What the GCL Marlins Taught the Miami Marlins

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 25: A detailed view of Marlins Park during the game between the Miami Marlins and the Arizona Diamondbacks at Marlins Park on June 25, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 25: A detailed view of Marlins Park during the game between the Miami Marlins and the Arizona Diamondbacks at Marlins Park on June 25, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The Miami Marlins minor league feeder system runs seven teams deep. They have two rookie-level teams. We went over the DSL Marlins yesterday. Today we’ll take a look at the GCL Marlins.

Led by John Pachot at manager, the Marlins clawed their way to a 25-31 record for the 13th best record in the 18-team Gulf Coast League. They finished 15 games out of the money, ranking third in the five-team GCL East Division.

The Gulf Coast League is normally home to recently drafted players, a few transfers from the DSL from the season prior, and assorted rehab assigned players from higher levels.

The Hitting

Most of Miami’s recent draftees made appearances with the GCL at the start of their season, on June 18th. That’s just 14 days after the start of the 2018 draft. That first game would see the GCL Marlins win a 6-3 decision over the GCL Nationals. Daniel Paulino was two-for-five with a double and an RBI, Connor Grant and Walner Espinal were each two-for-four with a walk, and Ronal Reynoso reached base three times in four plate appearances. On the mound, barely-still-25 Jameson McGrane pitched in his first ever professional contest, striking out two and earning a save in an inning of work.

2018 Draftees

Before long, top draftees Connor Scott, Osiris Johnson, Will Banfield, Tristan Pompey, and Nick Fortes also joined the club. Davis Bradshaw, an 11th rounder, led the team with a .376/.453/.484 slashline and 15 stolen bases in 27 contests. Omar Lebron, who paced the DSL Marlins with 29 steals in 2017, led the GCL Marlins with six home runs in 2018.

Pompey was the first to go, after going three-for-12 with an RBI and three walks in four games. He was bound for the middle-A Greensboro Grasshoppers, and ultimately made his way to the high-A Jupiter Hammerheads.

Scott (27 games, .223/.319/.311, eight RBI, eight SB), Johnson (25 games, .301/.333/.447, 13 RBI), and Banfield (24 games, .256/.330/.378, 14 RBI) soon after followed Pompey to the Hoppers. Fortes (11 games, .200/.311/.257) was promoted to the Batavia Muckdogs last week.

Jorge Caballero

Leading the club with 160 at bats, Jorge Caballero slashed out a .300/.408/.363 line. He should continue his progression through the Miami Marlins system next season, starting with either the Muckdogs or the Grasshoppers.

Walner Espinal

Joining Caballero from the DSL, Espinal slashed .252/.308/.377 in 45 games for GCL this year. He drew 11 walks but struck out 46 times in 151 at bats. He also clubbed three homers with a team-leading 26 RBI.

The Pitching

Josh Roberson

Right-handed pitcher Josh Roberson was the Miami Marlins 12th round choice in 2017, and didn’t appear in any capacity with the organization at any point during that year. After his full recovery from Tommy John Surgery this season, he was the best starting pitcher for the GCL Marlins, with a 0.94 WHIP.

Roberson, a Winston-Salem, NC native, started eight games and appeared three times in relief. He racked up a 5-3 record and a sparkling 1.06 ERA, striking out 31 and walking only 12 in 42 1/3 innings. In a 31 inning span from July 8th through August 17th, he allowed only 15 hits and three earned runs over 113 plate appearances. Overall, opposing batters slashed just .182/.239/.235 against him. He was absolute murder against lefties, holding them to a .123/.167/.175 slashline in 60 plate appearances. Roberson was promoted to the Muckdogs last Friday, and was impressive at the higher level. He earned the win, allowing three hits, zero walks, and one run over five innings.

George Soriano

George Soriano was another DSL expatriate for the GCL Marlins. In 11 games, opponents collected an anemic 0.87 WHIP against him. A native of San Pedro de Macoris, DR, he sat out the 2017 season with an injury.

A 2-1 record and a 1.91 ERA just touches the surface of Soriano’s season. He struck out 36 batters and walked only nine in 42 1/3 innings. Although he only started three times, he never pitched fewer than 2 2/3 innings. From August 3rd through 20th, he held batters to one run on seven hits and a walk over 18 2/3 innings, striking out 14. Overall, his opponents slashed .183/.246/.248 in 167 plate appearances.

More from Marlins Prospects

Tyler Jones

A Hays, KS native, righty Jones was a 26th round selection for the Miami Marlins in 2018. He played in 12 games in relief for the GCL Marlins, and struck out a head shaking 25 in 18 innings. Opponents managed 10 hits and only three walks against him during that time for a 0.72 WHIP.

Jones was 1-1 with a 2.00 ERA, and opponents scratched out a .159/.191/.222 slashline against him in 68 plate appearances. He was literally untouchable in road games. Opponents were 0-for-23 with two walks in that situation. Also against left-handers. They were a collective 0-for-17 with one walk and nine strikeouts.

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