Latest on Marlins' top prospects in Minors

October 19th, 2021

MIAMI -- In late August, MLB Pipeline ranked the Marlins' farm system as No. 3 -- a far cry from when the organization stood as one of the game's worst in 2017. There are layers of pitching talent, and many of the position players rebounded from slow starts to finish the '21 season strong.

In Year Four of the Bruce Sherman-Derek Jeter regime, some of those youngsters -- from NL Rookie of the Year candidate Trevor Rogers to slugger Jesús Sánchez -- showed that despite the growing pains there is plenty of promise. They figure to be key pieces as the Marlins try to evolve from builders to perennial contenders.

"There's no better feeling for us in player development than watching our guys graduate to the Major Leagues and watching them perform and having success at this level," said Geoff DeGroot, director of Minor League operations.

Below is a Minors report on the Marlins:

3 players who forced their way onto the radar this year

RHP Eury Perez
Ranked as Miami's No. 6 prospect, Perez posted a 1.61 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP in 56 innings at Low-A Jupiter to begin his professional career. That 15-start stretch garnered him the honor of Top MLB Prospect in the Low-A Southeast. The 18-year-old was then promoted to High-A Beloit, where he recorded a 2.86 ERA across five starts against competition more than five years older than him.

Perez has grown four inches and added 45 pounds to his 6-foot-8, 200-pound frame since signing. His velocity reached 97 mph this season, and he shows feel for spinning a curveball and some aptitude for using a changeup, according to MLB Pipeline. Perez projects to reach the Majors in 2024.

"Just honestly truly incredible," DeGroot said. "You sign these guys -- nobody really knows what they're going to debut like -- and he definitely came on and made a big splash. He's the one that really stands out for me."

LHP Jake Eder
Not as heralded as Max Meyer (MLB Pipeline's No. 30 overall prospect), Eder was among the Double-A South leaders in several pitching categories, including ERA (1.77) and strikeouts (99), prior to undergoing Tommy John surgery in August. The 2020 fourth-round pick participated in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on July 11 at Coors Field and earned Double-A South Postseason All-Star honors, catapulting him to No. 7 on Miami's prospect rankings.

Eder, who turned 23 on Oct. 9, showcased the consistency that he lacked at Vanderbilt. He maintained the velocity on his four-seam fastball (93-96 mph), and his slider gave him a second plus pitch. Eder also had improved feel for a changeup. Unfortunately, the surgery will keep him out for the 2022 season.

INF Ian Lewis
Lewis, who received the highest bonus ($950K) for any player from the Bahamas in the 2019 international class, began his professional career by slashing .302/.354/.497 in 43 games en route to Florida Complex League MVP. He played second base, with some time at third base and shortstop.

The 18-year-old continues to fill out at 6-foot, 175 pounds. With well-above-average speed (65 grade), Miami's No. 26 prospect can be a basestealing threat (nine in 2021) and has a sound stroke with bat-to-ball skills to hit for average.

2 possible breakout players to watch in 2022

OF Osiris Johnson
A second-round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, Johnson has had a disjointed professional career after missing '19 because of right leg surgery and there being no '20 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He struggled at Low-A Jupiter to open '21 (.429 OPS), then went down to the Florida Complex League, where the Marlins converted the middle infielder. Johnson saw results (1.007 OPS), and upon his return to the Hammerheads, he tallied a .681 OPS in 28 games.

"Once we made that transition, he really took off and hit the ground running," DeGroot said. "I really expect Osiris to get off to a strong start next year. He finished strong this year. We could not be prouder of him, handling the transition the way he did."

Johnson, who turned 21 on Oct. 18, ranks as Miami's No. 25 prospect. According to MLB Pipeline, he has a penchant for hard contact and solid-to-plus raw power, drawing comparisons to Howie Kendrick. With advanced instincts and a quick first step, Johnson's speed should play up in the outfield.

OF Kameron Misner
While JJ Bleday and Peyton Burdick (Double-A South Postseason All-Star) may have started 2021 with Pensacola, Misner closed out his campaign there on a strong note: .309/.387/.491 in 14 games. The '19 Competitive Balance Round A pick began the season at High-A Beloit, where he posted just a .715 OPS through the first three months.

The 23-year-old has well-above-average raw power, bat speed and leverage in his left-handed swing. With plus speed and basestealing acumen, MLB Pipeline believes he could be a 30-30 player with consistent contact. Misner and Bleday are representing the Marlins at the Arizona Fall League.

1 big question for next season

Remember Sixto Sánchez? The highly touted prospect made his Major League debut in 2020, garnering Pedro Martinez comparisons and sporting a triple-digit fastball to go along with an elite changeup.

After a couple of false starts during Spring Training, the Marlins expected Sánchez to join them on their first road trip. But he experienced right shoulder discomfort during a simulated game in Jacksonville, Fla., and an MRI revealed inflammation. Over the ensuing months, Sánchez made little progress in his rehab and another MRI revealed a small tear in the posterior capsule. He underwent arthroscopic surgery, ending his season before throwing a pitch for the Marlins.

Miami anticipates the 23-year-old to be ready to participate in Spring Training in 2022, but how will he look? It can be argued that there is more uncertainty for pitchers coming back from shoulder rather than Tommy John procedures. Sánchez also missed most of '18 with right elbow inflammation, so health has been an issue in the past. Can the Marlins rely on him contributing this upcoming season? His good friend and fellow Top 100 prospect Edward Cabrera overcame early arm trouble to debut in late August. An already talented starting staff could reach another level if Sánchez is healthy.