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.

Mike Berardino: OK, I'm here now. Looks like we've got plenty of questions so we'll get started.

    Jose Ceda (?): Wherefore art my name on thou list?

Mike Berardino: As Mr. Keenan taught me in freshman high school English, "wherefore" means "why" or "for what reason or purpose," but I'll still answer the question because I'm a nice guy. Ceda had shoulder problems that dated back to his final days with the Cubs and never made it to the mound for the Marlins in 2009. They hope he'll be back in 2010 and he'll probably wind up somewhere around No. 15 just based on his big fastball and prior success. Needs to get in better shape, though.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Are you reasonably optimistic that Stanton won't be the second coming of Maybin when it comes to K's and injuries?

Mike Berardino: Hard to predict injuries, and Stanton was shut down in Arizona recently with a minor back problem, but he doesn't seem to have the same holes in his swing that Maybin did until this year. Of course, closing those holes cost Maybin significant power. I still see both standing side by side in the Marlins outfield by 2011, if not sooner.

    Jean-Paul (Springfield, IL): At this point, has Maybin's stock lessened in your eyes any since this time last year? What is his ceiling, and what are his biggest shortcomings?

Mike Berardino: Sure it has, but need to make one thing clear at this point: Maybin was no longer eligible for this list due to having more than 130 big-league at-bats under his belt. He actually has 257 to date and the starting CF job is his to lose once more next season.

    Harry (Miami): Did Brad Hand come close to this list?

Mike Berardino: Not really. They like him a lot but the big lefty from Minnesota probably checks in around No. 20 in the final Top 30 (which I'm still putting in proper order for the upcoming book BA does every year). Plus curve but needs to miss more bats and be more consistent.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Did Arquimedes Caminero come close to this list? What does he best project as?

Mike Berardino: As they say in The Daily Racing Form, "Did not menace." Arm strength guy but lacks pitchability (or a spot on the Top 30).

    Jai Miller (FL): Am I no more than a 4th OF in your eyes? Did I make your top 30?

Mike Berardino: "Yes" and "not looking too good"

    Richard (Ft. Lauderdale): What is the status of Osvaldo Martinez? Was he a prospect?

Mike Berardino: He opened some eyes this year with a solid season in high A. Some in the organization believe he can be an everyday big-league shortstop, although there are still the predictable questions about his bat. He has made himself into a prospect.

    Oscar (Miami): Where do you rank Bryan Petersen? Will he make the majors next year?

Mike Berardino: Just missed the Top 10 and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see him in the big leagues at some point in 2010. Guy's a gamer. Then again, he's behind Scott Cousins at this point and is in the same prospect neighborhood as John Raynor.

    Ben (Leland Grove): If Marinez proves he can handle a starting role in the future, what does he best project as — # 2-3-4-5?

Mike Berardino: With that fastball, probably a solid 2 at best? But that's saying a lot for a guy who just hit the radar this year.

    ERIC (MIAMI, FL): Did P.J Dean have shoulder or TJS? I know that we acquired him in the Olsen deal but if I am correct he didn't throw a single pitch for us all year. What is his status?

Mike Berardino: You are correct about him not throwing a single pitch all year. His status is murky.

    Oscar (Miami): How high did you rank Dan Jennings? Will he be able to help the Marlins bullpen in 2010?

Mike Berardino: The personnel man or the pitcher? Both big lefties are highly valued in the organization. Young Dan Jennings is definitely on the fast track after making it to Double-A by the end of 2009. He should be somewhere in the teens, thanks to a tremendous slider that is the best in the system.

    Oscar (Miami): Did Marcell Ozuna made the top 30 Marlins prospects?

Mike Berardino: Absolutely. Pablo's cousin should have a much greater impact on this organization than the little infielder ever did after coming over from the Cardinals in the Edgar Renteria trade. This Ozuna is big and physical and is a right fielder you can dream on. Should be in the 12-15 area?

    Brian (Alexandria, VA): Where (if anywhere) would Aaron Thompson have ranked if he was not traded to the Nationals?

Mike Berardino: Hmmm. Maybe around 20? Definitely was going the wrong way, hence the trade.

