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Prospects visit Marlins Park to get a feel of bigs

September 22, 2018

MIAMI -- As part of their final homestand weekend, the Marlins are recognizing and introducing several of their Minor Leaguers to the big league experience.On Friday night, Miami's Minor League MVPs and their instructional league team visited Marlins Park, with some prospects participating in batting practice with the Marlins before

MIAMI -- As part of their final homestand weekend, the Marlins are recognizing and introducing several of their Minor Leaguers to the big league experience.
On Friday night, Miami's Minor League MVPs and their instructional league team visited Marlins Park, with some prospects participating in batting practice with the Marlins before they faced the Reds.
Prospects mingled with the players in the clubhouse, and they interacted with manager Don Mattingly and the coaches.
"Donnie and staff were gracious enough to let them out on the field, and take batting practice with the big leaguers," Marlins vice president of player development and scouting Gary Denbo said. "We have some young guys, Rookie League players who have never been out on this field before. It's a tremendous experience, it means a lot."
MLB.com looks at four prospects who have shown potential at various levels:
Right-handed pitcher Nick Neidert : The 21-year-old is Miami's Minor League Pitcher of the Year, and No. 3 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. Acquired from the Mariners in the Dee Gordon trade, Neidert went 12-7 with a 3.24 ERA at Double-A with 154 strikeouts in 152 2/3 innings.
Neidert will compete for a big league rotation spot in Spring Training, but likely will open at Triple-A New Orleans next year.
Neidert's goals?
"Just be a better pitcher than I was this year," he said. "I know I have stuff I need to work on. Stuff I need to do to keep taking steps in the right direction."
Second baseman Isan Diaz: Acquired from the Brewers in the Christian Yelich deal, the 22-year-old was promoted from Double-A Jacksonville to Triple-A New Orleans. His slash line was .232/.340/.399 with 13 home runs and 56 RBIs. According to the Marlins' advanced analytics, Diaz put 9 percent of the balls in play at 105 mph or higher. The league average at Double-A is 7 percent.
"Absolutely. I was told a little more about that," Diaz said of his hard contact rates. "Stay the same. Don't worry about the results, and just go out there and stick to an approach, and let everything else take on its own. Everything worked out."
This offseason, Diaz, Miami's No. 8-ranked prospect, will represent Team Puerto Rico in Colombia during the U-23 Baseball World Cup 2018.
Shortstop Jose Devers: Regarded as the Marlins' shortstop of the future, the 18-year-old advanced this season from low Class A Greensboro to Class A Advanced Jupiter. The left-handed hitter finished .272/.313/.330 with 12 doubles and four triples. Devers was part of the Giancarlo Stanton trade with the Yankees, and he is Miami's No. 12 prospect. He was one of the younger players in the Florida State League.
"I was kind of surprised because it was a league you don't see many 18-year-olds in," Devers said through an interpreter. "But I knew what I've been working on, and I knew what I was capable of."
Devers finished the Minor League season on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis. He is participating in the instructional league, hitting and fielding, but not making long throws.
"My main offseason plan is taking care of my body and my arm," Devers said. "Obviously, I've got to do some things to improve offensively and defensively. But my main priority is taking care of my body and my arm."
Left-handed pitcher Luis Palacios: The left-hander from Venezuela posted impressive numbers in the Dominican Summer League. The 18-year-old was 8-0 with a 0.85 ERA, striking out 62 in 63 2/3 innings. His most telling statistic is just four walks.
"One of the things I do before the game is focus a lot on the strike zone," Palacios said through an interpreter. "I want to get ahead in the counts, and after that, I can go for the strikeout."
Palacios' fastball maxed at 91 mph, but he pitches in the 88-89 mph range. He credits his success to an improved curveball and changeup.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.