Florida Marlins: Top 10 Prospects Chat With Mike Berardino

Florida Marlins: Chat




Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2009.

Moderator: What's up, seamheads? Mike Berardino here. Sorry I'm a few minutes late. I have about 90 minutes for you before real life encroaches again, so let's get started.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
Who would you say has a higher probability of reaching his ceiling in five years' time and why - Maybin or Stanton?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: Great question, Jaypers, and one Marlins people love to toss around in their spare time too. There are no major negatives with either guy. Tremendous makeup for both. Maybin, being a bit older, is also more of a known quantity. Stanton actually might have the higher ceiling, especially when it comes to raw power. As for which is a better bet to reach his ceiling by 2013, the slight edge goes to Maybin, just because he's farther along and has shown flashes in the majors. But they're both off-the-charts good.

 Q:  Fish Freak from FL asks:
Had Volstad still been eligible, where would you have ranked him this year? Also, what are your thoughts on his progress this season?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: Probably would have slipped him in there at No. 3, just behind Maybin and Stanton. Thought '08 was a strong year for Volstad. Not only did he get his feet wet in the majors, he was dominant at times. He's the real deal, a solid No. 2 or 3 who, barring injury, will throw groundballs for the next decade or two.

 Q:  Ben from Leland Grove asks:
I find it a bit surprising that Dominguez didn't rank higher, considering how he really turned it on during the latter half of the season. Was it simply a case of better guys above him, or did his stock drop any in your eyes?
 A: 

Moderator: Dominguez is fine. The mono kept him from having the full year he might have had otherwise, but the Marlins are pleased with his progress. He probably could top several other systems, I'm guessing, but he happens to be in a particularly stacked organization.

 Q:  Jean-Paul from Springfield asks:
Did Smolinski crack the top 20? What's the scoop on his hitting ability?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: JP, Smolinski is in the mid-20s somewhere. The Marlins see him as a Chris Coghlan type with a bit more power. Smolinski will have to make a full recovery after blowing out his knee this fall, but there's no reason to think he won't.

 Q:  Lorenzo from Miami Fl asks:
Did Aaron Thompson maintain a spot in the Top 30?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: He's around No. 12 or so. Marlins tried him in the bullpen in the AFL and he did OK. My guess is he'll return to Double-A as a starter.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
How far has Sinkbeil's stock fallen in your opinion? What was the primary reason for his regression this year?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: He just missed the top 10. Ceda, with his overpowering fastball, was deemed to have a higher ceiling than Sinkbeil. He doesn't miss enough bats for some people, and when his slider is off his fastball is very hittable. Also, some don't see him staying in the rotation longterm. Still, I don't know if "regression" is the right word. He just got bypassed by some new imports and some guys with tremendous ability.

 Q:  Bubba the Love Sponge from Tampa asks:
Here's the deal - are you telling me that West and Tucker have higher ceilings than Dominguez and Skippy at this point in time?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: West for sure and Tucker perhaps. Remember, these lists aren't purely about ceiling. That's a key component, but it's also about what we've seen so far. A blend of the present and the future. That's how understand an assignment I've been tackling since '98.

 Q:  Ben from Leland Grove asks:
Where would the Marlins' system rank overall, if you had to guess? Is the Top 10 out of the realm of possibility?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: Don't want to give anything away, but I asked that very question of my good friend Jim Callis out in Vegas and — pulling himself ever-so-briefly away from the blackjack table — he grunted something about "top five." Then he doubled down.

 Q:  Mudcatsfan from Raleigh, NC asks:
Andrew Miller, What is the organization doing to work with him on his control? I feel like we've got a world class opportunity with this kid and its slipping away.
 A: 

Mike Berardino: I pressed Larry Beinfest on this after the trade with the Nationals, asking him what he saw in Miller that would justify keeping him over Olsen when their '09 salaries will probably only be about $1 million apart. Larry said the organization still believes in Miller and understands bigger guys sometimes need more time to develop. He mentioned the Randy Johnson comparison, which we've all heard for years on Miller. Mark Wiley, the big-league pitching coach, has a sharp eye for mechanics and will continue to work with Miller. But that balky right knee (patellar tendinitis) will have to cooperate.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
What is your opinion of the Maybin/Miller/D-Train/Miggy trade in retrospect, from the Marlins' point of view?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: I believe I declared the Fish the winners of that one last June on the very day Dontrelle was shipped back to A-ball. Cabrera had a massive second half, but at $152 million isn't that what he's supposed to do? The Marlins sold at precisely the right time on Dontrelle. Maybin is going to be an All-Star. Miller still has that potential. Badenhop could be a valuable middle-innings eater for years. Trahern disappointed as did Rabelo and De La Cruz. But if you're the Marlins, you're still very happy you did the deal. Jorge Cantu did a passable imitation of Cabrera last year ... and for about $13 million less.

