Larry Blustein

FUTURE FISH: Searching For Stability Up The Middle

Larry Blustein
May 10, 2018 - 12:36 pm

Check any team that has had success over the years and much of that impressive play can be traced to how strong they are up the middle.

Throughout the history of the Marlins’ organization - there have been some quality shortstops and second baseman who have helped the team win games - from an offensive and defensive standpoint.

With the departure of Adeiny Hechavarria last year to Tampa Bay and the offseason deal that sent Dee Gordon to Seattle send the franchise back to the drawing board - once again.

What the Marlins and the new ownership want to accomplish is having the talent in the farm system - and promote rather than pay the price of bringing in a free agent.

As the organization gets ready for its first MLB Free Agent Draft in June, the emphasis may be on getting some middle infielders. Remember, in the past, this has been an organization that has gone pitching strong in the draft - which hasn’t worked to their benefit - with may of the early round selections not working out or being injured.

NEW ORLEANS HAS THE PLAYERS

In Triple A New Orleans, Cristhian Adames is a 26-year-old second baseman the team signed as a free agent in the winter - after a stint with the Rockies as a shortstop, a position he can always play.

While the Baby Cakes have a shortage of send basemen, the shortstop position is stacked with prospects.

Cito Culver, a one time first round selection (2012) of the Yankees, University of South Carolina product Peter Mooney and 2013 Marlins’ draft selection J.T. Riddle are all solid, but are they the answer for the future at the shortstop position.

Riddle had a solid start last year after being called up, but injury and a few other things have prevented him from being the every day guy at the big league level.

JACKSONVILLE HAS PLAYERS FOR THE FUTURE

Because Jupiter (Class A) has been tabbed as the hotbed for young organizational prospects, Jacksonville certainly has some athletes who could make difference as well. 

One of the players they will be waiting on is 21-year-old San Diaz, a talented second baseman who came over from the Brewers in the Christian Yelich trade. Even though he has gotten off to a slow start, he is someone to keep an eye on.

Shortstops Mason Davis, who has climbed the ladder since being selected by Miami in 2014 (19th round), and Miami native Chris Diaz, who was taken in the 11th round of he 2012 draft by Pittsburgh, may not be the answer right now, but you never know.

JUPITER LOADED FOR THE FUTURE

If there is a shortstop that the Marlins have invested some time and money, it is Joe Dunand. The nephew of Alex Rodriguez was a second round selection a year ago - and has responded at shortstop as a solid defensive player as well as a very good hitter - with power.

The Marlins also boast last year’s third round selection, Riley Mahan, a solid second baseman who also has a chance to be solid over the next two years and he is just 22.

YOUNG GREENSBORO BRINGING ALONG THE PROSPECTS

As the Marlins study up for the 2018 draft, they are also looking at some young prospects in the South Atlantic League at Greensboro.

The Grasshoppers feel second baseman Samuel Castro, a 20-year-old the organization has had since he signed in 2015, can develop. Soon to be 22-year-old Garvis Lara  has played both shortstop and second base since signing back in 2015.

As for shortstop prospects, Jose Devers has promise and the Marlins will take this year to completely evaluate one of the players that came over from the Yankees in the Giancarlo Stanton deal.

In addition, 21-year-old Marcos Rivera needs to put together a solid season with Greensboro.

STILL TO COME…

The Marlins also have Second baseman Denis Karas, a 10th Round selection last year, who has shown promise. So has 14th round 2017 selection Demetrius Sims.

Shortstop Chris Torres, who came over in the Dee Gordon deal, is a 20-year-older who also has promise.

Larry Blustein has followed, covered and worked in minor league baseball for over 50 years, tracing careers from the draft to major league rosters - and beyond. This look into the Marlins’ farm system will be a regular blog - throughout the summer. In addition, we will be breaking down the first June Free Agent for this new ownership.