The Marlins plan to select outfielder Peyton Burdick onto the major league roster before tomorrow afternoon’s contest with the Cubs, reports Craig Mish of SportsGrid (Twitter links). Outfielder Jesús Sánchez will be optioned to Triple-A Jacksonville in a corresponding transaction, Mish adds. Miami already has a vacancy on the 40-man roster, as Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald points out (on Twitter).
Burdick was the Marlins’ third-round pick in 2019 coming out of Wright State University. The right-handed hitter draws praise from evaluators for his strength and raw power that is at least plus (a 60 on the 20-80 scale), although that’s been paired with a fair amount of swing-and-miss. There’s no question he’s performed since entering the professional ranks, though, as Burdick has hit at a well above-average rate at every minor league stop.
He tore up Low-A to close out his draft year, then was bumped to Double-A in 2021 on the heels of the 2020 minor league cancellation. He hit 23 homers there to earn a late-season bump to Jacksonville, where he’s spent the entire 2022 campaign. Burdick, whom Baseball America recently named the #8 prospect in the Miami farm system, owns a .229/.344/.430 line with 14 homers in 385 plate appearances with the Jumbo Shrimp. He’s striking out at a slightly elevated 25.7% clip, but he’s also hitting for power and walking at a robust enough rate (13%) to compensate for the relatively low batting average.
Burdick has played all three outfield spots in Jacksonville, with the majority of his time (328 innings) coming in center field. BA suggests his average speed makes him a cleaner fit in a corner at the MLB level, and Sánchez’s corresponding demotion likely opens up left field playing time for Burdick. Miami placed right fielder Avisaíl García on the injured list yesterday, leaving that corner primarily to Bryan De La Cruz of late with rookie JJ Bleday manning center field.
Manager Don Mattingly has continued to give Sánchez continued run in left field, but the recent results have been subpar. A former top prospect, the 24-year-old Sánchez looked as if he were beginning to make good on that status early in the season. Through the end of April, he carried a .282/.346/.493 line across 78 plate appearances. That came with alarming strikeout and walk numbers that hinted at some forthcoming regression, but one would’ve been hard-pressed to envision the lefty-hitting outfielder’s performance crashing as hard as it has.
Since the calendar flipped to May, Sánchez is hitting only .181/.247/.354. He’s been plagued by a woeful .206 batting average on balls in play over that stretch, but he’s also become increasingly pull-happy — particularly on ground-balls. Opposing teams have responded by shifting against Sánchez in nearly all of his trips, and he’s not managed to find his footing. Over the past month, he owns a .176/.291/.279 line through 79 plate appearances.
Marlins general manager Kim Ng and her staff have evidently decided it time for Sánchez to try to reset in Triple-A. It’ll be his first minor league action of the season. If he spends more than 20 days in the minors, he’ll exhaust his third and final option year. That’d mean the Fish have to permanently carry him on the active roster (or injured list) from the start of the 2023 season if they don’t want to designate him for assignment and make him available to other teams.