 Q:  Meta from Atlanta asks:
What is Kyle Skipworth's ceiling? Brian McCann, but not chubby?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: Chubby or not, I think there's about 27 other teams out there that would take MaCann in a second. Skipworth's comparable remains Joe Mauer. Marlins were very pleased with Skipworth's GCL experience. Had a little adversity, fought through it, showed leadership and was hitting by the end. He's definitely on the fast track.

 Q:  Mudcatsfan from Raleigh, NC asks:
Considering their recent success drafting in the first, second, and suplemental rounds, Do you find it as bewildering as i do that the Fish didn't offer salary arb to their eligible FA's this year?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: Don't believe any of them were Type A guys, so there was no benefit to doing so. Only danger for a team with the game's lowest payroll once again.

 Q:  TJ from Miami asks:
Who has the inside track on the 2B after this year?? We all know that Uggla is gone after this season
 A: 

Mike Berardino: Would have to say Emilio Bonifacio. They'll look at him at third this year, but even if he wins that job, he's supposed to be a wizard at second. Chris Coghlan can always shift back over to third, where he played at Ole Miss. As for Uggla, I believe he would work with the Marlins on a long-term deal. His loyalty toward this organization and especially owner Jeffrey Loria runs deep. But all the infield depth does point to turnover for everyone but Hanley, doesn't it?

 Q:  Robert Goldberg from Lyndhurst, NJ asks:
I have to admit that I was shocked to see Chris Coghlan so far down on the top 10, considering he has done nothing but succeed on every level in the minors. Is he still part of the organization's future plans?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: Sorry to shock you, Bobby. Check out the guys that ranked ahead of CC. They're pretty good too.

 Q:  Shawn from Rochester asks:
Did John Raynor end up falling just outside the Top 10? What is his future ceiling? Is there any chance he can make the team out of Spring Training and contribute this year?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: Raynor is right there in the 12-13 range, I believe. You'd like to see the strikeouts come down, but he has game-changing speed on the bases and a good approach to everything he does. He definitely has a shot to split time with Hermida in left out of spring training. He could be a Reed Johnson type with more speed.

 Q:  John from Pensacola, FL asks:
Were the Marlins happy with the pitching debuts of Kris Harvey and Jon Fulton? How hard do they throw?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: Did an org report on them back in August, along with Ketnold Noel, the other late-year conversion. Harvey throws harder than Fulton, running it into the low 90s. He used to hit 95 at Clemson, I'm told, so the Marlins still believe there's more in there. None of those three made the top 30, but I could see Harvey in particular pulling a Resop and taking off from here.

 Q:  Rick from Amherst asks:
What type of power do you project for Maybin?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: 15-20 this year? With a chance to add more pop as he fills out.

 Q:  John from Pensacola, FL asks:
How did the Marlins let Joe Nelson get away? They couldn't have given him the extra 100K?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: That one bothered me too. Guy was outstanding in every way last year, and I know Fredi loves him. Maybe the Marlins know how much he loved pitching at home and believe he'll blink and come back to them for $650,000 or so. Or maybe they feared they burned him out last year with such a heavy workload. They have their reasons for everything they do, even if sometimes they aren't so clear.

 Q:  Jean-Paul from Springfield asks:
Will Maybin continue to bat leadoff in '09? If not, where does Fredi intend to put him? Also, assuming he cuts down on his K's, could he be a 30/30 man someday?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: After talking with Fredi at the winter meetings, I'd guess Maybin will open the year in the leadoff spot with Hanley third. If that doesn't work as planned, Hanley could return to leadoff, where he's always appeared much more comfortable, and Maybin could drop down to sixth or seventh.

