With their first pitch of the offseason, the Miami Marlins delivered a strike.
The Marlins today announced that the club has signed outfielders Víctor Víctor Mesa and Víctor Mesa Jr. to Minor League contracts.
Marlins CEO Derek Jeter, president of baseball operations Mike Hill and Marlins fans were happy as the announced the signings of the Mesa brothers officially happened.
The Marlins fan base was able to get a feeling of hope with the heart of the off-season upon us, importantly a significant improvement from a 98-loss season. Miami’s last winning season was 2009. Their home attendance has never been strong, but last year’s 98-loss season was their worst ever at the gates.
So it is brothers over losses.
Mesa, 22, is the top-ranked International prospect in the 2018-19 class, according to MLB Pipeline, Baseball America, and FanGraphs. He debuted for Matanzas in Cuba’s top domestic league, Serie Nacional, as a 16-year-old in 2012 and had his best season in 2016-17, batting .354 with a .399 on-base percentage, a .539 slugging percentage, seven home runs, and 40 stolen bases in 70 games. He also played for Cuba in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, going 3×7 (.429) with two doubles and three RBI in six games.
“We want Miami to be the destination for top international talent,” Jeter said. “This organization should reflect the diversity of the South Florida community.”
Mesa Jr., 17, is a switch-hitter who has starred for Cuba’s U18 national team, batting .320 (8×25) with a double and an RBI at the U18 World Cup last year. He was part of Cuba’s U15 World Series winning team in 2014 and claimed the batting title in his most recent domestic amateur tournament.
The Mesa brothers had voices in their choice of who to sign with, a home away from home was not a hard choice. Miami is a diverse city with a large Hispanic population, along with a Cuban culture within the town making Miami different than many cities in the United States.
“It’s not a secret there’s a lot of Latinos, a lot of Cubans here. So we feel like home here,” Victor Victor Mesa, 22, said via a translator. “But mostly the seriousness and plan this organization has are what attracts us the most.”
Victor Mesa Jr., 17, added, via a translator: “This is a rebuilding team that we’re doing here, and I’m very proud to be a part of it … All of the Latinos here, all of the culture here is one of the things that I like the most.”
This signing is a start. The changes continue on and off the field since Jeter became the captain of the ship. Marlins Park is undergoing several significant changes this offseason, including receiving Miami-Dade County board approval to relocate the seven-story-high home run sculpture named “Homer” to a new location outside the stadium.
A wish come true for Jeter with more wishes to come.