These are Marlins to keep an eye on down on farm

April 5th, 2024

ST. LOUIS -- Teenagers Noble Meyer (No. 1) and Thomas White (No. 2) might sit atop the Marlins’ prospect rankings, but their professional careers are in the early stages of development and therefore at a lower Minor League level. Right-hander Max Meyer (No. 3), on the other hand, went toe-to-toe with Mike Trout in his return to the mound 19 months after Tommy John surgery.

Ahead of Spring Breakout in mid-March, director of Minor League operations Hector Crespo explained the organization was in the process of figuring out what the Minor League rosters would look like to begin the 2024 season.

“Anytime there's tough decisions, it means that we're excited about what the rosters look like,” Crespo said. “But just making sure we're prioritizing where guys are going to be, I think the biggest thing when putting rosters together is like, what's in the best interest of the player? So that's a big thing.”

Here’s a key player and pitcher to watch for each 2024 full-season affiliate, plus other Top 30 Prospects to keep an eye on.

Triple-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp

Player to Watch: Victor Mesa Jr. (No. 4)
Mesa impressed during his first big league camp this spring, so much so that manager Skip Schumaker said he could see the 22-year-old making his Major League debut sometime this season.

Pitcher to Watch: RHP Anthony Maldonaldo (No. 19)
Although Maldonado missed out on the final Opening Day bullpen spot, his slider received praise from Schumaker. The 26-year-old has closing experience at the Double-A and Triple-A levels, which should help him once he reaches the big leagues.

Other Top 30 prospects on the roster: OF Dane Myers (No. 14), 1B/OF Troy Johnson (No. 18), LHP Patrick Monteverde (No. 21), C Will Banfield (No. 25)

Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos
Opening Day:
Tonight, 6:05 p.m. CT vs. Mississippi Braves

Player to Watch: OF Shane Sasaki (No. 24)
Miami recently acquired the 23-year-old Sasaki from the Rays in the three-team trade involving Jon Berti. Entering 2024, Sasaki has succeeded on 90 percent of his steal attempts. His quickness also gives him solid range and the ability to play all three outfield positions.

Pitcher to Watch: RHP Paul Campbell
Did you just do a double take? Campbell, whom the Marlins selected in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, hasn’t pitched since April 10, 2022, at Triple-A Jacksonville. The 28-year-old underwent Tommy John surgery and sustained multiple setbacks, but he is making his long-awaited return.

Other Top 30 prospects on the roster: 3B/1B Jacob Berry (No. 5), LHP Dax Fulton (No. 10, Tommy John surgery rehab), OF/SS/2B Javier Sanoja (No. 16)

High-A Beloit Sky Carp

Opening Day: Tonight, 6:35 p.m. CT vs. Cedar Rapids Kernels

Player to Watch: 2B/SS Yiddi Cappe (No. 7)
Though Cappe wasn't in big league camp, he was brought over five times to play in Grapefruit League games and collected three hits, including two doubles, with three RBIs. The 21-year-old also went 2-for-2 in Spring Breakout.

Pitcher to Watch: RHP Karson Milbrandt (No. 6)
Though Milbrandt's career ERA (5.09) isn’t remarkable, he has improved his arsenal with a changeup and a curveball to complement a fastball with increased velocity. Milbrantdt, who doesn't turn 20 until April 20, must show improved command like he did in a perfect frame in Spring Breakout.

Other Top 30 prospects on the roster: RHP Jacob Miller (No. 13), C Joe Mack (No. 26), RHP Ike Buxton (No. 28)

Single-A Jupiter Hammerheads

Opening Day: Tonight, 6:30 p.m. ET at Palm Beach Cardinals

Player to Watch: OF John Cruz (No. 20)
The Marlins acquired the 6-foot-3 teenager from the Yankees in the three-player trade involving Berti. Last season as the youngest batting qualifier in the circuit at age 17, Cruz led the Florida Complex League with 47 RBIs and ranked second with 10 homers.

Pitcher to Watch: LHP Thomas White (No. 2)
Two months after being selected in the MLB Draft, White struck out five over 2 2/3 innings in the Hammerheads’ Game 1 win in the Florida State League championship. Miami’s second-ranked prospect, the 19-year-old garnered the Spring Breakout start and showed why by striking out the side.

Other Top 30 prospects on the roster: RHP Noble Meyer (No. 1), OF Kemp Alderman (No. 8, hamate injury), 1B Brock Vradenburg (No. 17), OF Mark Coley II (No. 23), LHP Emmett Olson (No. 29), RHP Nigel Belgrave (No. 30)

The following Top 30 Prospects will not begin at full-season affiliates:

Extended spring: SS Fabian Lopez (No. 12), OF Andres Valor (No. 15), RHP Juan De La Cruz (No. 22)

Dominican Republic Complex: OF Luis Cova (No. 11)