The Miami Marlins made another move ahead of the deadline on Friday night. Let’s take a look at the top prospect acquired from the New York Mets.
If the Miami Marlins are able to get the most out of their newest young right-hander, they’ll look back favorably at this trade. The team acquired two players from the New York Mets in exchange for their right-handed closer AJ Ramos.
The headlining prospect in the deal for the Marlins is Merandy Gonzalez. They also received center fielder Ricardo Cespedes in the exchange, a toolsy outfielder with potential. We’ll be looking at him later on. For now, lets dive in on Gonzalez.
While he’s likely still several years away from being Major League ready, Gonzalez possesses all the tools you look for in a pitching prospect.
With a live arm that manages to run the ball up into the upper-90’s, topping out around 97 mph. He lives around 93 mph without needing to go max effort and maintains his velocity deep into starts. As it stands, his heater is his best pitch.
He also possesses a plus curveball. The combination of the two pitches is effective, but he’ll need to develop another pitch to stay in the starting rotation. The Mets saw him as a starter, and he has appeared in that role exclusively since 2016.
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His change up continues to develop, and there is reasonable optimism that it will become a plus pitch in time. He needs to throw it more. Expect Miami Marlins pitching coaches to help that along.
Where he’ll need to show the most improvement is his control. He struggles to locate in the strike zone and leaves pitches over the plate.
Make up of Merandy Gonzalez
Gonzalez isn’t big on the mound. Standing at 6-foot-1, and weighing in at 216-pounds, his size doesn’t intimidate. But he pitches with intensity and goes after hitters without fear.
With a repeatable, low-stress delivery, his control should improve with experience. It also bodes well for his ability to stay out of injury trouble. He projects to stay in the starting rotation as long as he continue to improve on a third pitch and his command.
He gave the Mets no reason to move him off that role. This season, he’s pitched to a 12-3 record over 106 innings and has gone at least five innings in every start he’s made. His average game score of 61 is indicative of a pitcher that is regularly above average.
MLB has him ranked as the sixth best prospect in a quickly improving Miami Marlins system. They estimate his arrival with the pro club somewhere in 2020, though 2019 is a possibility. Gonzalez is already 21, and will be 22 at the start of next season.
Given his rapid improvement over the last two years, continuing at the same rate could allow him to make a push out of spring training sooner rather than later.