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2003 Wrapups: Florida Marlins

With the 2003 minor league season coming to a close, we will be providing a brief wrapup of the season for all 30 minor league teams. In each report, we will take a look at how the team's Top 10 Prospects performed, identify some emerging prospects and organizational leaders, and report on the performance of their top draft pick.
Complete index of Team Wrapups               2003 League Wrapups

By Kevin Goldstein
October 5, 2003

Season Results

Level Team League W L PCT
AAA Albuquerque Pacific Coast 74 70 .514
AA Carolina* Southern 80 58 .580
A+ Jupiter Florida State 76 62 .551
A Greensboro South Atlantic 67 69 .493
SS Jamestown New York-Penn 22 51 .301
R GCL Marlins Gulf Coast 26 32 .448
TOTAL 344 342 ..501
   * won league championship


Performance of Top 10 Prospects

Here's how our top 10 prospects entering this season performed in 2003.

1. Miguel Cabrera, 3b/of      Age: 20
Was an early candidate for our Minor League Player of the Year honors before receiving a late June callup. Hit a game-winning homer in his major league debut, and was able to move back to his natural position when Mike Lowell was injured. Performed very well in the majors, and got some key hits in the Marlins' postseason run.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Carolina (Double-A) 69 266 46 97 29 3 10 59 31 49 9 .365 .429 .609
Marlins (MLB) 87 314 39 87 23 1 12 62 25 84 0 .268 .325 .468

2. Jason Stokes, 1b      Age: 21
Slowed by lingering wrist problems, Stokes still managed to lead the Florida State League in RBIs. Still needs to tighten up his strike zone, though he did make positive strides defensively.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Jupiter (High Class A) 121 462 67 119 31 3 17 89 36 135 6 .258 .312 .448

3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1b      Age: 21
Like Stokes, Gonzalez was hampered by wrist problems, as he recovered from off-season surgery to repair torn cartilage. Rushed to the PCL before his 21st birthday, Gonzalez was clearly overmatched by Triple-A pitching, but seemed to find his stroke upon returning to Double-A. With the logjam created by Stokes, was the biggest name sent to Texas in the Ugueth Urbina deal.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Albuquerque (Triple-A) 39 139 17 30 5 1 1 18 14 25 1 .216 .286 .288
Carolina (Double-A) 36 137 15 42 9 1 1 16 14 25 1 .307 .368 .409
Frisco (Double-A) 45 173 16 49 6 2 3 17 11 27 0 .283 .326 .393

4. Dontrelle Willis, lhp      Age: 21
Made six dominating starts for Carolina and then became the hottest rookie story in the majors as the Marlins won the wild card. Season highlight: complete game one-hitter against the Mets on June 16.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Carolina (Double-A) 4-0 0 1.49 6 36.1 24 6 6 9 32
Marlins (MLB) 14-6 0 3.30 27 160.2 148 61 59 58 142

5. Jeremy Hermida, of      Age: 19
Considered by some as the best high-school hitter in the 2002 draft, Hermida had a solid full-season debut, though his final totals were brought down by a .239 August as he ran out of gas. Showed excellent plate discipline, developing power and surprised everyone by stealing 28 bases while being caught only twice. Promoted to Triple-A for one game at the end of the year, where he learned that hitting a baseball is very hard.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Greensboro (Low Class A) 133 468 73 133 23 5 6 49 80 100 28 .284 .387 .393
Albuquerque (Triple-A) 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 .000 .000 .000

6. Don Levinski, rhp      Age: 21
Levinski was a breakout player in 2001, but nagging shoulder problems haunted him throughout the season as did an inability to throw strikes. Shipped to Baltimore along with Denny Bautista for Jeff Conine at the trade deadline.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Jupiter (Low Class A) 4-11 0 4.03 21 87.0 75 48 39 70 77

7. Justin Wayne, rhp      Age: 24
Got two starts for the Marlins in late April, but failed to record a single out in his second outing and languished at Triple-A while other rookies helped the Marlins win the wild card. 1-7, 5.22 in his final 11 games.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Albuquerque (Triple-A) 4-12 0 4.24 23 136.0 138 81 64 40 82
Marlins (MLB) 0-2 0 11.81 2 5.1 9 7 7 5 1
Jupiter (Low Class A) 0-0 0 0.00 1 6.0 6 0 0 0 4

8. Blaine Neal, rhp      Age: 25
Made the big league squad out of spring training, but couldn't get anybody out and found himself back in Triple-A, where he didn't exactly set the world on fire. Underwent elbow surgery after the season, and is running out of chances.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Marlins (MLB) 0-0 0 8.14 18 21.0 38 20 19 9 10
Albuquerque (Triple-A) 3-2 21 2.33 40 46.1 55 22 12 16 32

9. Will Smith, of      Age: 22
Missed two months with a broken hamate bone, and then was dealt along with Adrian Gonzalez in the Ugueth Urbina trade. Began his Texas career in a 3-for-29 slump and finished the season in a 2-for-27 downslide. Does many things well, but lacks a single overwhelming tool.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Carolina (Double-A) 34 123 23 36 5 1 1 13 11 23 1 .293 .346 .374
Jupiter (Low Class A) 3 12 0 1 1 0 0 2 0 2 0 .083 .083 .167
Frisco (Double-A) 37 130 11 26 6 1 4 15 5 28 0 .200 .226 .354

10. Josh Wilson, ss      Age: 22
A midseason Carolina League all-star, Wilson was batting .289 on July 1, but hit just .176 over the final two months before going down in mid-August with a broken wrist.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Carolina (Double-A) 118 434 53 110 30 6 3 58 27 70 6 .253 .294 .371


Top Draft Pick:

Jeff Allison, rhp    Veterans Memorial HS, Peabody, Mass.   Bonus: $1.85M
Baseball America's 2003 High School Player of the Year, Allison was seen by most as having the best arm of any high school pitcher, but bonus demands dropped him to the Marlins with the 16th overall pick. Protracted negotiations delayed his pro debut, where he did not disappoint.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
GCL Marlins (Rookie) 0-2 0 1.00 3 9.0 7 2 1 4 11


Emerging Prospects:

Scott Olson, lhp: Sixth-round pick from 2002 got seemingly better with every start, putting up a 1.31 ERA in his final 10 starts, allowing just 33 hits in 48 innings while striking out 66.
Josh Willingham, c: Knee injuries hampered his conversion to backstop, but if he can remain healthy, Willingham could become a stathead favorite with his plus power and propensity for walks.


Statistical Leaders

Batting Average Matt Erickson .342
Home Runs Rob Stratton 32
Runs Batted In Jason Stokes 89
Stolen Bases Eric Reed 53
Earned Run Average Nic Ungs 2.51
Wins Phil Akens 13
Strikeouts Denny Bautista 138
Saves Kevin Cave
Mike Flannery
23

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