. 1 prospect progress at his own speed.

MIAMI -- Sandy Alcantara possesses a 100-mph fastball, and he has top-of-the-rotation starter potential. With all the makings of a future ace in place, it would be tempting for the Marlins to speed up the developmental clock for the 22-year-old.

They're not. They're going to let their No. 1 prospect progress at his own speed.

To further acclimate to the next level, Alacantara recently participated in MLB's Rookie Career Development Program.

Alcantara has had a taste of pitching in the big leagues, making eight relief appearances as a September callup for the Cardinals last year. A native of the Dominican Republic, Alcantara is welcoming the fresh start ahead of him with Miami.

"For me, I think it's a big opportunity, because new doors are opening to keep moving forward and to keep competing hard like I've always done," the right-hander said.

Alcantara was one of the centerpieces of the December trade that sent All-Star outfielder Marcell Ozuna to the Cardinals. In return, the Marlins also received outfielder Magneuris Sierra, right-hander Zac Gallen and lefty Daniel Castano. According to MLB Pipeline, Sierra is now the Marlins' No. 5 prospect and Gallen is No. 15.

Video: Michael Hill discusses trading for Sandy Alcantara

"I feel happy, because they've given me that responsibility to be there with them," Alcantara said. "I'm going to work hard and keep being humble. Also, for the guys coming in behind me, to help them to follow my advice and also follow in my footsteps."

Ability-wise, all the makings are there for the right-hander to be a standout. It's now a matter of experience and commanding his pitches.

Per Statcast™, Alcantara's four-seam fastball -- on 45 pitches tracked in the big leagues -- averaged 98.51 mph. The MLB average was 93.19 mph. His fastball spin rate average was 2,359.16 rpm, also roughly the league average (2,254.62 rpm).

In 8 1/3 big league innings, Alcantara had a 4.32 ERA, striking out 10 and walking six.

"All of these guys are considered prospects, because they haven't proven themselves at the Major League level yet," Marlins vice president of player development and scouting Gary Denbo said. "They all have things they need to work on. You can probably say that every one of the pitchers that we acquired need to work on their fastball command.

"They have to make sure they can locate fastballs where Major League hitters aren't going to be able to impact them. You can say the same thing about Sandy. That's our No. 1 objective with all of our pitchers, to make sure they have good command of their fastballs."

Alcantara had been with the Cardinals since 2014, and he's logged 369 Minor League innings. A year ago, he went 7-5 with a 4.31 ERA in 25 games (22 starts) at Double-A Springfield. In 125 1/3 innings, he struck out 106 and walked 54.

After being called up in September, Alcantara threw as many as two innings just once. But he gained valuable experience, working with All-Star catcher Yadier Molina and picking up advice from starters like Carlos Martinez.

"They helped me a lot to keep competing and just being there with them," Alcantara said. "I'm going to try to take the advice that guys like Carlos Martinez and Yadier Molina gave me to Spring Training, to be ready to compete for a spot at the Major League level with the Marlins."

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