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Updated: 2017-12-11T13:01:02-05:00


Cardinals, Dodgers inquiring about a trade for Marcell Ozuna



As will half of the other clubs in baseball.

A couple of the runner-ups in the Giancarlo Stanton sweepstakes have wasted no time in moving on to their next target and a big Fish within his own right: Miami Marlins left fielder Marcell Ozuna.

Ryan Lillie Interview: Marlin on the Rise


Ryan Lillie was signed out of UC Riverside, where he was coached by Troy Percival. This offseason, Fish Stripes is profiling Miami’s best and brightest up-and-coming prospects. Today’s player is Murrieta, California native Ryan Lillie. Lillie is a 6’, 210 lb. right-handed pitcher who played his college ball at UC Riverside, where was recruited and eventually signed as a catcher. After reporting, coach Troy Percival noticed something special about Lillie, something that reminded Percival a little of himself: From the first time I put him on the mound, it was just a natural. It reminded me of me, because the first time I jumped on the mound, I was able to throw strikes. I was able to spin a breaking ball. Once I saw that, I said, 'We're just going to work mechanically. - Percival, courtesy of And just like that, Lillie was tagged as the Highlanders’ closer. He responded by striking out 27 batters in 25 innings and nailing down six saves. His 1.68 WHIP and 4.32 ERA would come down a little in Lillie’s sophomore season, when Lillie went 4-3 in 30 relief appearances, with seven saves, a 4.15 ERA, a 1.62 WHIP, and 30 strikeouts in 30.1 innings pitched. Although control was an issue, with 25 walks, Lillie actually decreased his number of walks in his 2017 campaign despite pitching more than double the innings. Lillie’s final college season would see him post a 2-7 record and a 4.69 ERA, starting in 10 of his 20 appearances and also saving four games. He struck out 80 in 71 frames, walking just 20 batters and shrinking his WHIP down to 1.34. He was good enough that the Marlins spent their fifth-round pick on him, with the 149th selection off the board. After signing below slot-value, Lillie was shipped to the GCL Marlins, where he lasted just two appearances before Miami promoted him to the Batavia Muckdogs in the short-season-A New York-Penn League. Lillie showed his mettle for the most part despite a hard-luck 0-5 record, whiffing 27 in 31 frames while getting his WHIP down to 1.258, better than his best mark while in college. He had a 4.35 ERA with the Dogs, and walked just five batters. Lillie got a late season callup to the Greensboro Grasshoppers, and struck out four of the seven batters he faced at the higher “A” level team. He’s currently ranked as the number 18 prospect in Miami’s system. I had an opportunity to catch up with Lillie on Friday night, and he was gracious enough to answer a bunch of my questions. Lillie was out finishing up delivering Christmas trees when I first called him, a seasonal job. Fish Stripes: That’s really a seasonal thing, delivering Christmas trees. Is that sort of a labour of love, or something that you think you’ll be doing throughout your career? Ryan Lillie: I’ve developed a really good relationship with the owners. It’s funny because if it’s seasonal for us, it’s seasonal for them, too. When I told them I played baseball they were all about it, then we started to get to know each other. When they said they were from Kannapolis, I was like, “No way, we play them like 1,000 times a year,” it’s true, I looked at the schedule. The next day, she had a schedule out, saying, “I’ll be at that one, and that one, and that one...” It keeps me busy, and I’m being smart about it, not lifting anything overhead. This is my first go around of the offseason and I’m already ready to go out and play, so I need something to keep me down a little bit. I love this job, and I did the pumpkin patch as well. Fish Stripes: That is pretty seasonal, but Christmas will be over soon, then you’ll have nothing to do for two months. Lillie: The next two months are all about baseball. Fish Stripes: Do you think you’ll start out with Greensboro this year? Lillie: I can’t say yes or no, I’m not 100% sure. I’m hoping that the late callup was kind of a....this is where you’ll be to start the full year next year. So I’m hoping to go out in spring training and get after it a little bit and hopefully end up ba[...]

Evaluating the prospect haul from Marlins-Mariners trade


The Marlins received three prospects from Seattle yesterday, but who are they and how much do they bolster the farm system? The Marlins completed their first major trade of the winter yesterday afternoon by sending the speedy and talented Dee Gordon to the Pacific Northwest for prospects Nick Neidert, Christopher Torres, and Robert Dugger. Below is a breakdown of the three newcomers, and what they may bring to the team in a few years’ time. Nick Neidert, RHP, Seattle's #2 prospect, Miami's #4 prospect Neidert, a second round pick in 2015, went 11-6 with a 3.45 ERA over 25 minor league starts between High-A (where he excelled) and Double-A in 2017. The 21 year-old's calling card is supreme command, as evident by a 1.6 BB/9 for his minor league career. He has a low 90s fastball that can creep up to 94-95 at times but, according to, Neidert's best pitch is his changeup as it has great movement to go along with near pinpoint accuracy even though he only started to get a handle on it last year. Both the slider and curveball are works in progress but, with a strong arm slot that generates decent velocity without much effort, Neidert projects as a dependable mid-rotation arm in the future. His progress had Mariners fans excited, and he is a very welcome addition to Miami's farm system. Neidert slides in as the teams fourth-best prospect, two spots higher than Tyler Kolek, who was the number two overall pick in the same draft year. Christopher Torres, SS, Seattle's #7 prospect, Miami's #11 prospect Torres was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014 for $375,000, and the 19 year-old compiled a .238 average, .329 OBP, and .775 OPS across 52 Class A short season and Arizona League games this past season. While the batting average does not appear that impressive on the surface, he is still developing his skills as a switch hitter, and saw fairly dramatic differences between his batting lines versus left and right handers (.295 and .221 averages, respectively) in 2017. With impressive speed and defensive skills, Torres looks like the second coming of Adeiny Hechavarria, albeit with more potential at the plate. Torres has a mountain to climb if he wants to be a power hitter with his frame (5’ 11", 170 lb), but his ability to hit the ball the other way could result in bags of doubles and triples if he is able to make consistent contact. Although the Marlins just called up J.T. Riddle as their shortstop for the future, Torres could be a good fall-back option by the time 2019 rolls around. Robert Dugger, RHP, unranked in both systems Dugger, drafted in the 18th round out of Texas Tech University in 2016, quietly had an encouraging 2017 season by posting a 2.75 ERA over 31 games (18 starts) along with a 8.9 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 across Class-A and High-A. While he becomes an unranked prospect in Miami's system, there is reason to expect further development from the 22 year-old. He has an aggressive and deceptive delivery which more often than not results in weak contact, especially from his sweeping curve and slider. Dugger's fastball, while "relentless" when used inside on right-handed hitters, lacks command. However, if his control improves, Dugger can become a long/middle reliever down the road. While the deal primarily materialized because Seattle agreed to take on all of Dee Gordon's contract, the trade was not a straight salary dump by the Marlins. With three promising prospects acquired and more to come in subsequent trades, the farm system is already on the up, and there should be a degree of optimism forming about the future of the franchise. [...]