    Rich (NJ): Can you please provide us with your thoughts on how you feel Kyle Skipworth's 2010 season will go and if he is doing any "winter work" in any league. I go to a lot of BlueClaws games and was not too impressed with him this year, although he seems like a real nice kid. Thanks,

Mike Berardino: No winter work that I know of. Just resting up for his second full pro season and trying to add some much needed strength to hsi frame. Great kid. Smart kid. But you're right that his offensive numbers this year were very poor, especially in that home ballpark. I look for him to return to Greensboro and get it right in 2010. If not, uh-oh.

    Chris Lizza (NY): Mike how do the Marlins constantly have one of the best farm systems in baseball with such a limited budget? How is it their scouting department are not raided by the big market teams?

Mike Berardino: Probably because Jim Fleming, Dan Jennings, Stan Meek and Orrin Freeman — just to name a few of the leadership types — have built a strong collection of visionary scouts who aren't afraid to speak up and who are loyal to the organization, even when opportunity beckons elsewhere. Guys like Fleming and Jennings are signed through 2015, which is incredible (but well-deserved) security in this business. Also, the Marlins aren't afraid to refuse permission to other teams who want to talk to their best people. Even if it might be a promotion, it's hard to even get one of the key Marlins people in for an interview. In some ways, that's smart business. On a personal level, however, I would call that unfair, especially if a similar promotion isn't possible in the Marlins front office.

    Rick (Denver, Colorado): Welcome back Mike!!!!!!! Hey can you tell us how Jose Ceda rehab from shoulder surgery is going? will he be ready by spring training?

Mike Berardino: That's the hope. He is slowly working his way back and was at 80 percent capacity, according to one witness, in recent weeks.

    Corbin (Athens, Georgia): Do you think Blake Brewer has a shot at cracking the top 30 list? Brewer has good stuff but had some major control problems this year

Mike Berardino: Sorry, don't see it.

    Tom (San Diego): What do you think of 2 local products, Garrett Parcell who went to SD ST and is in the AFL right now and Alex Sanabia. Sanabia was in High A at 20 yrs old and could be in AA at only 21

Mike Berardino: Parcell is interesting. He was very successful in Double-A (0.25 ERA) and was back up to 93 mph after two Tommy John surgeries. But how will he hold up going forward? Sanabia was a 32nd-round pick who should be monitored but he doesn't miss enough bats.

    Matt (Boca Raton): Mike: Do you see Jai Miller factoring into the Marlins' future plans in the outfield? His numbers have seemed to improve each year at higher levels each time, but he seems to be completely overlooked by anyone ranking the Marlins top prospects. He was very raw coming out of high school (ranked higher as a football/basketball prospect), but seems to have made the necessary adjustments to convert his physical skills to the game of baseball. Your thoughts?

Mike Berardino: Another Reggie Abercrombie?

    Jeff (Pittsburgh): I realize that these aren't much more than for fun, but it seems odd that Dominguez isn't in the projected 2012 lineup. Cantu cannot handle third base defensively now, why would he be projected to be there three years from now?

Mike Berardino: I agree. I definitely would have put him in there but BA has these weird rules about not assuming trades or something, so the natural upflow of talent doesn't seem to be reflected in these projected lineups. I say we flood Jim Callis' inbox until he relents!

    ERICK (Orlando): What grade would you give our 2009 draft? also do you think we will offer Nick Johnson and Kiko Calero arbitration? Would be nice to get 2 supplemental picks for them

Mike Berardino: Too soon to say on 2009 draft, but it's possible only James and Berglund will make the top 30. Hodges, the big-bodied seventh rounder, is a possibility near the end. No way on an arbitration offer from the Marlins. They're too smart to fall for that one.

    Ramp (Miami, Florida): Do you know if Rodolfo Encarnacion still posses that 98 mph Fb he once did? By looking at the stats it appears he is back!!!!

Mike Berardino: Still just an arm strength guy, I'm told. No list for him.

    Lou (Nevada): What kinda upside would you say Graham Johnson has? any chance he cracks the top 30 list?

Mike Berardino: He'll be on there. Excellent upside for the late-blooming Californian who has remade his delivery with the help of pitching coordinator Wayne Rosenthal.

    Chris (Palm Beach): Jhan Marinez over Brad Hand? what is the explanation here?

Mike Berardino: Bigger arm. Higher ceiling.

    Jeff Allison Fan (Dallas, TX): Is Jeff Allison still considered a "legit" prospect today? because the scouting reports I have read on him lately say that today he works more in the upper 80's with his fastball where as in the past he use to hit 97mph

Mike Berardino: You've got that about right. The kid ruined his career but at least he's still alive. Marlins people are still rooting for him and it wouldn't surprise me to see him make the majors someday based on sheer guts. Great story, but it will always be a battle for him, on and off the field, where once everything came so easy.

