Last year, the Miami Marlins went from years of merely dipping a toe into International Free Agency to full on swan-diving into the deep end. They did so by signing the Mesa Brothers after making a whirlwind of trades to make the deals happen.
Per our own Craig Mish, the Miami Marlins have their first name of this year’s IFA market in place – the Marlins will sign Bahamian middle infielder Ian Lewis for a 950K bonus when the International Signing period officially begins on July 2nd.
Miami is coming into this IFA period with a bonus pool of $5,939,00, and there have been a few names Miami has been linked to over the past few months – Venezuelan shortstops Junior Sanchez and Jose Salas, and Cuban SS Yiddi Cappe (It has been reported Cappe could possibly wait until 2020 to sign).
There was one more player who Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald had connected to the Marlins, and that player was Ian Lewis.
Per Craig, that deal will be made. A timely “Mish Bomb”. Now, let’s get to the player.
Ian Lewis is a 16-year-old shortstop/second baseman from Nassau, Bahamas. He’s a switch hitter who stands at 5’10 and weighs 155 lbs. currently. He has a projectable frame with tons of room for growth.
Photo via “Ian_.3” Instagram
His bat looks advanced from the right side in the videos above, as he just added the switch-hitting aspect to his game in 2018. His bat speed looks special for his age, and he has plenty of loft in his swing for power potential.
Fielding looks crisp. He presents a strong arm, follows through on every throw, and stays away from back foot throws. He seems to take good lines to the ball and looks extremely fluid in his motions. There’s swag all over his game.
I don’t want to sit here and act like I know every detail of this young man, but from what I can tell, I’m seeing a ~dude~.
With the Bahamas becoming a new prospect hotbed – joining the likes of the Dominican Republic and Venezuela – Ian Lewis looks like the top talent in 2019. When he signs, he will be the 18th active prospect in the minor leagues from the islands of the Bahamas. Nassau in particular has produced some top tier prospects in recent years like Arizona Diamondbacks top prospect Jazz Chisholm and Rays prospect Lucius Fox.
There are tools galore when you look at these prospects, and that’s a credit to the tremendous programs that have opened in the Bahamas since 2013. Maximum Development Baseball academy and I-Elite baseball academy has been the main reason so many of these kids have gotten the exposure and coaching they deserve. The top guys are back on the islands every off-season working with these young athletes to make them better. Last summer, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp OF Anfernee Seymour held a camp for kids where almost every Bahamian prospect came out to support. It’s an area that’s producing a tight knit group of talented ballplayers.
The Marlins signing the top player on the international market was something fans in Miami had not seen before last year, but it was a welcomed sight. The IFA market has produced a flux of talent in the game right now. Names like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Ronald Acuna Jr. are taking the game by storm, and the Marlins wanted to be part of that.
Seeing Miami take the leap was an encouraging sign going into the 2019 International Signing period, and they’re picking up right where they left off.
Getting a player like Lewis into the Marlins system right now is tremendous. Marlins’ player development looks be moving at a great pace, and when you add an up the middle athlete with loud tools, you can’t go wrong. It’s doesn’t hurt that he already seems to be a fan of the Marlins organization, too.
Photo via “Ian_.3” Instagram