 Q:  Mudcatsfan from Raleigh, NC asks:
Do you feel the Marlins are willing to take advantage of John Baker's awesome platoon split numbers as a Righty killer? I would think finding a catcher to pair him with who can hit lefties is a much easier task. Or is that not an option with catchers, since it's more important which pitchers they work with, rather than matching the opposing pitchers? (I'd also like to note that he actually improved against lefties this year at AAA Albequerque, finally putting up a decent showing vs Lefties for the first time in his career, though he went back to bashing righties in the bigs)
 A: 

Mike Berardino: Yes, that's the plan. and depending on who they sign as the other catcher, he should see his fair share of lefties as well. The Marlins believe they have a late bloomer on their hands. That's why they're not willing to overpay (so far) for one of the Rangers' kids.

 Q:  Keith from Fort Dix NJ asks:
Anibal sanchez, Do u think he will have a rotation spot this spring? BTW... Love the chats!!
 A: 

Mike Berardino: Thanks, Keith. Anything we can do to brighten the mood of those dealing with wintry weather. Sanchez has a spot, but I have my doubts about his ability to complete this comeback from shoulder surgery. He really struggled with his command after his return, and his stuff was down a tick.

 Q:  www.AUTOGRAFFIX.com from Madison, WI asks:
I didn't see Isaac Galloway's name on either list. Will he be on the 2009 Top Ten List? What's your take on him?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: He's in the 16 or 17 range. Has a great chance to move up next year. How far will depend on how many of those guys ahead of him stick in the majors and are no longer eligible. Tremendous athlete with great makeup. A legit steal for Stan Meek and his boys.

 Q:  Tom from San Francisco, CA asks:
Do you really forsee Gaby Sanchez forcing Logan Morrison to move to left field? I hope that's not the case. What would be the advantage of that? Does Sanchez have a better glove over there?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: Quite possibly. Morrison moved out to left a bit in the fall league, and early reports were solid. I have my doubts about Gaby's defensive reputation myself. He isn't the biggest guy, for starters, but he has worked extremely hard on his footwork and hands. Southern League managers named him the top defensive 1B in the league last year, so, yeah, he gets first dibs over there.

 Q:  chuck from pittsburgh asks:
Does Cameron Maybin project to have gold glove ability in CF in the future? Or is he going to be in the tier just below that?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: Yes. No less an authority than Mr. Marlin, new front office assistant Jeff Conine, compares him to a young Devon White. High praise indeed.

 Q:  Mike from Lynchburg, VA asks:
How many big-league home runs can Stanton drill when he gets there? Where do you see him beginning and ending the 2009 season?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: What's he capable of someday? 30-40 per year if last year wasn't a mirage. Huge power. He'll begin next year in the Florida State League and just might end it at Dolphin Stadium.

 Q:  Dave from Pittsburgh asks:
I know the projected lineups aren't to be taken that seriously but I was surprised not to see Hermida's name. Should I infer from the way you moved the lineup around that Hermida projects as less than Morrison, Maybin, Stanton and Gaby Sanchez?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: I still like Hermida but the front office is split on him and he could still be dealt before Opening Day. It should tell you something that a thrice-traded journeyman like Cody Ross bumped Hermida from right to left in next year's projected outfield.

 Q:  karl of Delaware from Georgetown, Delaware asks:
Is GCL's Ernesto Marzanillo as good as his stats make him look (batting avg .347)?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: Apparently not.

 Q:  Karl of Delaware from Georgetown, Delaware asks:
Thomas Hickman fizzled in 2008. Was this due to injury or has he peaked out? He was a top 30 prospect last year, so his 08 season was a puzzle to me.
 A: 

Mike Berardino: He didn't make the top 30 this year. Just didn't make the necessary adjustments.

 Q:  Will from Wisconsin asks:
Do the Marlins have any interesting international prospects who we have't heard much about?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: Not really. They haven't spend overseas for years, although they did give a quarter mil to Venezuelan shortstop Jose Torres last winter. He had no support for this top 30 list.

 Q:  Jon from Chula Vista asks:
Kyle Skipworth starts at what level next year?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: Greensboro

 Q:  Larry from San Francisco asks:
Where does Scott Cousins fit in the rankings?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: In the top dozen or so. Marlins love his full-out style. Tremendous athlete. Strong arm as well. He could take over in right as early as '09 and be the bridge to Stanton.

