The Miami Marlins could have plenty of competition for the three outfield positions when the organization heads to Spring Training in February.
One of the questions posed to Marlins beat writer Joe Frisaro when he opened his “Inbox” feature on MLB.com was when would Victor Mesa make his debut on the Major League level. Since the newly acquired international star is not part of the team’s 40-man roster, an answer for the said question is a little tougher to figure out.
Mesa and his brother Victor Mesa, Jr. figure to be part of the Marlins outfield of the future, but an arrival date is not yet known. There are, however, several players who are currently part of a crowd that will vie for playing time this season.
"“The 22-year-old prospect from Cuba has been spending his offseason training with his younger brother, Victor Mesa Jr., and he hasn’t seen much game action in about a year,” Frisaro writes.More from Marlins NewsMiami Marlins news: Another target goneWhy didn’t the Miami Marlins sign JDM?Miami Marlins rejected Boston‘s trade offerMiami Marlins are pursuing Michael ConfortoMiami Marlins need to spend to win“In terms of his development timeline, he is considered to be at the Double-A level, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts off at Class A Advanced Jupiter to get his timing down, and then depending on how he performs, he could get promoted to Double-A.”"
It is a better bet that the organization’s No. 2 prospect, Monte Harrison will wear a Marlins jersey before the former Cuban star. Harrison showed improvement in his swing and his defense in the Arizona Fall League and should be in the starting lineup in New Orleans, Miami’s Triple-A affiliate, in the spring.
Still, there is no denying how good a player Mesa “can” be.
"“The athleticism and tools are very impressive. One scout clocked one of his throws from the outfield at a workout at 93 mph. There are some questions as to if he will hit. That’s where development will play a part. Clearly, Mesa will be one of the most followed players in Spring Training,” Frisaro said."
Lewis Brinson figures to once again be the team’s opening day centerfielder and then, it gets a little tricky. Could Brian Anderson start in right field? What happens to Austin Dean? Garrett Cooper was the Opening Day right fielder last season but could play first base in 2019.
Peter O’Brien is slated to play at first base but has experience in the outfield. The team could also sign a veteran bat in the offseason to provide much-needed help off the bench.
Then there is Magneuris Sierra and Isaac Galloway who deserve a shot in the lineup as well. These are tough decisions but good ones to have given the weakness of the minor league system in years past.
Since Miami’s top minor league prospect has not seen minor league pitching, it’s a good bet the front office will bring him along slowly.