Marlins option prospects to minor leagues to start the 2020 season

The Marlins have decided to option minor league prospects Monte Harrison and Nick Neidert to Triple-A prior to the start of the Major League season.

It looked like both outfielder Monte Harrison and pitcher Nick Neidert could possibly crack the Marlins 26-man roster this season after impressive performances this spring.

But Miami’s front office has decided their arrival in the Big Leagues will have to wait a little longer. Both players were optioned to Triple-A Wichita, as it was announced on Saturday, according to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro.

“On Saturday, the Marlins optioned Harrison and Neidert to Triple-A Wichita, reducing their roster to 47. Harrison is Miami’s ninth-ranked prospect, and Neidert is ranked 10th, according to MLB Pipeline,” Frisaro wrote. “Neither has appeared in the big leagues, but that could happen this year. Harrison and Neidert were the final two players on the Marlins’ 40-man roster with no big-league service time.

“Exactly when the Marlins and the rest of Major League teams get back on the field remains unknown as the season is on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.”

The moves made over the weekend also made a few decisions for Marlins manager Don Mattingly a little easier.

The roster had as many as eight pitchers fighting for five spots in the rotation. Four have already been decided with Sandy Alcantara and Caleb Smith leading the way. Neidert will surely be the first arm called up to help the rotation. Pablo Lopez and Jose Urena appear to be part of the first four with Robert Dugger, Jordan Yamamoto and Elieser Hernandez fighting for the final spot.

If Elieser isn’t chosen to start, he could become an important part of the bullpen as a long reliever.

Harrison’s option means the outfield is a little less crowded, but it does not mean the decision over who starts with Jonathan Villar and Corey Dickerson has been made.

“With the two out of camp, the main right-handed-hitting contenders for the Marlins right field position are Harold Ramirez, Lewis Brinson, and Garrett Cooper,” Frisaro writes. “Left-handed-hitting Matt Joyce, a free agent signee in the offseason, is expected to make the club and start about three days a week.”

The team also has Matt Kemp and Jon Berti in camp who are fighting for a spot on the bench. Magneuris Sierra gives the team speed on the bases and in the outfielder. He is not, however, a threat with the bat.

Next: Is J.T. Realmuto the Marlins best catcher ever?