Alcántara is currently the fourth ranked prospect in the Miami Marlins improving minor league system. According to the MLB Pipeline:
"Alcantara’s control and command both leave much to be desired, but as he keeps adding velocity, he’s still learning to harness his stuff. While pinpoint command won’t be ever be necessary given his dynamic repertoire, he’ll need to pitch down in the zone consistently to be effective as a starter. At the least, Alcantara has the weapons to become a dominant closer at the highest level."
Clocking in as the Miami Marlins 23rd ranked prospect entering Spring Training, Brigham had a rough introduction to major league hitting last September. He lost all four of his starts, but did limit opposing hitters to 16 hits in 16 1/3 innings. MLB Pipeline says:
"Brigham has long possessed a power arm when healthy, sitting mostly in the mid-90s with a fastball that can touch 97 mph with good arm-side run. The right-hander complements his heater with a slider in the low- to mid-80s that flashes above average, and he also has a usable changeup."
The now 33-year-old Chen still has two seasons remaining on his five-year, $80 million deal, with a vesting option for 2021. Since joining the Miami Marlins, he has put up a 13-18 record and a 4.75 ERA. That ERA is over a run more than the 3.72 he turned in as a Baltimore Orioles starter, despite the American League’s reliance on a designated hitter. His 2018 ERA+ of 76 was the lowest mark of his career. Despite his $20 million paycheck for this season, he is not guaranteed a starting spot in the rotation.
López has a leg up on the competition based on his solid showing in his first professional action last season. In 10 starts, he turned in a respectable 4.14 ERA and 46 K’s in 58 2/3 innings. The key piece gained from the Seattle Mariners in the David Phelps deal two years ago, López’ output has far outstripped that of the departed Phelps. That’s not even to consider the other three players gained in the trade for the Miami Marlins.
Richards well-publicized emergence from relative obscurity nears legend status for those who pay attention to the Miami Marlins. Just two years ago a substitute teacher and a laborer at a beer-bottling plant, Richards quickly rose through the Miami Marlins minor league system to make his major league debut last season for 25 starts, ranking third on the team behind Ureña and Chen. Richards tied for the team-lead with 130 strikeouts, earned in 126 1/3 innings, and finished with a solid if unspectacular 4.42 ERA. As to his middling 82 ERA+, he can and will do better.
Problems in his left shoulder sidelined Smith from late-June through the end of the 2018 season, his first with the Miami Marlins. Prior to his injury problems, Smith showed a knack for getting opponents to miss, with 88 strikeouts in only 77 innings. He was 5-6 with a 1.24 WHIP and a 4.19 ERA, and figures to improve on those numbers going forward.
Maybe the longest-long shot on these players that I technically haven’t actually labelled as a long shot, Yamamoto joined the Miami Marlins organization as perhaps the least heralded of the four players gained from the Milwaukee Brewers in the Christian Yelich trade. He’s arguably performed the best of the group, which also includes Lewis Brinson, Monte Harrison, and Isan Diaz. All four are in camp, so maybe it’s a little too early for all the pundits who continue to insist that the Miami Marlins lost this trade. Talk to me in three years.
For Yamamoto’s sake, the Hawaiian native blasted the competition at three levels of minor league ball for the Miami Marlins, going 6-1 with a 1.83 ERA, 85 strikeouts in 68 2/3 innings, and a 0.83 WHIP. The knock on him is his size. At 6′, 185, there are those who think that maybe he will never have the durability needed to last through an entire big league season. Then again, who does, really?
Yamamoto enters Spring Training as the Marlins number 18 prospect overall, according to the MLB Pipeline:
"Yamamoto’s swing-and-miss fastball, combined with his two average-or-better secondary offerings, gives him a chance to be successful against hitters on both sides of the plate, which he was in 2017. That he’s an undersized righty who lacks a plus pitch leads some to peg Yamamoto as a future reliever, but he’s passed every test in his career thus far."