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, 2011.
It's just about 2:30 on the prospect clock, so let's kick this off. Thanks to everyone for joining us this afternoon.
Ben (Leland Grove): Thanks for the chat, James. How far down your rankings would Edgar Olmos slide, and whats the word on him?
Olmos is still in the top 30, down a few
spots from last year, but the Marlins like him and were pleased he was
finally able to make some progress last year after missing almost all of
his first two seasons with shoulder issues. The former third-rounder
(2008) is long and lean projectable lefty. He needs to become more
consistent with his arm slot and find a comfortable tempo at which to
work. He also fell in love with his changeup a little early last year,
which affected his other pitches by slowing his delivery down. He
corrected that by the second half. He�ll advance to high Class A Jupiter
this year. Down the road he looks like a potential No. 4 or 5 starter.
Shawn (Tampa Bay): Good gracious, what in the
world has happened to this team's prospect depth???? ...I don't see how a
Chad James would even make a good teams list like Atlanta, KC or Tampa
True, the team's depth isn't comparable
to some of the other top systems in the game, but don't overlook the
fact that they just graduated three of their top five prospects from
last year's list to starting jobs in the majors with 1. Mike Stanton, 2.
Logan Morrison, and 5. Gaby Sanchez. Alex Sanabia also cruised through
the system last year, starting in Double-A and finishing with solid
numbers in 12 big league starts. The year before they promoted NL Rookie
of the Year Chris Coghlan. So the depth isn't there now, but half their
lineup is filled with productive players that they developed very
That being said, the system would look a lot better if they had hit on
more of their early picks in recent years. They had five first-rounders
(including two supplemental choices) in 2005 and all they really have to
show for that is Chris Volstad. Sean West could yet make it, though he
lost time to injury last year and was still troubled enough that he was
sent home from the AFL early. Brett Sinkbeil, their top pick in 2006,
doesn't seem likely to pan out at this point. It's not a coincidence
that only one of the top five bonuses in club history has come in the
last 10 years. They don't invest as much in the draft as most other
teams and their success rate on their first-rounders hasn't been as good
as they'd probably like since Adrian Gonzalez.
Alan (NC): When do you think will Skipworth debut with the Marlins?
He's a couple years away. He should move
up to high A Jupiter this season. If all goes well I could see him as a
September callup in 2012 after spending most of that season at Double-A.
Joe Mauer aside, most high school catchers don't move real quick.
Harry (Tampa): Should we write off Brett Sinkbeil as a future Major Leaguer?
Write off is a little strong, but his
stock is certainly low right now. The Marlins removed him from the
40-man roster this fall, so he'll have a tougher time getting back to
the majors than he had getting there this past season when he got the
call despite a lofty 5.71 ERA in Triple-A. He's still got the stuff, but
he seems to lack the confidence to pitch successfully. If he can get
the mental side of things together he could yet be successful, but it's
hard to be optimistic today.
Tom (San Diego): How can you not even mention
21 year old Alex Sanabia. He dominated AA and was very effective as a 21
yr old in MLB. What do you see his future being as a Marlin
Sanabia pitched 72.1 innings in Florida
in 2010. The rookie limit is 50, thus he wasn't eligible for the list. I
sure like what he did last year. He's got a good shot, even with the
addition of Vazquez, to take a regular turn in their rotation this year.
Ike (OH): Is Mark Canha someone to keep an eye on?
Canha offers some power, but is probably
limited to left field or first base. His bat is going to have to carry
him up the ladder.
JAYPERS (IL): Do you feel the Marlins gave up on Maybin and Miller too quickly? Why or why not?
Not really. Maybin could come back to
haunt them a little, but he hasn't taken advantage of his opportunities
in the big leagues to this point. His strikeout-walk ratio actually got
worse last year than it was the year before. He plays nice defense and
has some impressive tools, but you need more out of your table-setter
than a .302 on-base. He's raked in Triple-A the past couple of years
can't translate that success to the big leagues. Miller was moving in
reverse. When the Marlins farmed him out last year it was to Double-A
and high A, not Triple-A. And he was pretty bad in Double-A. He was out
of options and the odds are they wouldn't have been able to keep him
this spring, so dealing him for a potentially usable lefty reliever in
Dustin Richardson was a sensible move to me.
