Harrison, other top prospects wrap up seasons

Guzman, Diaz also progressed with new organization

September 5th, 2018
JOSHUA TJIONG

MIAMI -- As several highly rated Marlins prospects get a taste of the big leagues in September, another wave of them recently wrapped up their Minor League seasons. Topping the list is outfielder , ranked by MLB Pipeline as Miami's No. 1 prospect (76th overall in the Top 100).

Harrison, 23, finished up his first full season in the Marlins' organization, spending all of it at Double-A Jacksonville.

A power and speed threat, Harrison belted 19 home runs and stole 28 bases to go along with a slash line of .240/.316/.399 with a .715 OPS.

In the offseason, the Marlins will add Harrison to their 40-man roster, and he will participate in the Arizona Fall League.

"We're very happy with how Monte was able to finish his first full season at Double-A," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "We think he's a tremendous talent. We're going to continue to give him regular work and continue his development."

Acquired from the Brewers as part of the trade, Harrison could be ready to make the leap to the big leagues at some point next season. The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder, who was a three-sport standout in high school, will most likely open the year at either Jacksonville or Triple-A New Orleans.

This was a transitional season for Harrison, who made adjustments with his swing. There's a concern with swings and misses, as he struck out 215 times in 521 at-bats. His strikeout percentage was 36.9. Conversely, he did walk 7.5 percent of the time.

"With him, we know we're working on cutting the strikeouts down," Hill said. "But his overall approach has definitely improved from where he was at the beginning of the season to where he is right now. We hope to continue that progress in the Fall League."

Harrison improved as the season progressed, batting .266 with six home runs, eight RBIs and nine walks in August.

"The Fall League is just a tremendous opportunity for young players to play against the best talent in baseball," Hill said. "It's an opportunity for us to continue to allow him to play deeper into the offseason."

The season also came to a close for hard-throwing right-hander Jorge Guzman, a key pickup from the Yankees in the trade. The 22-year-old is Miami's No. 5 prospect, and he spent the season at Class A Advanced Jupiter.

Guzman made 21 starts there, striking out 101 in 96 innings. Also eye-catching is the 0-9 record, which is deceptive considering how he pitched. He had an ERA of 4.03.

"You look at all of his metrics, all of his rates, he had a tremendous season," Hill said. "Obviously, wins and losses are what the general public sees, but in terms of the progress that he made in developing himself as a complete pitcher, we're very pleased with the progress that he made."

, the organization's eighth-ranked prospect, made the jump from Double-A to Triple-A New Orleans. A left-handed-hitting second baseman, Diaz has an advanced approach. The 22-year-old had a combined slash line for the season of .232/.340/.399 with 13 home runs and 56 RBIs.

Also part of the Yelich trade with the Brewers, Diaz could see big league time at second base in 2019.

"In his situation, we had an opportunity at Triple-A," Hill said. "He was swinging the bat well at Double-A, so we thought it was a nice way to challenge him. You see a young player with a tremendous offensive approach who is making great strides."

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Worth noting

• Jimmy Rollins, the former All-Star shortstop with the Phillies, is the cousin of shortstop prospect Osiris Johnson, Miami's second-round pick in this June's Draft. The 17-year-old is the Marlins' No. 13 prospect, and he reached Class A Greensboro. Rollins worked with Johnson before his senior season at Encinal High School in Alameda, Calif.

"He's never seen that level of competition before," Rollins said. "He's seen high school. He's seen guys his age, but he hasn't faced guys who have played three years of SEC baseball, ACC baseball, Pac 12 baseball. Guys who are seasoned, compared to a 17-year-old coming out of high school, who hasn't seen anything 97 [mph], especially on a consistent basis. Everybody throws hard."

Rollins, who now lives in Tampa, was in Miami this week as an invited guest of the Phillies.

• Catcher Will Banfield, Miami's No. 7 prospect, ended his season on the seven-day disabled list at Greensboro. Banfield took a foul ball off his foot, and rather than take any chances, he was shut down. The 18-year-old was Miami's Competitive Balance Round B selection.

• The Marlins will do something different this season with their instructional leagues. They will have two sessions: Starting Sept. 12 and running through the first week of October, selected Minor Leaguers will participate in an instructional league at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex in Jupiter. A second instructional league will take place in October and run into the first week of November in the Dominican Republic.