The rookie level of minor league ball is generally for those players getting their first taste of professional baseball.
The Miami Marlins have two such teams. One based in the Dominican Summer League, and one based out of Jupiter in the Gulf Coast League. Today, we’re going to dig into the numbers for the 2019 GCL Marlins and try to project a few prospects who will make the jump to the Short-season-A Batavia Muckdogs in the New York-Penn League and a few who may jump two levels to the Single-A Clinton LumberKings in the Midwest League (MWL).
Bound for Clinton
Now the MLB pipeline’s 28th ranked Marlins prospect, 18-year-old Victor Mesa Jr. demonstrated he’s ready for a double jump with a much better showing than that of his older and twice named brother. In 47 games for the GCL Marlins, the younger Mesa slashed .284/.366/.398, leading the team with 50 hits, nine doubles, and four triples. He also ranked second on the club with 24 RBI and stole seven bases in 11 attempts. And check that bat flip.
With a fastball that tops out at around 89 MPH, Venezuelan left-handed pitcher Luis Palacios has proved everything he possibly can at the rookie level. Turning 20-years-old a week into the Short-season schedule, Palacios would be better served at a full-season league such as the MWL. His rookie-level credentials are near-legendary. He’s 13-0 with a 1.49 ERA, 147 K’s in 150 2/3 innings, an opposing batting average of .181, and a WHIP of 0.78.
Batavia or Bust
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Miami’s second round pick is whiz-kid shortstop Nasim Nunez. A glove first asset at this point in his career, the number 15 Marlins prospect hit just .211/.340/.251, showing little power but a lot of patience and speed on the offensive side of the ball. He drew a GCL-second 34 walks and stole a league-leading 28 bases while getting caught only twice. Promoted to Batavia very late in the season, he was 0-for-10 with a walk and a run in three games with the Muckdogs.
Although with numbers not quite as flashy as Palacios, right-hander Matt Givin showed enough to graduate a level. After getting selected in the 20th round in 2017, Givin allowed one run in 23 1/3 innings before visiting the injured list and eventually undergoing Tommy John Surgery, missing the 2018 season entirely. On his return, Givin went 5-1 with a 2.74 ERA, 35 K’s in 46 frames, and a 1.11 WHIP.
Look for these four lower level prospects to continue their rise through the Marlins system, including the somewhat unheralded Palacios.