Steve (Florida): What's the Ceiling on Scott
Cousins? In last years review or chat it was said he might have the
second highest ceiling to Stanton of a position player...still true?
He's not going to blow people away with
any particular tool like Stanton does with power, but Cousins does
everything well. He's a fundamentally strong outfielder with a good arm.
He can hit for average, should have 15-20 home run power and can run.
Sometimes he's his own worst enemy. He needs to take a little of Crash
Davis's advice. "Don't think, you'll only hurt the team." If he just
lets his natural ability play he'll be fine. The Maybin trade opens up
center field to him this spring.
Brett (ATL, GA): Did Tom Koehler get any love for this list? Also, where can I expect to see him play next year?
Koehler got some love, certainly. He's in
that next group of guys just after the top 10. The guy finds a way to
win. 16-2 may be a little lucky, but he's won 30 games in three years,
so it wasn't really a fluke. He and Elih Villanueva were both terrific
for Double-A Jacksonville last year. Koehler gets the edge stuffwise.
I'd expect them both to move up to Triple-A this year. The addition of
Javy Vazquez means the big league rotation is probably set this spring
(Johnson, Nolasco, Vazquez, Sanchez, and Volstad or Sanabia), so they'll
both likely spend quite a bit of time at New Orleans.
Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): Who are some of the Marlin prospects you expect to stock the Greensboro Grasshopper low A team?
There should be some fun players to watch
this year. I could see Yelich starting there, which is where he
finished 2010. Marcell Ozuna, who led the NY-P League in home runs ought
to be back in Greensboro. He opened the year there last year before
breaking his wrist. You can also look for 3B/OF Ryan Fisher, 2B Danny
Black, OF Brent Keys, and SS/2B Noah Perio. On the mound I think you
could see Rett Varner, Alan Oaks, Josh Hodges, Kevin Cravey, and Jared
Rogers, among others.
Luke (Pittsburgh): What can you tell us about Ryan Fisher? Is he on your top 30 list?
Speaking of Ryan Fisher ... I'm a Fisher
fan, but he didn't make the top 30 this year. He's someone to keep an
eye on for next year. He was a 15th-round pick last June and could wind
up being a bit of a sleeper. He played outfield, second and third base
in college and the Marlins worked him at both third and in left at
short-season Jamestown last summer. I saw him at third and while he's
got room for improvement, he showed the tools to make some nice plays.
Still, his future may lie in left field. The Marlins think he'll hit for
some power from the left side.
Brian (Philadelphia): Where does Caminero rank on the prospect list?
Arquimedes Caminero slots in around 20th.
He really took off last year. He throws regularly 95-98 mph, but was
clocked as high as 101 at times last year for Greensboro. He needs to
tighten up his slider to give him a reliable second pitch to complement
the heat. He made some progress on that in minicamp this fall.
Rob (Jupiter, FL): What can you tell me about
RHP Joey O'Gara? I saw a few of his starts last summer and scouts raved
about his velocity and sink on his fastball. At 6'7, is he next in the
line of big Marlin arms?
O'Gara is officially on the radar now,
having just snuck into the bottom of the top 30. His 2010 numbers don't
pop out at you, but the front office is pleased with his progress,
especially given his draft position (31st round in 2009). The key to his
success is his sinker, which results in a lot of groundouts. He's
working to add a four-seamer, and his slider has potential to become an
average pitch. He's definitely an intriguing guy going into 2011. If he
keeps progressing like he did last year he'll move up significantly.
Kevin (Munster, IN): Matt Dominguez #1;Really? Do you really see him much more of a Joe Randa?
Dominguez is a more gifted defender than
Randa, and probably not going to hit for the same kind of average,
though I see him hitting for more power. I like Christian Yelich's
future with the bat a little better, but he's got more ground to cover
to get there, where Dominguez could start the season in Florida. I don't
think he's ready to be successful there and he'd probably benefit from
at least a couple months in Triple-A, but with a strong spring it's
possible he makes the jump. Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez compared him
to Brooks Robinson earlier this offseason, which is laying it on awful
thick. But he's a very advanced defender and by late in the season last
year he had closed up some of the holes in his swing. If Coghlan hadn't
gotten hurt last year, Logan Morrison wouldn't likely have used up his
rookie eligibility, meaning he most likely would have been No. 1.
