When the Miami Marlins open their league camp, the future of the franchise will be on display. Can these players elevate the organization to a winner once again?
With all of the new faces at the Miami Marlins minor league camp in Jupiter, Florida, it’s not hard to get excited about what the future holds for this organization. A series of moves over the past 18 months have helped to stock the team’s minor league system while giving fans in South Florida of a winning franchise sooner rather than later.
As Joe Frisaro of MLB.com wrote, Tuesday marks the opening of Minor League camp, with players from all the organization’s affiliates participating in drills. And with that comes the chance for the front office to see who will wear the new colors of the organization into the next decade.
"“Sixto Sanchez, the Marlins’ top prospect, will be experiencing his first Spring Training with Miami,” added Frisaro. “Acquired in early February from the Phillies as part of the J.T. Realmuto trade, Sanchez is a hard-throwing right-hander who is rated by MLB Pipeline as the 27th overall prospect.”"
In reality, it’s more than that. Victor Victor Mesa and his brother Victor Mesa Jr. will also be in attendance at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium, swinging a bat, working on fundamentals, and most of all, getting ready for the minor league season ahead of them.
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The Mesas helped put the Marlins back in the International market, something the team had shied away from under the old ownership group. Now, Derek Jeter and Michael Hill have made it a priority, establishing the Marlins as a team that wants to find the best players available, regardless of location.
"“We know right now a lot of the focus on the Miami Marlins is on player development because of all the prospects we’ve acquired,” said Gary Denbo, the Marlins’ vice president of player development and scouting. “With our players, we’re going to let them know that. The focus is on you. The focus is on the future of this organization.”"
There has been such an overhaul of the team’s minor league system, which now ranks 13th overall in MLB. Eight of top 10 players on the team’s Top 30 list of minor league prospects and 20 players overall are part of the changes made by Jeter and Bruce Sherman.
It’s another reason for fans to believe in the process the front office has preached since October 2017.
The Marlins will watch Sanchez and the Mesas carefully in their development. Sanchez may be the most scrutinized since he is coming off an elbow injury which saw him limited last season as part of the Philadelphia Phillies farm system.
"“He was a little bit behind when he came into camp in terms of being on a set throwing program that we have all of our pitchers in the organization on over the offseason,” Denbo said. “We need to build his innings back up, obviously. So he’s probably going to be, right out of the gate, starting out down here in extended spring, rather than starting with a club.”"
Also, because it has been a month since he was acquired from the Phillies, Sanchez is still getting adjusted to the Marlins organization.