Florida Marlins: Top 10 Prospects

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Mike Berardino
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TOP TEN
PROSPECTS
1. Cameron Maybin, of
2. Mike Stanton, of
3. Logan Morrison, 1b
4. Sean West, lhp
5. Ryan Tucker, rhp
6. Matt Dominguez, 3b
7. Kyle Skipworth, c
8. Gaby Sanchez, 1b/3b
9. Chris Coghlan, 2b
10. Jose Ceda, rhp
BEST
TOOLS
Best Hitter for Average Logan Morrison
Best Power Hitter Mike Stanton
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Chris Coghlan
Fastest Baserunner John Raynor
Best Athlete Mike Stanton
Best Fastball Jose Ceda
Best Curveball Brad Hand
Best Slider Sean West
Best Changeup Aaron Thompson
Best Control Graham Taylor
Best Defensive Catcher Brett Hayes
Best Defensive Infielder Matt Dominguez
Best Infield Arm Matt Dominguez
Best Defensive Outfielder Cameron Maybin
Best Outfield Arm Brett Carroll
PROJECTED 2012
LINEUP
Catcher Kyle Skipworth
First Base Gaby Sanchez
Second Base Dan Uggla
Third Base Matt Dominguez
Shortstop Hanley Ramirez
Left Field Logan Morrison
Center Field Cameron Maybin
Right Field Mike Stanton
No. 1 Starter Josh Johnson
No. 2 Starter Ricky Nolasco
No. 3 Starter Chris Volstad
No. 4 Starter Andrew Miller
No. 5 Starter Sean West
Closer Ryan Tucker
TOP PROSPECTS
OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Position 2008
1999 A.J. Burnett, rhp Blue Jays
2000 A.J. Burnett, rhp Blue Jays
2001 Josh Beckett, rhp Red Sox
2002 Josh Beckett, rhp Red Sox
2003 Miguel Cabrera, 3b Tigers
2004 Jeremy Hermida, of Marlins
2005 Jeremy Hermida, of Marlins
2006 Jeremy Hermida, of Marlins
2007 Chris Volstad, rhp Marlins
2008 Cameron Maybin, of Marlins
TOP DRAFT PICKS
OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Position 2008
1999 Josh Beckett, rhp Red Sox
2000 Adrian Gonzalez, 1b Padres
2001 Garrett Berger, rhp (2nd round) Bridgeport (Atlantic)
2002 Jeremy Hermida, of Marlins
2003 Jeff Allison, rhp Marlins
2004 Taylor Tankersley, lhp Marlins
2005 Chris Volstad, rhp Marlins
2006 Brett Sinkbeil, rhp Marlins
2007 Matt Dominguez, 3b Marlins
2008 Kyle Skipworth, c Marlins
LARGEST BONUSES
IN CLUB HISTORY
Josh Beckett, 1999 $3,625,000
Adrian Gonzalez, 2000 $3,000,000
Livan Hernandez, 1996 $2,500,000
Kyle Skipworth, 2008 $2,300,000
Jason Stokes, 2000 $2,027,000
MARLINS
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Complete Index of Top 10 Prospects
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Florida Marlins

Trading off franchise stalwarts Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis for a package of kids was supposed to send the Marlins into another freefall as they retooled for the future. Instead, it set them up for a surprising 84-win season while adding to a rapidly growing stash of prospects in a well-balanced system.

Saddled with the sport’s lowest Opening Day payroll ($22 million, roughly half of what the second-lowest club, the Rays, spent) and widely predicted to lose 90-plus games, Florida rallied under second-year manager Fredi Gonzalez to post the third-highest victory total (84) in their existence. The Marlins finished third in the rugged National League East, 7½ games behind the eventual World Series champion Phillies. Despite a flawed blueprint that relied too heavily on the home run and included a shaky defense, they missed the wild card by just 5½ games.

As for the seemingly endless push for a new baseball-only stadium in Miami’s Little Havana, Florida moved closer than ever to realization despite wasting many months dealing with a lawsuit from former NFL owner Norman Braman. The team still hopes to break ground by the spring of 2009 and open by 2012 at the latest.

In mid-May, the Marlins signed Hanley Ramirez to a six-year, $70 million extension. It was the largest contract ever awarded by a Jeffrey Loria-owned team.

But in the offseason, they once again sought to keep its payroll down while also adding some speed and defense. Florida traded Kevin Gregg, Mike Jacobs, Scott Olsen and Josh Willingham before they could go to arbitration, getting Emilio Bonifacio and Leo Nunez for the big league roster and righthanders Jose Ceda and P.J. Dean plus infielder Jake Smolinski for their farm system.

As for last winter’s blockbuster, Andrew Miller, the big lefty who highlighted the six-player haul the Marlins received from the Tigers for Cabrera and Willis, had an uneven first season in South Florida. He finished up in the bullpen after missing more than a month in the second half with patellar tendinitis, though he did show enough to convince management to trade Olsen.

The other megaprospect in the Cabrera-Willis deal was electric center fielder Cameron Maybin. He was an eye-popping revelation once he was recalled for the season’s final 10 days and ranks No. 1 on this prospect list for the second straight year.

In the minors, Florida affiliates won at a combined .530 clip—their best record since 2001—while receiving a number of outstanding performances, particularly from their growing crop of position prospects. Gaby Sanchez was named MVP of the Double-A Southern League, while fellow first baseman Logan Morrison earned the same honor in the high Class A Florida State League and easily won the batting title with a .332 average. Outfielder Mike Stanton, playing at age 18 in his first full pro season, blasted 39 homers for low Class A Greensboro.

Picking sixth in the June draft, their highest slot since they took Adrian Gonzalez No. 1 overall in 2000, the Marlins selected high school catcher Kyle Skipworth. Following former all-star Charles Johnson as just the second backstop taken in the first round by Florida, Skipworth immediately became the best catching prospect in a system that had lacked one. However, the Marlins continued to sit on the sidelines of the international market, where they were one of just six clubs not to hand out a single six-figure bonus in 2008.

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