Instead he got some valuable experience and Dominguez slid into that
spot. As a Marlin fan, wouldn't you rather have that?
Deke (FL): Jose Ceda - prospect or suspect?
Ceda's still a prospect. His fastball
generally runs 95-96 mph, with an occasional 97. He also works in a
solid-average slider, which is still a little inconsistent. His control,
especially with the slider, will determine whether he lives up to the
expectations or bounces back and forth between Triple-A and the majors.
The Marlins have put a lot of effort into beefing up their pen this
winter, so he's going to have to fight for a job this spring.
Jon (Peoria): Do you think there's any chance that Jeff Allison gets even a cup of coffee in the big leagues at some point?
Cup of coffee? I could see it. But I
don't have much hope for a full season. He was 25 last year and went
6-11 with a 5.04 ERA at Double-A, with some uninspiring secondary
numbers (110.2 IP, 132 H, 33 BB, 56 K). Elih Villanueva and Tom Koehler
both had very impressive seasons there, so it's not like he was pitching
in a tough environment. I see Allison bouncing to an independent league
somewhere before he reaches the bigs. Still, hard to rule out a cup of
Jasen (FLL): Has Chad James stock fallen some compared to last year based on his 2010 performance? His K:BB ration was awful
Not at all. He was a high school draftee
making his pro debut in the South Atlantic League. Sure, some kids his
age thrive there, but he was young for that level of competition and
really held his own. His high walk total was more a result of trying to
be too perfect than of someone with poor control. He might have given
hitters too much credit instead of going after them. His nibbling often
put him behind in the count, allowing hitters to sit on his fastball.
Despite all that he struck out 105 batters in 114 innings and allowed
just over a hit per inning. I'll be surprised if his numbers don't
improve significantly this year.
Jim (Philly): Did Marquise Cooper make a case for your top 10?
No. He's got exciting speed, but he needs
to make a lot of adjustments to move from athlete to baseball player.
He spent a lot of his high school time playing football, but even still
you'd like to see more than a .215 average out of him in 288 GCL
at-bats, which is what he's produced his first two years. Not to write
him off by any stretch, but at this point in time he's not at top 30
guy, let alone top 10.
Grant (Dallas, TX): James, could you share your impressions of J.T. Realmuto with us, and why he missed this list?
Realmuto is a guy the Marlins really
like. He was a shortstop in high school, but the Marlins drafted him
with the idea of moving him to catcher and they were pleased with what
they saw once they got him in the system last summer. One reason they
think he'll work out behind the plate is his leadership ability. He was a
tremendously successful high school quarterback in Oklahoma. Of course,
his hitting exploits in baseball were nearly as impressive (.595, 28
homers, 119 RBIs in 42 games last spring). He didn't make the top 10
this year, but the tools are definitely there for him to jump in next
Jasen (FLL): It appears the Marlins system is
fairly thin. Is Yelich worthy of #3 ranking or is it a product of the
system's depth and talent?
I think Yelich is going to hit. In a
deeper system he wouldn't be #3 so quickly. But he more than held his
own in a trial at Greensboro last year. The Marlins are very high on his
bat. The "Will Clark" comparison was thrown around a couple of times.
He's got a pretty swing and a good idea already for the strike zone.
Earl (Jacksonville): Do you see Brad Hand as a
Sept call up this year? He seems like he can really had value to the
team, especially due to the lack of a quality left handed starter on
their roster since Dtrain.
I wouldn't rule it out. Hand made a lot
of progress last year and finished with a flourish in the Southern
League playoffs. Florida's entire projected rotation is righthanded, but
there aren't any lefties in a serious position to change that this
year. Sean West, if he's healthy, could challenge for some starts. Hand
is the next most advanced southpaw starter. Chad James is likely a year
Mike (Miami Gardens): It's obvious the Fish
need some quality LH relievers. Outside of Jennings, who else is on the
horizon? Wade Korpi and Andy Loomis are two pitchers whose numbers
seem to warrant consideration.
Mike Dunn, the pitcher they picked up in
the Uggla trade from Atlanta, just missed the top 10. He's got a good
chance to contribute in Florida this year. As with so many hard-throwing
relievers, he needs to improve his command. He walked 17 batters in 19
innings for the Braves last year, yet somehow escaped with a 1.89 ERA.
