Marlins boast most prospects on Top 100 list

Seven from Miami's system among MLB Pipeline's best

August 19th, 2021

For the first time in franchise history, the Marlins pace all Major League organizations with seven Top 100 prospects on MLB Pipeline's midseason list

Miami (323) also narrowly edged Seattle (320) for most prospect points, which is a quick if imprecise way to gauge the strength of star talent in a farm system by calculating 100 for the No. 1 prospect, 99 for No. 2 and so on.

"From the beginning, we knew that we needed to really lock in on scouting and player development and build the foundation and start from there, and I think we've shown that we've done that," director of Minor League operations Geoff DeGroot said. "It speaks to that, but ultimately, that has to translate to us winning games at the Major League level, which I have no doubts that we'll be able to do. I have nothing but confidence that we're going to get there at the Major League level as well. Exciting times, and looking forward to the future and reaching the ultimate goal, and that's competing for championships year in and year out."

Below are the seven Top 100 prospects:

Kahlil Watson, SS, No. 28
Edward Cabrera
, RHP, No. 30
Max Meyer
, RHP, No. 31
Sixto Sánchez
, RHP, No. 45
JJ Bleday
, OF, No. 77
Jake Eder
, LHP, No. 82
Jesús Sánchez
, OF, No. 91

New to the list are Watson and Eder. 

Many considered the 18-year-old Watson to be the steal of the 2021 MLB Draft, when he fell to the Marlins at 16th overall. MLB Pipeline ranked him as the No. 4 overall Draft prospect after showcasing above-average marks across the diamond. The prep star from North Carolina recently began his professional career with the Florida Complex League Marlins.

"This player can do everything," director of amateur scouting DJ Svihlik said after Watson signed. "It's not a raw talent. This guy knows how to play the game. He flies, he hits it hard and far, he's got a cannon for an arm. With his size, that's why people say [Jimmy] Rollins. I don't like using comps, because it puts undue expectations on players, and sometimes it minimizes how good these players in the big leagues really are. As far as Kahlil, he does everything. He runs, he throws, he hits it hard and far, he plays aggressively on the bases, he provides extreme positional versatility."

The 22-year-old Eder, Miami's fourth-round selection in the 2020 MLB Draft, would lead the Double-A South in ERA (1.77 ERA) and WHIP (0.98) if he qualified. He is part of a formidable quartet of 2020 draftees in the Pensacola rotation, including the 22-year-old Meyer and his league-low 1.97 ERA.

"He jumps out to me just because he's had an incredible year, and he's turned himself into one of the top prospects in the entire game, one of the top pitching prospects in the entire game," DeGroot said of Eder. "I think his performance is up there with any pitching prospect in all of baseball."

The 23-year-old Bleday, Eder's former Vanderbilt teammate, dropped 57 spots following a slow start to the season. But the fourth overall pick in the 2019 Draft has posted an .812 OPS in 41 games since July 2.

After a stint on the injured list to open the second half, Jesús Sánchez, 23, is back to starting every day for the Marlins. Sixto Sánchez, who was considered one of the preseason candidates for National League Rookie of the Year, didn't pitch in a game in 2021. The 23-year-old underwent surgery to repair a capsular tear and clean out the back side of his right shoulder, and the expectation is he will be ready for Spring Training.

Fellow flamethrower Cabrera made one of the biggest leaps, moving up 38 spots. He was diagnosed with an inflamed nerve in his right biceps upon his arrival to Spring Training, but he has been impressive since his return. Across three levels, Cabrera has a 2.67 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP in 12 starts. He flashes a fastball that can reach triple digits, with a slider and a changeup.

The 23-year-old Cabrera would've made his MLB debut last season had it not been for minor shoulder soreness. It's a safe bet he will earn his first callup in September barring a setback.

"He's been good," Marlins general manager Kim Ng said earlier this month, "and hopefully we get to see him at some point. No guarantees, but if he continues on that track, hopefully we'll get to see him. Again, for all these young players, it's really about the at-bats, the innings, and making sure they're getting their reps, so that when they do come up here they're ready."