I had the opportunity to watch the Jacksonville Suns play the Chattanooga Lookouts on Sunday evening in Chattanooga, TN. I was excited about this since the Miami Marlins AA team has been on a roll lately and are currently leading the Southern League’s South division. Jacksonville is also the home of quite a few of the Marlins current top prospects and I wanted to get the chance to see them in person. I must say that the young players did not disappoint. The Suns were victorious over the Los Angeles Dodgers AA team by a score of 6-4. Chattanooga has been struggling lately, particularly with the departure of Yasiel Puig to the big league club. The beginning of this game did not alter that story line.
The Suns sent prospect Anthony DeSclafani to the hill. DeSclafani is the Marlin’s 15th ranked prospect according to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com. The Marlins acquired DeSclafani in the blockbuster trade with the Toronto Blue Jays this off-season. DeSclafani was very impressive on the night. He was rarely in trouble until he reached the 6th inning, where he gave up a 2 run homerun. His ability to miss bats was very evident as he struck out 9 hitters through 5.2 innings of work. He did have 3 walks and a hit-by-pitch on the evening, which I believe is more of an aberration then any real concern as he has only given up 22 free passes in 116.1 innings this season. DeSclafani exhibited a low to mid 90′s fastball with good movement on the night. The current state of young Marlins pitchers are very impressive when taken into account all of the young arms currently on the big league roster, as well as the 6 pitching prospects currently ranked ahead of DeSclafani. I believe that Anthony could be a bottom of the rotation pitcher in Majors in a couple of years.
I was also very interested to see the trio of Derek Dietrich, Zack Cox, and J.T. Realmuto. We have seen Dietrich’s power during his short stint in the majors already and in the first inning Dietrich did not disappoint. He took the first pitch he saw to the deepest part of the park in straightaway centerfield where it was caught on the warning track. Dietrich went 1 for 3 with a run scored and an RBI on the night. Zack Cox went 1 for 3 with a walk. His highlight moment was during the second when he laced a double the opposite way down the left field line. It was a beautiful piece of hitting and set the table for the star of the night, J.T. Realmuto. Realmuto followed Cox’s double with a 3 run homer over the left field fence to give the Suns an early 3-0 lead. J.T. went 1 for 2 with a walk, a run, and 4 RBI’s on the night. He showed excellent patience at the plate and when he got pitches he liked, he was able to really square up the baseball. All 3 showed the ability to work the count throughout the evening and have professional at bats.
After watching the Suns play in person, I am even more convinced that the Marlins are in good position moving forward. They have many valuable assets in young prospects and judging from the Jacksonville Suns, the future looks bright in Miami.