JUPITER, Fla. -- After months of training and conditioning, Marlins top prospect Victor Victor Mesa took some swings Monday on the main field at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. The 22-year-old outfielder from Cuba made a strong first impression.Mesa was one of nine hitting prospects invited to a three-day camp, which
JUPITER, Fla. -- After months of training and conditioning, Marlins top prospect Victor Victor Mesa took some swings Monday on the main field at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. The 22-year-old outfielder from Cuba made a strong first impression.
Mesa was one of nine hitting prospects invited to a three-day camp, which is being supervised by Gary Denbo, Miami's vice president of player development and scouting.
"He's in great shape," Denbo said of Mesa. "He had a great BP. The tools that he brings to the table are obvious. He's very serious about his work. He's done a lot of work with his trainers. It's obvious the work he's done has prepared him for Spring Training."
Ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Marlins' No. 1 prospect, Mesa was rated as the top international prospect when he signed along with his younger brother, Victor Mesa Jr., in October.
Since joining the Marlins, Mesa and his 17-year-old brother have trained together. But they didn't participate in winter ball, and they haven't seen organized game action since defecting from Cuba.
"I feel very anxious," Mesa said through an interpreter. "After all, what makes a player a player is the game. I'm looking forward to doing that."
The elder Mesa will be a non-roster invitee when the Marlins open Spring Training with pitchers and catchers workouts on Feb. 13 in Jupiter. Full-squad drills get underway five days later.
The Marlins plan on giving Mesa plenty of at-bats in the spring. To expedite the process, Mesa -- as well as other hitters -- will spend time in the bullpen tracking pitches when they aren't playing.
When the season opens, Mesa likely will start off either at Class A Advanced Jupiter or Double-A Jacksonville.
Mesa understands he carries high expectations, especially being a promising star from Cuba living in Miami, which has a large Cuban population.
"I enjoy the Cuban community, it's one of the things I enjoy the most," Mesa said of South Florida. "But also I feel the pressure. They're expecting a lot from me. I want to work with the Marlins' organization, work and try to make everything they expect from me happen."
Because this is his first season of professional baseball in the United States, and the fact he is not on the 40-man roster, Mesa isn't expected to be with the Marlins on Opening Day. Still, it will be a big Spring Training for him to showcase his talents to the organization and big league staff.
"There is great expectations, but I'm just going to focus on working hard, getting better," Mesa said. "I'm going to start knowing everybody in the organization, and going from there."
Among the hitting prospects at the camp were Mesa, Mesa Jr., No. 2 prospect Monte Harrison, infielders Joe Dunand (No. 23), James Nelson (No. 15), Justin Twine and Riley Mahan (No. 26) and outfielders Corey Bird and Milton Smith Jr.
Marlins hitting coach Mike Pagliarulo, assistant hitting coach Jeff Livesey and new Minor League hitting coordinator Eric Duncan are among the instructors at the camp.
This marks the third camp for hitters the Marlins have held in the offseason but the first with the Mesa brothers in attendance.
The elder Mesa is wearing No. 32, the number his father, Victor Mesa Sr., wore during his playing days in Cuba.
"He's got speed. He can fly in the outfield," Denbo said. "His defensive abilities are very good. His throwing arm is very good. We think he's going to hit for a high average. What remains to be seen is if he hits for power or not.
"With that being said, with all that tool package, he's got limited experience in professional baseball. So he's got some work to do. It isn't easy to get to the Major League level. It's even more difficult to stay at the Major League level."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.