On the verge of breaking through to the majors, Joe Dunand of the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp describes the work he’s done to improve his all-around game.
After posting great numbers in the Dominican Winter League and MLB Spring Training, infielder Joe Dunand is set to begin the 2021 minor league season with Triple-A Jacksonville. Ely Sussman and Ethan Budowsky highlight the new additions to the farm system at each full-season level as well as the returning players who they are most intrigued by (4:30). Then, Dunand calls in (24:00) to discuss the city of Jacksonville, competition at the Fish Tank (alternate training site), how he became a more consistent hitter during his year away from the Marlins organization, and what lessons he has learned from uncle A-Rod.
Enjoy Episode 34!
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The Marlins selected Dunand in the second round (51st overall pick) of the 2017 MLB Draft. Within a year, he rose all the way to Double-A. In 265 career minor league games (most of them with Jacksonville), Dunand owns a .244/.314/.366 slash line with 20 home runs and a 96 wRC+. He is indeed the nephew of three-time AL MVP Alex Rodriguez.
Dunand made the transition from shortstop to full-time third baseman in August 2019 following the Marlins’ acquisition of Jazz Chisholm Jr. He tells Fish Stripes that he remains confident in his ability to play short at a major league-caliber level, but his maturation into a plus defender at the hot corner definitely shows.
Dunand was, inarguably, one of the best all-around players in the 2020-21 Dominican Winter League (LIDOM). In 21 games for Leones del Escogido, he hit .319/.398/.542 (186 wRC+) and received the Gold Glove at third base. The 25-year-old did that while playing against and alongside numerous current/former major leaguers.
For anybody who questioned the legitimacy of his LIDOM production, Dunand had continued success in the Grapefruit League, posting a .846 OPS in 32 plate appearances. He also added to his defensive versatility with several games at first base.
As of Monday, the Marlins have only two homegrown players on their active roster. “It’s exciting” to think that he may soon be adding to that total, Dunand says:
“I saw the old regime and I saw the new regime—it’s night and day. Just the culture that they’ve built here, it’s really amazing. This is a place you want to play. This is a place I want to be. There’s so much talent, there’s so much competition down here that it pushes you to get better and better.”
Featured Marlins prospects in our MiLB season preview segment include Will Banfield, Anthony Bender, JJ Bleday, Lewin Díaz, Jake Eder, Braxton Garrett, Osiris Johnson, Zach McCambley, Víctor Mesa Jr., Max Meyer, Kameron Misner, Eury Pérez and Connor Scott. Check out the full Jacksonville, Pensacola, Beloit and Jupiter rosters here.
For a more detailed conversation about the state of the Marlins farm system entering 2021, we recommend listening to Fish On The Farm’s Swimming Upstream podcast and participating in Ethan’s MiLB Opening Day livestream on Tuesday.
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