    JoSE (Puerto Rico): How come Jose Rosario didn't make the top 10 list over Martinez? Is it because Rosario has below average stuff or something?

Mike Berardino: Three years older, and I didn't hear the same raves about him. Any raves, actually.

    Josh G (Sacto, CA): Is Gaby Sanchez's future with the Marlins or another team?

Mike Berardino: Good question. Looks like he'll get one more shot in the spring, but it should tell you something that the Marlins are thinking of keeping Jorge Cantu around for insurance.

    Josh G (Sacto, CA): How close was John Raynor?

Mike Berardino: Fairly close, but he dropped back a bit this year. Didn't use his speed as effectively as in the past.

    Josh G (Sacto, CA): How close was Bryan Berglund?

Mike Berardino: Not close. Hasn't done enough yet. But the big Swede should be in the second 10 somewhere, I'd suppose. His velocity was down a little from the spring but there's a lot to like here.

    Rob (Alaska): Thanks for the chat. I have a Q about Logan Morrison's power ceiling. From what I can tell he's doing the things you'd hope to see - patience, batting practice power, in-games doubles - that are often viewed as leading to HR power later on. Yet it seems like there is also a lot of doubt about his power potential. I'm wondering if you could help me sort out what feels like a disconnect.

Mike Berardino: Can't forget about that severe injury at the base of his right thumb and how that no doubt impacted his power numbers the rest of the year. Worst case, he should be good for 15-20 homers a year in the majors, and with his plate discipline and natural strength I'd expect him to do a lot more.

    Danny V (Hartford, CT): Hi Mike. Did Marcell Ozuna crack the Top 30? The conspicuous absence of any kind of buzz around an 18 year-old CF coming off of a US debut in which he topped the GCL in 2B and TB makes me think I've overlooked a major red flag of some kind here. Am I missing something? What do the Marlins think Ozuna's ceiling is? Thanks for the chat!

Mike Berardino: No, there's buzz. Just check out my man Juan C. Rodriguez's latest organization report on Ozuna in the pages of BA. And see the above answer on Ozuna.

    MJ (Valpo): I liked what Brad Hand did—after an April where he played the part of a Christmas tree! If you take out about 4-5 bad starts, and I mean really bad, he had close to 20 QS—as a 19/20 Y.O. in low-A that's legit. Is he still a top-15 guy? A strapping lefty with his projection has to be regarded highly, right?

Mike Berardino: Good line. Highly regarded. And those cold-weather guys tend to bloom later as they get more game experience.

    Eric (California): Hey thanks so much for picking this question. I always enjoy your chats! Is there any concern that the strikeouts will be an ongoing probalem that will limit Stanton's upside or do the experts remain confident that as he refines his game those numbers will become less of an issue. Also is there anything to indicate that if Uggla is moved that Coghlan would not slide into second base? thanks!

Mike Berardino: You're welcome, Eric. But gotta keep it to one per customer (unless I forget).

    jeff (nocal): Is Ceda still on the radar or is his weight/injured arm push him to the "suspect" pile?

Mike Berardino: Radar.

    Jason (Evansville): Jay Buente did well between AA and AAA this year, and he's currently throwing in the AFL. Is he in your top 30, and will he be in the Marlins' pen anytime soon?

Mike Berardino: Little short on stuff, but that doesn't mean he won't get a spot on the New Orleans shuttle at some point.

    MJ (Valpo): Matt Dominguez as another Jeff Cirillo? Cirillo had a few decent years—in Colorado—and was a "nice" hitter to have in your lineup, but when you spend the #12 pick and dole out $1.8 million to sign a guy, I don't think the Marlins want a "Cirillo-type" out of Dominguez. Is he really that average after only 2 1/2 years of pro ball?

Mike Berardino: Hey, don't sell Cirillo short. His career averages in a 14-year career that included two All-Star selections: .296/.366/.430. This is worst-case. The Mike Lowell thing is still out there for Dominguez to shoot for.

    JC (Boca): Mike, love your work on the Dolphins. If Andrew Miller were somehow eligible for this list, where would he rank? Do you think he'll ever figure it out and become a solid major league starter (not to mention an ace)?

