|Complete Index of Top 10 Prospects|
the 2007 Prospect Handbook|
30 scouting reports on every team
|1.||Chris Volstad, rhp Born: Sept. 23, 1986 • B-T: R-R • Ht: 6-7 • Wt: 190|
| Drafted: HS--Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.,
2005 (1st round) • Signed by: John
|Background: Volstad started
generating buzz at the Area Code Games in the summer before his high
school senior season. The Marlins, who sponsored his Area Code team,
had at least one scout at all but two of his 13 senior starts. He might
not have gotten to them with the 16th overall pick in 2005 had he not
struggled with his control in his final outing, a loss in the Florida
state playoffs. But when he did, there was no doubt the Marlins would
take him. He was the perfect choice to headline what became a five-man
rotation of young arms taken in the first and supplemental first-rounds
of the 2005 draft: Aaron Thompson, Jacob Marceaux, Ryan Tucker and Sean
West. The first prep pitcher selected in that draft, Volstad quickly
signed for $1.6 million and wasted little time proving his worth. He
rated as the top pitching prospect in both the Rookie-level Gulf Coast
and short-season New York-Penn leagues in his debut. In his first full
season, he followed up by ranking as the second-best mound prospect in
the low Class A South Atlantic League. He overcame a rough May (1-4,
5.94) to allow two earned runs or fewer in 13 of his final 15
Strengths: A certified strike thrower, Volstad works his fastball effectively at 89-92 mph and touches 94 mph. His two-seamer has heavy sink, producing a 2.3 groundout-flyout ratio in 2006, and he has started to elevate his four-seamer to get overzealous hitters to chase balls out of the zone. He can throw his 80-82 mph curve for strikes and is doing a better job of varying speeds on it and burying it when necessary. He has a solid changeup for his experience level with the potential to make that a plus pitch as well. Volstad grew to his current 6-foot-7 height as a high school junior and credits his basketball background with improving his footwork and agility. That coordination leads to his uncanny control. The ability to mix it up in the lane couldn't have hurt his aggressiveness either. Volstad has strong makeup and good intelligence, both in a baseball and general sense, and takes coaching well. He's constantly poised on the mound, where he looks the same whether he's working on a no-hitter or one mistake from hitting the showers.
Weaknesses: If anything, Volstad has a tendency to be around the plate too much. That allows hitters to dig in and led to his struggles in May. He has averaged just 6.4 strikeouts per nine innings his first two seasons, another sign that he has been too hittable considering the quality of his stuff. Some non-believers say he might wind up as little more than a middle-of-the-rotation workhorse who won't blow hitters away. Volstad still needs to add muscle and grow into his frame, especially in the lower half. Though he's well coordinated, his long frame always will make it a challenge for him to maintain his delivery.
The Future: Having avoided any major hiccups so far, Volstad will head to high Class A Jupiter along with several other members of the Class of '05. Like the Grasshoppers had in 2005, the Hammerheads likely will have a rotation comprised solely of first-rounders. With a talented young rotation already in the majors, the Marlins can afford to proceed cautiously with Volstad. He still could arrive for good by the end of 2008.
|2.||Brett Sinkbeil, rhp Born: Dec. 26, 1984 • B-T: R-R • Ht: 6-2 • Wt: 170|
| Drafted: Missouri State, 2006 (1st
round) • Signed by: Ryan
established himself as a possible first-round pick in the Cape Cod
League in the summer of 2005 and backed that up with a strong spring at
Missouri State. The only hurdle he had to overcome was proving was
healthy after missing three weeks with a strained oblique. The Padres
and Phillies showed some interest just ahead of the Marlins, who took
him 19th overall and quickly signed him for $1.525
Strengths: Sinkbeil's fastball sits at 89-93 mph and tops out at 95 mph, showing late life that often overwhelmed New York-Penn League hitter. His tight slider is a legitimate out pitch and he feels confident throwing it in any count. He throws strikes with both pitches. Driven and focused, he tries to pattern himself after Roger Clemens in terms of work ethic and preparation. He packed on 35 pounds of muscle in three years at Missouri State.
