With 'room to grow,' Monte not on OD roster

July 21st, 2020

MIAMI -- The Marlins foresee a bright big league future for outfield prospect Monte Harrison, but it’s just not going to begin on Opening Day.

On Tuesday's Zoom call, manager Don Mattingly said Harrison will not be making the 30-man roster. After the two exhibition games in Atlanta on Tuesday and Wednesday, the 24-year-old will be heading to the club’s alternate training site in Jupiter, Fla.

The Marlins open the regular season on Friday against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

The decision is not that surprising because Harrison had not been projected to be in the starting outfield. is locked in at left field, is scheduled to be in center and won the right-field job after a strong Summer Camp.

Miami could have carried Harrison as a primary center-field backup, playing occasionally, but the organization feels that wasn’t its best course of action with their ninth-ranked prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. is an option to play center if Villar is used in the infield or as the designated hitter.

Harrison made a strong showing in Summer Camp, but the club didn’t feel he is quite ready.

“If he would have been showing us the consistency of contact and smoking balls, at-bat after at-bat,” Mattingly said of what perhaps could've made the decision different. “I don’t want to bash Monte, because I think Monte is going to be a great player, but he punched out eight straight times in our Summer Camp. So it’s not exactly like every ball was getting squared up. He’s got room to grow.”

Overall, Harrison did show he’s capable of being a game-changing player with his power, speed and defense. He also uncorked a couple of impressive home runs.

Asked about tapping into his power, Harrison said: “Just getting ready to hit. Getting good pitches to hit. Don’t miss them.”

Defensively, Harrison also was a standout.

“We just think this is the best thing for Monte,” Mattingly said. “But absolutely, if he came in here and had been our best hitter, and showed us that at-bat after at-bat after at-bat that this guy is just absolutely ready, then I think he would have knocked the door straight down, and he’d be here.”

The same can be true of two of the Marlins’ other Top 10 prospects.

Outfielder Jesús Sánchez (No. 4) and first baseman Lewin Díaz (No. 7) also will be headed to Jupiter after the Atlanta trip.

Whether it was Spring Training or Summer Camp, Harrison certainly has moved closer to making his MLB debut. In his eyes, he emphatically says that he is ready.

“One hundred percent,” Harrison said on Zoom. “I feel I prepared myself mentally and physically to be in the big leagues.”

To convince the organization, he has to show more consistent contact. At Triple-A last year, he had a slash line of .274/.357/.451 with nine home runs and 20 stolen bases. His strikeout rate was 29.9 percent.

“I think I’m ready for the big leagues,” Harrison said. “Actually, I don’t think I’m ready, I know I’m ready. Whenever it is time for me to step on the field and play, I’ll be ready to play.”

Jazz battling back
Getting a late start in Summer Camp eliminated any realistic chance of Jazz Chisholm making the Opening Day roster, but the Marlins' No. 3 prospect is on the Atlanta trip, and he will return to Jupiter when the big league club travels to Philadelphia.

The Marlins didn’t say why Chisholm was not part of camp early, but the left-handed-hitting shortstop noted on Tuesday’s Zoom call that he was quarantined.

“I didn’t even think I had the virus at all,” Chisholm said, noting that he had to wait for two negative test results to be able to get back on the field. He also said he didn’t have any virus-like symptoms.

Mattingly said Chisholm is mostly in Atlanta for depth, and he might get an at-bat or two.

“It’s mentally tough to go through,” Chisholm said of not being able to play. “You just have to fight through every day, even though you’re not allowed to leave your room, or wherever you’re at.”

Chisholm has faced live pitching in recent days, and says he is quickly getting up to speed.

“My timing feels great,” he said. “I don’t think I missed a beat, at all.”

Draft picks update
The Marlins signed Ball State right-hander Kyle Nicolas (Competitive Balance Round B), Coastal Carolina right-hander Zach McCambley (third) and University of Southern California right-hander Kyle Hurt (fifth). McCambley has a 90-96 mph fastball, and he will make $775,000, which is under the $831,100 value for the 75th pick. Hurt, whose fastball has reached 97 mph, signed for $418,200. The value of the 134th pick is $300,000.

Up next
The Marlins close out their two exhibition games with the Braves at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday at Truist Park. will start for Miami, and Atlanta is scheduled to start Kyle Wright.