The Miami Marlins have a number of highly regarded prospects who are either at or approaching the Major League level. Could one of those prospects be the team’s next NL Rookie of the Year?
The Marlins are entering their 28th season in Major League Baseball and have a bevy of young talent either already contributing or on the verge of doing so. In their history, Miami has seen four players earn National League Rookie of the Year. First was Dontrelle Willis in 2003, then Hanley Ramirez in 2006, Chris Coghlan in 2009 and Jose Fernandez in 2013.
Isan Diaz would have been the most likely Rookie of the Year candidate for 2020 had his 2019 call-up come later in the season. The threshold for rookie eligibility according to MLB is 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched, and no more than 45 active roster days with the Major League club prior to September 1st.
Diaz’s debut with the Marlins came as part of a double-header in New York on August 5th. He hit his first home run that afternoon off Jacob DeGrom, much to the delight of his father who was being interviewed by Fox Sport’s Craig Minervini at that moment.
With the amount of rookies set to contribute, it’s fair to say the Marlins might see another Rookie of the Year in the near future. So here’s a look at the three most likely candidates for the award in 2020.
Sixto Sanchez, RHP
For the 2020 season, the Marlins have several potential Rookie of the Year candidates, led perhaps by No. 1 prospect Sixto Sanchez. Acquired as part of the J.T. Realmuto trade, Sanchez may have the best combination of stuff and command of any pitcher in the Minors, according to MLB.com. He has electric stuff and great command. With Double-A Jacksonville, Sanchez posted a 8-4 record with a 2.53 ERA and 97 strikeouts in 103 innings pitched.
While he’s likely to start the season with Triple-A Wichita, Sanchez could make a case to be in the starting rotation sooner rather than later. A solid spring may earn him the spot from the start, or he might join the team after a month or two.
Monte Harrison, OF
Monte Harrison would have been a September call up in 2019 had he not struggled with a wrist injury last season. At 24-years-old, Harrison is primed to make the leap from the Minors to the Majors. In 58 games with Triple-A New Orleans, Harrison hit .274 with a .357 on-base percentage, nine homers, 24 RBI and 20 stolen bases. He’s a rangy athlete with tremendous upside.
Harrison is on Miami’s 40-man roster and will take part in Spring Training. He could break camp with the big club with a solid spring, and if he outplays Lewis Brinson and some of the others, Harrison might find himself as the Marlins’ starting centerfielder on Opening Day.
Jesus Sanchez, OF
Jesus Sanchez has a similar trajectory to Harrison. At 22-years-old, Sanchez has five years of experience in the Minors and played 113 games at the Triple-A level in 2019. He posted solid numbers last year, with a .260 batting average and .325 on-base percentage. He hit 13 homers and knocked in 63 runs.
More from Marlins Prospects
- Miami Marlins: Checking in on prospects from the 2022 Arizona Fall League
- Miami Marlins: How top 2022 MLB Draft picks performed this season
- What’s wrong with Kahlil Watson?
- Miami Marlins: Farm System rankings part 2
- Miami Marlins: Farm System rankings part 1
According to MLB.com, Sanchez has the stuff to be a difference maker with his bat, hitting for both average and power. The site projects Sanchez in right field, but the Marlins’ only outfield vacancy at the moment is center. He’ll have a similar opportunity to Harrison to compete for a spot on the Opening Day roster.
The Marlins have holes to fill in center field and closer, and could use someone for the backend of the rotation. These rookies, and the others with the club this spring, will have a chance to be difference makers at the Major League level and might very well play their way to the NL Rookie of the Year award.