Mike Berardino: Thanks, JC. I root for my fellow Tar Heel, but Miller has been very hard to figure. He'd be top five on this list based on size, stuff and projectability, but at some you need to see some results, don't you?

    Paul Bunyan (San Jose, CA): Wow, Dave Winfield is a comp for Mike Stanton? How close is to the the HOFer, or is the comp to Jayson Werth or Jermaine Dye more likely?

Mike Berardino: Who can really say? They're just names at this point.

    Tony (Boston): You mention Cousins having the 2nd highest ceiling in the system. That begs the question: what is that ceiling? A CFer in the Steve Finley mode? Any chance he ends up as the CFer, or will being a Marlin with Maybin already on the team depress his value?

Mike Berardino: Finley works for me. Cousins should not be overlooked,even with Maybin ahead of him. Plus,he can easily slide to a corner spot and get some ABs that way.

    Ryan H. (Abingdon, MD): I see that you (or the BA staff) has Chad James listed No. 2 in the rotation, ahead of Ricky Nolasco. Do you really think that James has the kind of upside to be better than Nolasco has been?

Mike Berardino: Hey, it's all in fun. But James was a first round pick. Nolasco, bless his competitive heart, was a fourth rounder.

    Alex C (Atlanta): Is Ryan Tucker actually healthy now?

Mike Berardino: It's my understanding that he is.

    Alex C (Atlanta): Is Jake Smolinski a legitimate prospect? Where might he be expected to fall on the top 30?

Mike Berardino: Somewhere around 25?

    Chris (Miami): Jay Voss or Dan Jennings?

Mike Berardino: Jennings. But Voss could be in the same big league pen with him someday.

    Josh (Wake Forest, NC): Does Tom Koehler have a place on the Top 30? Looks like a pretty good draft from a small northern school.

Mike Berardino: He's borderline. Has some support. Can't say for sure right now.

    Al (NJ): What is the buzz on Chad James in the Marlins organization, he hasnt thrown a professional pitch yet but the #3 ranking looks like there must be some excitement about this kid?

Mike Berardino: Yes, excitement is there.

    skip (florida): What are your thoughts on Chris Lerouex?

Mike Berardino: Should be better than he is. Needs to get some confidence and blow people away. Should stick in the bigs on his next try.

    Kyle (New Mexico): Hey Mike do you got a scouting report on Alvaro Estevez? I saw him pitch this year in Jupiter and he was impressive!!!

Mike Berardino: i was told "not yet" on him.

    Joseph (Fort Worth): I'm guessing that was a typo that Logan Morrison is listed as having the best power in the system? Thanks for the chat.

Mike Berardino: I sent in Stanton for power.

    Mark (Miami): Who are the top 5 lefthanders in the organization?

Mike Berardino: James, Olmos, Hand, Jennings, Voss, Taylor?

    Rob (Alaska): Thanks for the answer to my Logan Morrison Q! Sorry I doubled up.

Mike Berardino: Hey, always happy to help an Alaskan, even if I was cursed out for no apparent reason on the streets of Anchorage one Sunday morning in 1997.

    Rodrigo (MIA): Are their any under the radar guys in the DSL and GCL that we should keep our eyes on?

Mike Berardino: Daniel Gil in the Dominican is intriguing (54/7 K/BB ratio, 6 foot 5). Big Josh Hodges (GCL) might make the end of the top 30.

    Osvaldo (Florida): Is it safe to call Bret Sinkbeil a bust already?

Mike Berardino: No. They moved him to the pen finally in June and were really pleased with the results.

    Ian (Baltimore): Your answers are getting shorter and shorter. Do you have a bus to catch?

Mike Berardino: Nope.

    Josh (Texas): Who would you say are the 5 hardest throwing pitchers in the farm system? Do we have anybody who can hit 100mph!!!! I know that doesn't translate to getting people out or being an effective pitcher but just wondering

Mike Berardino: Radar guns, like cayenne pepper, should be used in moderation.

    Ricky (Nebraska): Did Curtis Peterson receive any support for the top 30 list? What do you think his ceiling is?

Mike Berardino: He should make it. Could bolt into the top 15 with another solid season. Touches 94 with a big overhand curve. Good frame, work ethic. Works for me.

Mike Berardino: OK, looks like we worked through all the questions I could handle or that weren't repetitive (or from Alaska). Thanks again for joining me here for the 48th consecutive year of Marlins Top Prospects chats! Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a bad football game to hype.