Weaknesses: His changeup was weak in college and still needs work. Sinkbeil has yet to find a comfortable grip and match the same arm speed of his fastball. If he can't, he'll be a reliever down the road. Though he's a strong competitor, some wish he would be a little more outgoing.
The Future: After holding his own in low Class A late in the summer, Sinkbeil might return there to begin his first full pro season. However, it won't be long before he joins the Class of '05 in high Class A. He projects as a solid No. 3 starter, possibly a No. 2, and could be ready in 2008.
|3.|| Gaby Hernandez,
rhp Born: May
21, 1986 • B-T: R-R •
Ht: 6-3 • Wt:
| Drafted: HS--Miami, 2004 (3rd
round) • Signed by: Joe Salermo
|Background: Yusmeiro Petit
was supposed to be the best arm the Marlins got in the twin deals that
sent Carlos Delgado and Paul LoDuca to the Mets, but it's now clear
that Hernandez is better. One of the youngest players in the high Class
A Florida State League for the second straight year, he continued to
build on a solid track record despite a minor toe injury that slowed
him in the early
Strengths: Hernandez' fastball sits at 90-92 mph with good run and he'll pop his four-seamer at 94 mph. His changeup is average to maybe a tick above. Not afraid to work inside, he hit 13 batters in 2006, though most of those were on wayward curveballs. He has a tremendous work ethic and the ability to turn things up a notch with runners on base.
Weaknesses: Though it continues to make progress, Hernandez' slow curve is average at best. He may junk it and go with a slider in 2007. His overall command must improve. He's his own harshest critic, and his perfectionism works to his detriment at times.
The Future: Hernandez will make the jump to Double-A Carolina as a 20-year-old. He projects as a No. 3 or No. 4 starter in the majors, but he must improve his breaking ball to get there.
|4.||Sean West, lhp Born: June 15, 1986 • B-T: L-L • Ht: 6-8 • Wt: 200|
| Drafted: HS--Shreveport, La., 2005
(1st round supplemental) • Signed by: Ryan
|Background: Signed for
$775,000 out of high school, West has wasted little time showing he
belonged among those five pitchers the Marlins took in the top 44 picks
in 2005. He pitched six shutout innings in his first 2006 start then
spent a month on the disabled list with nagging shoulder pain. When he
returned, he didn't give up more than two earned runs in his next six
starts and later ripped off a five-game winning
Strengths: West comes right at hitters from a three-quarters arm slot with a tailing fastball that sits at 90-93 mph and touches 96. He has two different sliders, one fairly tight and the other a big breaker. His changeup is a plus pitch at times. His large frame gives him a Randy Johnson Lite look, and he uses his emotions to his benefit on the mound.
Weaknesses: West needs to use his changeup more. His shoulder woes were chalked up to the rigors of his first pro spring training and aren't a concern. His off-center personality has at times interfered with his between-starts work, which contributed to a late-season fade. He also could use a few lessons in not showing up opponents on the mound.
The Future: West will be part of an all-first-rounder rotation in high Class A in 2007. He's more polished than most lefthanders his age and has bigger stuff than most lefthanders, period. He's definitely on the fast track now.
|5.||Gaby Sanchez, 1b/c Born: Sept. 2, 1983 • B-T: R-R • Ht: 6-2 • Wt: 225|
| Drafted: Miami, 2005 (4th
round) • Signed by: John
|Background: After a
suspension cost him his junior year at the University of Miami, Sanchez
signed with the Marlins for $250,000 as a fourth-round pick in 2005.
