MIAMI – In June, the Marlins had one of the most successful Draft Amateurs to continue amassing young talent. Here are five young people to watch closely in 2022.
SS Kahlil Watson
After being picked 16th overall and then signing, the shortstop immediately became the top prospect in one of the best minor league systems.
Watson’s professional debut was interrupted by a hamstring injury after just eight games. The 18-year-old infielder suffered a few days later and lost four weeks to a 2nd Degree jerk. As a result, the organization saw only a taste of Watson’s talent: He hit .394 / .524 / .606 with three doubles, two triples and four con in nine games in the Florida Complex League. He also had more walks traded than strikeouts against older opponents for nearly two years.
Now it’s no surprise that Watson’s offseason goal is to have his hamstring in top shape for his first full season as a professional in 2022.
C Bennett Hostetler
Chosen in the 18th round, Hostetler quickly rose from A-Class Low Jupiter to A-Class Upper Beloit after hitting a .337 / .369 / .481 offensive line in 27 games. At the highest level, he played exclusively as third baseman – a position he had only defended once before. By October, he had become catcher for the first time in his career.
How this transition turns out in 2022 makes the prospect a player to watch. Hostetler planned to work catching during the offseason.
INF Cody Morissette
When the Marlins recognized the Minor League MVPs on the final day of the regular season, Morissette was one of the 2021 Draft picks who were singled out by minor league chief operating officer Geoff DeGroot. Morissette, who turns 22 on January 16, began his career in Class-A Baja Jupiter, where he hit .204 / .308 / .299 in 34 games.
While that wasn’t a sign of his capabilities at the plate, the No. 18 Marlins prospect received more instruction in development camp in the fall alongside the other players on the roster. With an excellent talent base, only time will tell if his bat can take the next step.
INF Jordan McCants
The Fish are trying to build a strong organization in the middle of the square at each level. Monitoring McCants’ progress is important because he saw action as a shortstop and second baseman in the Rookie League.
Like Watson, McCants began his career in the Florida Complex League, though his .224 / .286 / .237 offensive line in 23 games was not a product of injuries but a slow start. The Peces’ No. 19 prospect was not alarmed as he anticipated facing those kinds of hurdles.
According to MLB Pipeline, the 19-year-old infielder demonstrates consistent contact as a left-handed hitter, with maturity and an advanced ability to recognize pitches. The evaluation adds that McCants is similar to Morissette – only with more potential for power and speed (rating of 60).
C Joe Mack
Mack was another of those recognized by DeGroot at the end of the season, and with good reason. He was selected 31st overall, the Marlins’ highest pick by a catcher in 13 years. Although Mack, who turns 19 on Dec. 27, is an advanced hitter with innate thunder, in his professional debut he hit .132 / .373 / .208 in 19 Florida Coastal League games.
In recent months, Miami has made several adjustments to catching. They traded one catcher this offseason and acquired two more before the July trade deadline. It’s always important for an organization to have enough depth behind the plate, which is why Mack’s progress is worth keeping a close eye on.
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Chosen by Miami in 2021 to follow in 2022