With an unscheduled month-long break now in process, the Miami Marlins need to take whatever they learned from an abbreviated spring training and make opening day decisions.
With the remainder of spring training cancelled, and the regular season delayed by a minimum of two additional weeks, the Miami Marlins need to settle on what the team will look like on opening day without additional inter-team competition.
Magneuris Sierra is a five-foot-11, 160 lb. left-handed hitting and throwing outfielder from San Cristobal, DR. Born on April 7th, 1996, Sierra was acquired by the Miami Marlins in the Marcell Ozuna trade with the St. Louis Cardinals following the 2017 campaign. The Cards also sent over pitchers Sandy Alcantara, Zac Gallen (since flipped for shortstop Jazz Chisholm), and Daniel Castano.
After the deal, Sierra was considered the number seven prospect in the Miami Marlins system by both Baseball America and the MLB Pipeline.
"Baseball development isn’t always a straight path and sometimes prospects need to take a step back to move forward. That seems to be the case with Sierra, who wasn’t ready for full-season ball in 2015, righted the ship after a move back to the Rookie-level Appalachian League, then handled the Midwest League in 2016 by finishing ninth in batting average and tied for third in stolen bases. He jumped on the fast track in 2017, moving up to Double-A early in the season and even making his big league debut in May."
Sierra hit .317 in the 22-game look for the Cardinals in that look. He started the 2018 season at the Triple-A level for the Marlins, with the New Orleans Baby Cakes in the Pacific Coast League. In 86 games, he hit .260/.287/.341 with 14 stolen bases in 19 attempts. He also walked just 3.5 percent of the time while striking out in just under 20 percent of his plate appearances. At the end of July the Miami Marlins called him up.
In 54 games for the Marlins through 2018, Sierra managed to scratch out a .190/.222/.211 slash line, with 39 whiffs in 156 plate appearances. His much remarked on speed resulted in only three stolen bases in five attempts. He was also well below average defensively both in center and in right field.
The first five months of Sierra’s 2019 campaign was spent split the Baby Cakes and the Double-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp in the Southern League. In 129 minor league games, he put together a more-passable .275/.316/.387 slash line, with seven round-trippers, 28 RBI, and 33 stolen bases in 44 attempts. The Marlins gave Sierra another call-up.
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In a short look at the major league level with the Miami Marlins to complete last season, Sierra went 14-for-40 from the plate with seven strikeouts. Although it was a much-smaller sample size, Sierra graded out as a league-average fielder in the outfield, and was actually well-above average in center field in a 66 1/3 inning sample.
Statcast had Sierra in the top one percent of the National League for the 2018 season. Although he’s slowed, it’s only by 2/100ths of a second from home to first, which still has Sierra in the top two percent of the N.L.
Sierra went five-for-18 through the spring for the Miami Marlins this year, with a double, an RBI, three runs, and a pair of stolen bases. As he is out of minor league options, the Marlins need to make a decision and either keep him on the parent club or risk losing him by passing him through waivers. If the team loses him, it will be in much the same way as the Anaheim Angels lost Cesar Puello last season. It stands to reason that someone will pick Sierra and his tremendous speed off the wire.