East Coast scouting supervisor Mike Cadahia vouched for a player he had
known for years. Sanchez won the New York-Penn League batting title in
his pro debut and played well in 2006 until nagging finger and foot
injuries slowed him
Strengths: Sanchez has tremendous plate discipline and an advanced approach to hitting. He has plus raw power, makes quick adjustments and knows how to set pitchers up. He eliminated some extraneous pre-swing hand movement with the help of minor hitting coordinator John Mallee, who also got him to stop pulling off the ball. Sanchez has shown good versatility, flashing potential behind the plate and at first base in addition to his natural position at third. He has a strong, accurate arm.
Weaknesses: Though his footwork is sound, Sanchez never will be more than an average defender. His body could use more definition and his range is barely passable at first or third base. Because of his suspension and injuries, he has played the equivalent of just one season in the last two years.
The Future: After holding his own in the Arizona Fall League, Sanchez figures to open 2007 back in high Class A. The Marlins will use him mostly at first base, which should expedite getting his bat into the big league lineup.
|6.||Taylor Tankersley, lhp Born: March 7, 1983 • B-T: L-L • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 220|
| Drafted: Alabama, 2004 (1st
round) • Signed by: Dave
|Background: Tankersley is
the son of a nuclear physicist and the grandson of a former big league
pitcher. Earl Tankersley taught his grandson the importance of pitching
inside, reminding him those hitters were trying to take food off his
table. The lessons paid off with a $1.3 million bonus in 2004 and an
early June callup to the majors in
Strengths: A bulldog with a quick wit and baseball savvy, Tankersley pounds the strike zone with an 88-92 mph fastball and knows how to move it around to good purpose. His low three-quarters arm slot makes him particularly nasty on lefthanders, and righthanders aren't able to do much with him either. He uses a slurvy breaking ball that has good depth and will drop a changeup in on righties to keep them honest.
Weaknesses: His stuff isn't overpowering, so Tankersley must be precise with his location and pitch selection. He missed two months in 2005 with shoulder tendinitis, leading to questions about his durability as a starter. However, he has been resilient since making the permanent move to the bullpen.
The Future: With veteran closer Joe Borowski departing for the Indians as a free agent, Tankersley appears to be first in line to finish games for the 2007 Marlins. He dominated hitters in that role in Double-A. He has the tenacity and the versatility of a young Mike Stanton and could enjoy a similarly lengthy career.
|7.||Aaron Thompson, lhp Born: Feb. 27, 1987 • B-T: L-L • Ht: 6-3 • Wt: 195|
| Drafted: HS--Houston, 2005 (1st
round) • Signed by: Dennis
|Background: Thompson was
considered a tough sign after committing to Texas A&M. The
Aggies made his decision easier when they fired their coaching staff,
and he turned pro for $1.225 million as part of the Marlins' 2005
draft. He has known former Marlin Kevin Millar since he was five, when
Thompson's grandparents served as Millar's host family at Lamar
University. Millar used to do cannonballs off the grandparents' roof
into their swimming
Strengths: As so many finesse lefties have been through the years, Thompson often draws comparisons to Tom Glavine. Thompson pitches at 88-90 mph with his fastball and also has an out-pitch slider, potential plus curveball and solid-average changeup. He holds runners well, thinks his way through a lineup and demonstrates good savvy.
Weaknesses: On some nights, Thompson's fastball is a little short, but he could add more velocity as his body matures. He did touch 92 mph in high school. He could tighten up his curve, use his changeup a little more and polish his overall command.
The Future: After handing low Class A with three other members of the Class of '05, Thompson will head to high Class A with them. He may be close to his ceiling but that shouldn't keep him from pushing for a big-league rotation spot as early as midseason 2008.
|8.||Ryan Tucker, rhp Born: Dec. 6, 1986 • B-T: R-R • Ht: 6-2 • Wt: 190|
| Drafted: HS--Temple City, Calif., 2005
(1st round supplemental) • Signed by: John
|Background: Tucker came on
strong as a prep senior in 2005, wowing scouts with his big fastball.
