Throughout the 2018/2019 offseason, Marlin Maniac will devote one article each for every player who appeared in the Miami Marlins system for the 2018 season. Every. Single. Player. This is Part 47 of 286. Stay tuned.
Jan Mercado is a 6’1″, 185 lb. catcher from Aibonito, Puerto Rico, home of former major leaguers Ramon Vazquez and Luis Melendez. Born on August 28th, 1999, Mercado was chosen in the 13th round of the 2017 draft with the 389th overall choice.
13 players chosen with the 389th overall selection have eventually made it to the major leagues, led by Keith Foulke (1993, Detroit Tigers, 20.7 career WAR) and Jon Gray (2010, Kansas City Royals, 7.0 WAR).
Mercado signed with the Miami Marlins for $225,000 on July 7th and reported to the GCL Marlins on July 20th. In his first 11 professional games, he went three-for-38 with one run scored and two RBI. He drew four walks and struck out 15 times. In 92 2/3 innings of work behind the plate, he racked up a .987 fielding percentage, passed 12 balls, and threw out seven-of-20 base stealers. The GCL Marlins finished second in the GCL Eastern Division with a 34-23 record.
Mercado’s strength is in his defense. Although he can hit for average, he will probably never display more than below-average power. He has an above average arm and is a good pitch framer. You can read more about him at baseballamerica.com (subscription required).
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2018 would open with Mercado joining the DSL Marlins, in the rookie-level Dominican Summer League. In 43 games, he slashed .189/.283/.220, with four doubles and eight RBI. He stole six bases in 11 attempts, and drew walks 13 times to 38 K’s in 147 plate appearances. Defensively, he split his season between first base and catcher. In 19 games at first, he totaled a .977 fielding percentage over 112 innings. He appeared in 28 games behind the plate, earning a .983 fielding percentage and passing only two balls over 168 frames. He also threw out 42 percent of baserunners, nailing 19-of-45. The DSL Marlins closed the season with a 42-30 record, finishing second in the DSL Northwest Division. His best game of the season was likely on June 30th, when he batted eighth and went three-for-six with a double and an RBI in a 9-5, 11 inning Marlins win over the DSL Astros.
Mercado will likely get a look in the short-season-A New York-Penn League with the Batavia Muckdogs to begin 2019. If he continues a rise through the system at a more-or-less conventional rate, he would have a chance to make it to the major leagues in 2024.
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