That won't happen too often. Further down in the system they have Ramon
Benjamin, who works 92-94 mph with his fastball and touches 95. He took a
big jump forward last year at low Class A Greensboro. It's also
possible last year's second-rounder Rob Rasmussen could reach the big
leagues as a reliever. His future role is TBD. It makes sense to start
him this year to get him more innings, but if the Marlins sense he can
help by the end of the summer out of the pen they might use him that way
because he can move faster as a reliever.
Doug (McLean, VA): Is Jake Smolinski still considered a prospect or is he merely an organizational player at this point?
He's still a prospect, but he's not quite
where you'd project a second-round pick (2007 for the Nationals) to be
at this point in his career. He's got the tools to hit better than he
did last year, and he's going to have to because he's not exactly an
artist in the field. The Marlins are still searching for a place to put
him. Third base hasn't been pretty. He's played second and the outfield
as well and could settle at one of them. I don't see him becoming a big
league regular at this point, but he'll be only 22 and likely at
Double-A this year, so he's got time yet to put it together.
Pete (Las Vegas): Josh Hodges going to do anything this year?
If by do anything you mean wow us with
great numbers, probably not. If you mean make some progress, then, yeah.
He's got great raw stuff, but he lacks the maturity pitching-wise of
most guys his age because he didn't have access to the same coaching as a
lot of high school draftees and didn't face the top competition that
many of his peers faced. He narrowly missed out on the top 30, but has
the stuff to jump in there next year.
Richard (LA): Marlins 2011 W-L record prediction???
81-81. Their pitching should be better,
with a completely revamped pen and the addition of Vazquez, but the
division is a challenge. The Phillies are strong favorites and the
Braves have to be penciled in for No. 2, though it will be interesting
to see how their first post-Bobby Cox season unfolds.
Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware):
Greensboro had a quartet of sluggers: Kyle Jensen (18 hr),
Justin Bass (19 homers), Chad Cregar (17 hr), and Skipworth with 17. We
know you like Skipworth as he is in the top 10. What do you think about
the other three guys? How much of this slugging is a function of the
Let's say the ballpark probably didn't
hurt. Both Jensen and Cregar hit 14 of their home runs at home. Bass was
a little more evenly split (12-7). They've got some strength, but the
next step in the chain is the pitcher-friendly Florida State League and
I'll be surprised to see these guys replicate those kinds of numbers
Bryan (Sann Francisco): Did Kyle Jensen make
the top 20 or 30? Looks like he put up pretty good numbers despite a
horrific start. Marlins seem to be crowded with young outfielders, but
any chance he can establish himself? Thanks!
Kyle Jensen is feeling the love from this
crowd. But sorry, he didn't make the list. He's a one-tool guy at this
point, and here are his home-road splits from last year: Home:
.314/.387/.555, .942 OPS, 14 HR, 229 AB; Away: .232/.299/.344, .643 OPS,
4 HR, 241 AB. That was just his second year in the organization, so
there's certainly a chance he can establish himself. But he needs to
prove he can hit outside of Greensboro in order to keep climbing through
John (Ft. Lauderdale): Now that most of their
top prospects have graduated to the big leagues, and with the new
stadium opening in 2012, is it time for the Marlins to open up their
wallets and spend some overslot money in the upcoming draft?
If they were going to do it with the 2012
stadium opening in mind, the time to crack open the wallet was a few
years ago. The Marlins don't seem to like going over slot. They haven't
invested much internationally and are among the lowest-spending clubs on
overall draft bonuses over the past several years. I don't really
foresee that changing. To their credit, they do seem to find some
later-round gems like Logan Morrison (22nd rd 2005, D/F) and Alex
Sanabia (32nd round 2006). But you build a champion with a core of stars
and it's a lot easier to put that together by going over slot.
Ryan (Nashville, TN): What can you tell me
about RHP Alan Oaks and his future on the mound? He broke our hearts as
a hitter when he smacked that walk off HR off David Price in the
regional a few years ago! Now as a pitcher, does he have the stuff to
square off against Price in interleague play down the line?
