This Marlins prospect hit for the cycle

April 23rd, 2023

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.

One week after Luis Arraez became the first Marlin to hit for the cycle, Miami's No. 14 prospect  accomplished the feat for Double-A Pensacola in Tuesday's 10-4 loss to Birmingham. Until this month, neither ballplayer had previously done so in his career.

Funny enough, Arraez played for the Blue Wahoos in 2019, when they were still part of the Twins' organization. Mesa joined Donald Lutz (April 21, 2014) as the second Pensacola ballplayer to hit for the cycle.

"I wasn't even thinking about it," Mesa told "I'm not even going to lie. I was doing good because I came from a good week in Biloxi. But it wasn't even my best day hitting in batting practice, you know what I mean? I just got to the game, and I said, 'OK, be ready to hit the fastball, stay to the middle.' And it just happened."

The 21-year-old Cuban produced an RBI single in the first, a double in the fourth and a triple in the sixth. Mesa's older brother, Víctor Víctor, who also is on the team, was the first person to tell him to hit a bomb leading up to the cycle-clinching at-bat. Mesa obliged, sending the first pitch from Vince Vannelle over the right-center wall at an estimated 407 feet from home plate, with two outs in the eighth. Despite Pensacola being down seven runs, Mesa's teammates cheered him on as he rounded the bases.

According to MLB Pipeline's scouting report, the left-handed-hitting Mesa uses the entire field and makes consistent contact, but he will need to add muscle and lift the ball more if he wants to knock 15-20 homers per season. Mesa did just that to secure the cycle.

"I was ready to go," Mesa said. "I knew what I had to do. I didn't try to do crazy things or whatever, just trying to do the same thing that I was doing in the ABs before. Thank God I got in front of the ball and let the ball fly."

In his first stint at the Double-A level, Mesa has gotten off to a nice start. Following the cycle, he was batting a team-high .395 with a 1.147 OPS through nine games. Mesa credits his teammates for helping him acclimate to new stadiums and cities. The center fielder also has stuck to the routine and approach that works best for him. Mesa is adjusting to fewer mistakes made by pitchers, something he knew would be the case because the talent gets better at every level you advance.

"It's baseball at the end of the day," said Mesa, who joked he didn't miss the cold weather at High-A Beloit, where he receives pictures of snow from Marlins No. 7 prospect Yiddi Cappe. "I keep playing baseball. I know it's a little harder than the other years because of the upper levels, but keep going, keep working hard. Someone asked me [Tuesday] how I feel [about the cycle]. I said, 'OK. It happened already. Tomorrow will be the next day, so I need to keep working and keep improving.'"

His early success is a continuation of the spring. Though he wasn't a non-roster invitee to big league camp, Mesa appeared in seven Grapefruit League games and made the most of it. He went 5-for-11 (.455) and belted a walk-off homer against the Astros. That taste of the Major Leagues left him wanting more.

"I'm not even thinking of numbers," Mesa said. "That's something that maybe when I was younger I was thinking on it, but at the end of the day, sometimes numbers could be luck. What I've got on my mind is hit the ball, take a good pitch that would be uncomfortable for me, and that's it.

"Every baseball player wants to get to big baseball, obviously. I would like to be in Miami one day, but that's something that I'm going to have to prove to them. That's what I've been working all my life. Keep working hard and one day [it could happen]. That's my goal: Get to the bigs. But obviously it's a process."