Magneuris Sierra is one of the fastest players in the major leagues.
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 210 of 286.
Magneuris Sierra is a 5’11”, 160 lb. left-handed batting and throwing outfielder from San Cristobal, Dominican Republic. Including Sierra, 46 major leaguers have hailed from the municipality, including Jose Rijo and Raul Mondesi.
Sierra was born on April 7th, 1996, and in 2012, the St. Louis Cardinals signed him through free agency for a $105,000 bonus. He reported to the 2013 DSL Cardinals, in the rookie-level Dominican Summer League in 2013, soon after his 17th birthday. In 63 games, he slashed .269/.357/.340, with 15 stolen bases in 22 attempts.
A lateral promotion to the GCL Cardinals in the Florida-based, rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2014 would see Sierra with a breakout campaign. He slashed .386/.434/.505 in 52 games, with 13 stolen bases against only three times caught. Defensively, he racked up a .976 fielding percentage in 414 innings in the outfield, including 400 in center field. He was named a GCL All-Star, and also the GCL Most Valuable Player. You can follow Sierra on Twitter @Magneuri.
In 2015, Sierra opened the season as Baseball America’s number 10 St. Louis prospect. He split the year between the rookie-level Johnson City Cardinals in the Appalachian League and the Peoria Chiefs in the single-A Midwest League. In 104 games in total, Sierra slashed .259/.304/.327 with 19 stolen bases in 26 attempts. He hit a career-high four home runs with 22 RBI, while drawing only 26 walks in 429 plate appearances. He was again named to an All-Star Team, this time in the Appalachian League.
2016 would see Sierra ranked as the number four prospect in the MLB Pipeline:
"While Sierra could stand to refine his approach and draw more walks, especially since he profiles as a top-of-the-order type hitter, he does have a knack for making consistent hard contact. He doesn’t have over-the-fence power, but Sierra has enough strength to hit the gaps. From there, his speed allows him to take extra bases and he should become a more efficient basestealer as he progresses. Sierra is an elite-level defender in center field, the kind who regularly makes highlight-reel plays, and he has a plus arm to boot. – MLB Pipeline"
He played the entire 2016 campaign with the Chiefs, and finished ninth in the Midwest League with a .307 batting average. He collected 60 RBI in 122 contests, and stole 31 bases while getting caught 17 times. Defensively, he fielded at .964 with 11 errors, but offset it with as many assists. For his efforts, he was selected to the Midwest League All-Star Team.
Between the Palm Beach Cardinals in the high-A Florida State League and the Springfield Cardinals in the double-A Texas League in 2017, Sierra slashed .270/.318/.363 and stole 20 bases in 30 attempts. Late in the season, he impressed in a 22 game look at the major league level, with a .317/.359/.317 line, going 19-for-60 with no extra base hits. He did collect five RBI and steal two bases, but in a hint of things to come drew only four walks in 64 plate appearances. Here’s Sierra with the New Orleans Baby Cakes, courtesy of Baseball Census.
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Sierra was assigned to the triple-A level for the first time to begin the 2018 season, and hit .260/.287/.341 for the New Orleans Baby Cakes in the Pacific Coast League. On July 24th, the Miami Marlins called him up to join the parent club.
With the Marlins, Sierra went 28-for-147 for a .190 average, with three extra base hits, all doubles, in 54 games. He drew only six walks in 156 plate appearances, while striking out 39 times. Defensively, he fielded just .962 with four errors in 106 chances. He was not really that much better on the base paths, getting caught in two of five attempts to steal. The only area in which Sierra truly excelled was in his lightning-fast first step. His 30.2 ft/s sprint speed ranks tied for second in the major leagues, ahead of 99.7 percent of the rest according to Statcast. Only Byron Buxton, at 30.5 ft/s is faster.
Sierra is expected to compete for a starting spot in a crowded outfield for the Miami Marlins, but doesn’t seem to be ready for big-league pitching. He would be better served with additional seasoning at the triple-A level in New Orleans.
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