The Marlins picked Oaks in the 8th round
last June and he was on a fairly tight pitch count at short-season
Jamestown. He converted from the outfield to the mound his last year at
Michigan and isn't quite as advanced as some of the other college arms
the Marlins took last year (Rob Rasmussen, Robert Morey, Rett Varner).
He touched 94 in college, but was more 88-90 after signing, probably
because he had thrown more in the spring than ever before. He's got a
chance, but it's early to match him up against Price.
AC (ATL): Did recently acquired Mike Dunn make the top 30 cut?
Yes. Just missed the top 10, in fact.
AC (ATL): Is Bryan Berglund ever going to pitch?
The Marlins haven't gotten much return on
their 2009 second-round pick thus far. Laburm surgery on his shoulder
kept him out all year, though he was throwing again by minicamp this
fall. He's a tall, projectable guy who they haven't really gotten to see
much of yet. Shoulders are a bit trickier sometimes than elbows these
days, so it's hard to know what to expect at this point. It looks like
he'll be pitching in 2011, at least as of now. I'd expect him to start
in extended spring training and go to one of their short-season teams
when he's ready.
Chuck (Ohio): If Galloway hadn't been injured
did he have a shot at this list? How would you compare him to Aaron
Hicks? Both potential 5 tool guys who have yet to produce.
If Galloway hadn't gotten hurt I think
we'd have a better feel for exactly where he fits. He's in that 15-20
range now after an almost lost year. Before injuring his kidney in a
serious outfield collision he was hitting just .200 with no power and a
21/5 K/BB ratio. He needs at-bats and this is two years in a row he's
lost time to injuries. He might never be a power guy, but the rest of
his tools are exciting. If he could stay healthy and stop chasing
pitches out of the strike zone he could really take off. I think you're
kind of shorting Aaron Hicks. He hit .279 at low Class A Beloit last
year with 88 walks and 112 strikeouts. He put up a .401 on-base
percentage. Galloway's was .259. I'll take Hicks.
JD (AZ): James thanks for the chat. Can you name some of the sleepers that will emerge over the next couple of years?
One guy to keep an eye on is Kevin
Cravey. Talk about sleeper, he signed last June out of a tryout camp
after not pitching his last two years at Texas A&M. He tore through
the GCL and made a few late appearances at Jamestown, where I had the
opportunity to see him. What a curveball. It will be interesting to see
what he does against higher level competition. He was toying with guys
in short-season ball. Noah Perio is another guy to watch. He needs to
put on some muscle (someone send him some steaks), but he's got some
potential as a middle infielder. The Marlins had a righthander in the
GCL last year named Jheysen Manzueta, who throws up to 94 with good life
and has a potential plus changeup. There's a few names for you.
john (uconn): Dan mahoney still a legit prospect after tommy john surgery? How's his stuff since the surgery?
Mahoney's got a chance. He touched 95
before the surgery and was back up to 91-92 this fall. When he's right
he's got a nice 12-to-6 curve. The Marlins aren't sure yet whether he
fits best as a starter or reliever, but if I had to guess I'd say he'll
go in the bullpen eventually.
Kenny (From Highland Falls, NY): Is Sean West still considered a prospect? Does he crack the rotation to open they year?
Our prospect cutoffs to make lists like
these are 50 IP or 130 AB, the major league rookie limits. So by that
standpoint, West is not considered for the top 10. If you define
prospect as a young player who has a nice future in the majors, he's got
a chance to fit in there. I don't see him in the Marlins rotation to
start the year. There are too many guys ahead of him. He might benefit
from a couple of months at Triple-A to find a rhythm, then he could
possibly help either as a starter or a lefty out of the pen.
UNCW Dude (Wilmington, NC): Do you see Chris Hatcher as a major league backup catcher or do you see a move to the mound?
More likely a move to the mound. That
seed has been planted. He just doesn't hit enough to see any kind of
regular time in the bigs, his homer in the Southern League championship
johnb (greenville ,sc): Dunn or Marinez... which has the best chance to someday be the 8th inning setup man/closer for Florida ?
I like Marinez better. Potential closer.
In the meantime could be a useful 8th inning guy as soon as 2012. Maybe
even late this year.
Guys, I really appreciate all the great questions. Thanks for stopping in today. We've got a lot more great top 10s to come.