The Marlins have optioned a pair of prospects to Triple-A Wichita, per multiple reporters (including Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald). Outfielder Monte Harrison and right-hander Nick Neidert are headed to the Pacific Coast League.
Both Harrison, 24, and Neidert, 23, finished last season at the minors’ highest level, but each looked in need of a bit more seasoning. Harrison hit a passable .274/.357/.451 in 244 plate appearances with New Orleans (Miami’s previous Triple-A affiliate) last season. However, the former second-rounder’s longstanding strikeout troubles in the minors persisted.
Neidert, meanwhile, worked to a 5.05 ERA in nine Triple-A starts. That’s better than it seems on the surface given the hitter-friendly nature of the PCL. The control artist’s walk rate spiked dramatically in his 41 innings there, though, and his ground ball rate fell precipitously.
Both Harrison and Neidert still look to be solid, near-ready assets for the Marlins’ organization. They’re each among the club’s top 15 prospects, per Baseball America.
Today is the final day teams can option players before MLB’s roster freeze kicks in. As Sahadev Sharma of the Athletic points out, there’s a rationale behind teams’ recent spate of options around the league. By optioning players who didn’t figure to crack the Opening Day roster, the Marlins (and other teams who make similar moves) insulate themselves from paying an MLB salary if the players involved were to suffer a long-term injury while the sport is on hiatus. Upon the league’s resumption, such players would go on the minor-league injured list, where they would receive a minor-league salary and (presumably) not accrue MLB service time.