 Q:  Barack Obama from Chicago, IL asks:
What is the Marlins take on Kyle Kaminska from my hometown of Chicago? What is his ceiling and future role?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: Wow, great of you to drop by, Mr. President. Kaminska's interesting. Got hit pretty hard at Greensboro. Didn't make the top 30. And don't you have bigger things to worry about these days? Like forcing the 30-year mortgage rate down to 4.5 percent so I can refinance and buy my kids some Christmas presents?

 Q:  Pedro from Dallas, Texas asks:
Who is the best shortstop prospect in the system?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: Would you believe Jose Torres, who didn't even make the top 30. Ozzie Martinez is a plus defender but no bat. If Smolinski stays at short, he would rocket to the top of that list, but I expect him to slide over to 2B, especially coming off knee surgery.

 Q:  Phil from Chandler, AZ asks:
Why did Florida jump on Arizona State high school recruit Brad Hand in the second round? He was projected to go much lower, especially coming from the cold-weather state of Minnesota. Does he top of the rotation potential?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: Marlins love Mr. Hand, who is in the low teens on our top 30. Big physical guy with great projectability. Just another case of smart scouting. In this case, Bob Oldis, the Marlins' Midwest scout.

 Q:  Bryan from San Francisco asks:
I was surprised to see that Scott Cousins made your Arizona Fall League Top Prospect list but missed out in his own organization. What are your thoughts on him, and might we see him in Miami at some point in 2009?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: See earlier answer. Deep organization.

 Q:  Mike from Colorado asks:
Is Kyle Winters going to make the top 30 cut? Does he still project as a starter?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: Yes and yes

 Q:  Ryan from New York, NY asks:
If Sean West is rated so highly of a talent, why in the world is he only their #5 starter in 2012? I thought he was a top of the rotation kind of guy.
 A: 

Mike Berardino: He is if he puts it all together. But it's sort of hard to knock those other guys down a peg.

 Q:  Phillip from Texas asks:
Any hope that Jacob Marceaux puts everything together and becomes atleast a solid reliver?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: It's looking less and less likely. Did not make Top 30.

 Q:  Ted from South Carolina asks:
What type of stuff does Jeff Allison have these days? does he still project as a front of the rotation starter?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: Middling. Fastball in the 80s. He battles he way through every outing, though, just as he battles his way through every day on this planet. That's going to have to be enough for him. Did not make the Top 30.

 Q:  Matt from Franklin asks:
Do you see Lindstrom seizing the closer's job or will he give way to Ceda or Tucker down the road?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: Lindstrom can handle it.

 Q:  Mudcatsfan from Raleigh asks:
Do you have any idea what happened to Jason Stokes?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: I believe he was last seen serving as a stuntman for Brendan Fraser.

 Q:  Logan from Grantsville asks:
Why did Galloway fall as far in the draft as he did?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: Horrible senior year. Nothing more than that.

 Q:  www.AUTOGRAFFIX.com from Madison, WI asks:
Will Miguel Cabrera be the 1st Marlins Prospect to enter the Hall of Fame? Do you see him wearing a Marlins Cap? Do any of the current prospects have Hall of Fame ability?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: He will be if he doesn't eat Caracas. He will wear a Tigers cap if he makes it. And I hate to put Cooperstown labels on anybody who hasn't established himself in the majors yet. So much can go wrong.

 Q:  Quinn from WPB, fl. asks:
What do you think about Dallas McPherson at 3B and Canto at 1ST ? Sanchez has no chance after 2009 with Morrison !
 A: 

Mike Berardino: Possible, but Bonifacio probably gets the first look if Cantu moves over to first. Dallas will have to bash his way into the lineup if he ever gets a chance. Marlins are serious about this return to valuing defense. They're just having a hard time implementing it.

 Q:  Ian from Pittsburgh asks:
Can you tell us why Florida has so many very good homegrown prospects all the time?
 A: 

Mike Berardino: Jim Fleming, Stan Meek and everybody who works under them.

Moderator: Looks like we're out of questions and out of time. Thanks to everyone who stopped by, especially the President-elect. Happy holidays, my fellow seamheads.