3 Marlins prospects on the rise after 2022

October 17th, 2022

This story was excerpted from Christina De Nicola's Marlins Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

It's time to spotlight the Marlins' Minor League system, which has undergone turnover in the past year.

Once a Top 5 farm system, Miami has dropped in the rankings due to a combination of graduation, injuries and underperformance. Rather than focus on household names like Eury Pérez, here's a report on lesser-known prospects:

3 players who forced their way onto the radar this year

The 17-year-old Dominican signed for $180,000 as part of the 2021-22 international class, then raked in the Dominican Summer League by compiling a .284/.417/.551 slash line in 50 games. The right-handed Gerardo has some of the system's best all-around tools, catapulting him to No. 17 on MLB Pipeline's Top 30 Marlins prospects list.

"Power, just general explosiveness," said Adrian Lorenzo, the Marlins’ senior director of international operations. "He's probably one of our most explosive players in the system, and that translates into both arm strength and power at the plate. Just really, really good baseball instincts. ... Our own internal BSR baserunning metric grades him out really, really highly. And then, he's just a really good defender. Really good swing decisions. Could not have asked for more out of a player in his first year, and young for the class."

An undrafted free agent out of West Virginia University in 2021, McIntosh produced a 1.021 OPS in a small sample of 23 games for Single-A Jupiter. The 24-year-old spent '22 at Double-A, where he set nearly every offensive record for a catcher in Pensacola history. There are questions as to whether Miami's No. 30 prospect can remain behind the plate.

The 25-year-old improved his K/9 (10.04) and BB/9 (2.25) at High-A Beloit across 20 starts, posting a 1.04 WHIP. Miami's No. 25 prospect boasts high fastball spin rates and a herky-jerky delivery, making him difficult to hit (.218 average against).

2 possible breakout players to watch in 2023

Signed for $3.5 million in January 2021, Cappé began his pro career with a decent showing in the DSL and followed that up by being named the 2022 Player of the Year as part of the Marlins' player development awards. In his first full season, the 20-year-old Cuban received a promotion to Single-A Jupiter after recording an .881 OPS at the Florida Complex League. Though Cappé experienced a drop-off (.679 OPS), Miami's No. 6 prospect faced competition more than two years older. At 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds, Cappé may outgrow shortstop, as he has split time with third base.

"Overall, just the maturity," director of Minor League operations Hector Crespo said. "I think last year, he kind of put some pressure on himself. This year, he settled into who he really was. His at-bats were great, defensively he got so much better. That guy can just hit. I was a little worried about him going to [Single-A], but he went out there and just did what he did. So [we’re] really happy with him."

RHP Jorge Mercedes

The 22-year-old pitched at three levels in 2022, beginning at the FCL (2.63 ERA) and concluding at Double-A (3.86 ERA). While he recorded 55 strikeouts in 31 innings, he also issued 22 walks. Mercedes, whose fastball sits in the upper 90s and can touch triple digits, is competing in the Arizona Fall League.

1 big question for next season

Can the Marlins develop hitting? At this point, it sounds like a broken record. As successful as Miami has been at producing arms, the same cannot be said for bats. Position-player prospects have struggled to varying degrees in the Minors and the Majors. Can that change? As of now, there isn't an impact bat on the horizon.