The Cardinals were among several clubs that thought about taking him in
the first round, but he fell to the Marlins at No. 34 and signed for
$975,000. He hasn't had as much success as the other members of the
Class of '05, but he may have the highest
Strengths: Tucker's fastball remains his calling card, showing late life and the potential to dominate hitters. He pitches at 92-94 mph and touched 98 mph in his first full pro season. His changeup really took off at midseason, helping him post eight straight quality starts. He's a good athlete with a fluid delivery. He has an intense personality and shows no fear on the mound.
Weaknesses: His breaking stuff needs work. The Marlins took away Tucker's curveball and weren't too impressed with his slider, so they gave him a cutter instead. He began tinkering with it at a fall 2005 minicamp, then broke it out for game use in mid-2006.
The Future: Tucker will continue to start as he climbs the ladder, though his fastball profiles him as future closer material. Despite middling results in low Class A, he should move up to high Class A along with his fellow 2005 first-rounders.
|9.||Chris Coghlan, 3b/2b Born: June 18, 1985 • B-T: L-R • Ht: 6-1 • Wt: 190|
| Drafted: Mississippi, 2006 (1st round
supplemental) • Signed by: Mark
|Background: Though he never
hit more than six homers in any of his three seasons at Mississippi,
Coghlan boosted his stock by winning the 2005 Cape Cod League batting
title with a .346 average. Taken with the 36th overall pick last June,
he held out for seven weeks before signing for $950,000. He played with
Tyler Jennings, the son of Marlins personnel chief Dan Jennings, at a
Strengths: Coghlan's inside-out stroke allows him to spray line drives to all fields. He shows strong plate discipline, some gap power and a great desire to improve. A third baseman for most of his college career, he moved to second base during fall minicamp and took to the switch. With the help of infield coordinator Ed Romero, Coghan moved well around the bag and showed solid range.
Weaknesses: After signing, Coghlan had a little trouble with inside fastballs but worked with hitting coordinator John Mallee on pulling more balls to keep pitchers honest. He doesn't have true third-base power, so moving to second base would help him profile better as a regular. Despite his experience at the hot corner, his arm is average at best.
The Future: Coghlan earns comparisons to Bill Mueller for his ability to make solid contact and his overall gritty play. He should open his first full pro season in low Class A, where Greensboro's cozy First Horizon Park should help his power numbers spike.
|10.||Kris Harvey, of Born: Jan. 5, 1984 • B-T: R-R • Ht: 6-2• Wt: 195|
| Signed: Clemson, 2005 (2nd
round) • Signed by: Joel
|Background: The son of Bryan
Harvey, a former all-star and the first closer in Marlins history, Kris
touched 97 mph with his fastball at Clemson. A two-way star for the
Tigers, he finished second in NCAA Division I with 25 homers in 2005
before signing for $575,000 as a second-round pick. He missed nearly
half of his first full pro season with a strained oblique
Strengths: He has easy power and the ability to punish hanging breaking balls, though some scouts believe he should lay off more of the latter. Quality fastballs are no problem for Harvey, who has excellent bat speed and loose wrists. He looks comfortable and effective in right field, showing a strong and accurate arm. His speed and athleticism are solid, and his makeup is strong.
Weaknesses: Harvey has 142 strikeouts in 630 pro at-bats, and he may not make enough consistent contact to hit for a high average. He could stand to reshape his 6-foot-2 frame, adding 10-15 pounds of muscle. His value would have been enhanced if he had been able to stay at third base, but Florida scrapped that plan after his 2005 debut.
The Future: Harvey could return to low Class A in 2007 in an effort to get his bat going again. He faces roadblocks in the form of Jeremy Hermida, who has staked a claim to right field, and Josh Willingham, who smacked 25 homers in his first year as Florida's left fielder.
|Complete Index of Top 10 Prospects|
the 2007 Prospect Handbook|
30 scouting reports on every team
Volstad: Tom Priddy
Sinkbeil, Coghlan: Rich Abel
West: Morris Fostoff
Tankersley, Thompson, Harvey: Steve Moore
Tucker: Rodger Wood