It has finally arrived! Baseball America has assembled its annual list of the Top 100 prospects in baseball. The primary scouting publisher notes ‘The lack of a minor league season or scouting access at teams’ alternate training sites added some difficulty’. Now it is time to list the 2021 Miami Marlins roster with their noted prospects.
According to scouts, there was a bevy of new information to sort through as teams invited top prospects to their alternate site and instructional leagues, an opportunity for, in some cases, scouts to finally get a look at other organizations. The Miami Marlins are known for their strong farm system year after year. The most recent selloff in 2017 has provided them with a handful of top prospects. Miami has also made strategic use of Int’l sign pool money. We see many former prospects currently on Miami’s roster.
Baseball America’s list produced a final product that “contains plenty of players with extraordinarily loud sets of tools. Grades from 60 (plus) to 80 (elite) abound throughout, giving the prospects on the list a chance at extremely bright futures.”
The Miami Marlins have six players in the top 100 and a handful on the cusp. The 2020 MLB season was filled with surprises but the Miami Marlins making the postseason and advancing took the cake. Adding top-level talent to their 40-man roster may be the way the 2021 Miami Marlins roster competes with the likes of Atlanta and New York.
Before Ng’s arrival, the Marlins solidified the CF position, by picking up Marte’s $12.5M option, and the batting order by acquiring Starling Marte from Arizona for Caleb Smith, Humberto Mejia, and Julio Frias. That same day they flipped Jonathan Villar to Toronto for a player to be named later, which was a home-coming of a sort as it brought Mr. Marlin’s son to Miami, outfield prospect Griffin Conine.
The consensus is that the Marlins’ top prospects of 2021 are JJ Bleday and Sixto Sanchez.
2021 Miami Marlins Roster: 2021 Top 100 Prospects
JJ Bleday was Vanderbilt’s best hitter as a sophomore in 2018 but didn’t start to tap into his power potential until that summer when scouts voted him the top prospect in the Cape Cod League. Those are high praise. This league is considered the premier amateur summer league. Bleday followed up by top NCAA Division I with 27 homers and 192 total bases and leading the Commodores to their second College World Series title. The Marlins snagged him at No. 4 and signing for a then-Marlins-record $6.67 million, he proceeded straight to high Class A.
Bleday first emerged as an advanced hitter with a sweet left-handed stroke and a disciplined, all-fields approach. He has since added power and continues to finetune this combination. One scout emphasizes his bat speed, strength, and leverage which result in power to all parts of the ballpark.
My favorite positive is that he walked more than he struck out in each of his three seasons at Vanderbilt. Translating this to the major will be key in his success. The only hole in his offensive game is his lack of speed and baserunning IQ. Baseball America gives the skinny “The Marlins’ rebuild has picked up speed, and Bleday is part of the next wave of solid prospects that could help the team keep up in the competitive NL East.”
I mentioned Max Meyer in my last article, the No.3 pick by Miami in the 2020 MLB amateur draft. Miami viewed Meyer as “the most athletic college pitcher in this draft with the most electric stuff”. He ended up striking out 46 in 27 2/3 innings. Max shares a connection with Hall of Famer Paul Molitor (1977) as the highest pick in Golden Gophers history. Baseball America ranks him behind JJ Bleday at No. 44. They provide this “Skinny: The minute he signed his first pro contract, Meyer had one of the best sliders among pro prospects, and his fastball is impressive too.”
Cabrera is a ‘late bloomer’. Coming out of the DR, Cabrera went unsigned during the 2014-15 international period. The Miami Marlins took a flier, offering a $100,000 signing bonus in July 2015. That is peanuts when compared to most int’l signings. Cabrera made a splash in his 2016 pro debut, leading teams to inquire about him. His first three seasons were underwhelming and trade talks cooled off. In 2019, he logged a 2.23 ERA, .190 opponent average, and 116 strikeouts in 96 2/3 innings while advancing to Double-A at age 21.
Cabrera’s fastball clocks in with an average of 93-97 mph fastball; touching triple digits at times. His frame helps generate a lot of groundballs. Scouts are excited that he developed a more consistent slider last season; maintaining speed while adding bite. One note on his scouting profile mentions “better job of maintaining velocity separation between his fastball and changeup, which has become a solid third offering.”
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