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Top Ten Prospects: Florida Marlins
Complete Index of Top 10s

By Mike Berardino
December 23, 2004


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, 2005.

Scouting reports for the Top 10 Prospects (Subscribers only) -- Click Here to Subscribe


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TOP TEN PROSPECTS
1. Jeremy Hermida, of
2. Scott Olsen, lhp
3. Yorman Bazardo, rhp
4. Jason Stokes, 1b
5. Josh Willingham, c/1b
6. Eric Reed, of
7. Taylor Tankersley, lhp
8. Jason Vargas, lhp
9. Robert Andino, ss
10. Trevor Hutchinson, rhp
BEST TOOLS
Best Hitter for Average Jeremy Hermida
Best Power Hitter Jason Stokes
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Josh Willingham
Fastest Baserunner Eric Reed
Best Athlete Jai Miller
Best Fastball Yorman Bazardo
Best Curveball Allen Baxter
Best Slider Scott Olsen
Best Changeup Mike Neu
Best Control Nic Ungs
Best Defensive Catcher Ryan Jorgensen
Best Defensive Infielder Robert Andino
Best Infield Arm Robert Andino
Best Defensive Outfielder Eric Reed
Best Outfield Arm Angel Molina
TOP PROSPECTS
OF THE DECADE
1995 Charles Johnson, c
1996 Edgar Renteria, ss
1997 Felix Heredia, lhp
1998 Mark Kotsay, of
1999 A.J. Burnett, rhp
2000 A.J. Burnett, rhp
2001 Josh Beckett, rhp
2002 Josh Beckett, rhp
2003 Miguel Cabrera, 3b
2004 Jeremy Hermida, of
TOP DRAFT PICKS
OF THE DECADE
1995 Jaime Jones, of
1996 Mark Kotsay, of
1997 Aaron Akin, rhp
1998 Chip Ambres, of
1999 Josh Beckett, rhp
2000 Adrian Gonzalez, 1b
2001 Garrett Berger, rhp (2nd round)
2002 Jeremy Hermida, of
2003 Jeff Allison, rhp
2004 Taylor Tankersley, lhp
LARGEST BONUSES
IN CLUB HISTORY
Josh Beckett, 1999 $3,625,000
Adrian Gonzalez, 2000 $3,000,000
Livan Hernandez, 1996 $2,500,000
Jason Stokes, 2000 $2,027,000
Jeremy Hermida, 2002 $2,012,500
En route to a World Series title and Baseball America's Organization of the Year award in 2003, the Marlins dipped liberally into their farm system for help. Both in lightning-bolt callups such as Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis, and trade pieces such as Denny Bautista and former No. 1 overall draft pick Adrian Gonzalez, they found creative and essential uses for their prospects.

Opportunities weren't as plentiful in 2004 for those in the minors, and the falloff was such that the south Florida baseball writers chose not to name a Marlins rookie of the year at the big league level. A number of six-year free agents were brought to the majors, including Josias Manzanillo, Aaron Small and Larry Sutton, but none of them made an impact.

When a spate of doubleheaders and an injury to A.J. Burnett left Florida looking for a starter in the middle of September's wild-card push, the assignment fell by default to righthander Logan Kensing—who was promoted from high Class A. Though he has a solid future, Kensing went 0-3, 12.65 in three fill-in starts with the season on the line.

On the positive side, the Marlins didn't have to raid their system as much as they had the year before. They did ship off slick-fielding shortstop Wilson Valdez to get setup man Billy Koch from the White Sox in June, a deal they might like to have back. At the July trading deadline, they put lefthander Bill Murphy, their only Futures Game representative, in a six-player blockbuster with the Dodgers that brought Guillermo Mota, Paul LoDuca and Juan Encarnacion back east. They also parted with low Class A swingman Travis Chick to get Ismael Valdez from the Padres, and Chick promptly saw his velocity and effectiveness jump.

Florida's minor league teams finished a combined 63 games under .500, and only Double-A Carolina among the top five affiliates finished with a winning record. That's evidence that the system isn't nearly as strong as it was when BA rated it among the game's 10 best entering each year from 1999-2003. But the Marlins would willingly pay that price again if it meant another championship.

They did restock their system via the 2004 draft. Second-year scouting director Stan Meek took college lefthanders with his first two picks, and Taylor Tankersley and Jason Vargas immediately surged onto our Marlins Top 10 Prospects list. They could move quickly through the system.

Florida grabbed a pair of athletic high school outfielders in rounds three and four, and both Greg Burns and Jamar Walton showed considerable potential in Rookie ball. Fifth-rounder Brad Davis, who caught Vargas at Long Beach State, also showed fine all-around skills.

As the Marlins try to rejuvenate their system, they appointed Brian Chattin to oversee it. Chattin was promoted to farm director in December after serving as an assistant to his predecessor, Marc DelPiano. DelPiano now works with Fred Ferreira in the club's international operations department.


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