2006 Florida Marlins Top 10 Prospects

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, 2006.

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1. Jeremy Hermida, of
2. Scott Olsen, lhp
3. Josh Johnson, rhp
4. Chris Volstad, rhp
5. Aaron Thompson, lhp
6. Robert Andino, ss
7. Taylor Tankersley, lhp
8. Josh Willingham, c/1b
9. Kris Harvey, 3b/of
10. Ryan Tucker, rhp
Best Hitter for Average Jeremy Hermida
Best Power Hitter Josh Willingham
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Jeremy Hermida
Fastest Baserunner Jose Campusano
Best Athlete Jai Miller
Best Fastball Ryan Tucker
Best Curveball Allen Baxter
Best Slider Scott Olsen
Best Changeup Paul Mildren
Best Control Chris Volstad
Best Defensive Catcher Brett Hayes
Best Defensive Infielder Robert Andino
Best Infield Arm Robert Andino
Best Defensive Outfielder Eric Reed
Best Outfield Arm Kris Harvey
Team Player, Pos. 2005 Org
1996 Edgar Reteria, ss Red Sox
1997 Felix Heredia, lhp Yankees
1998 Mark Kotsay, of Athletics
1999 A.J. Burnett Marlins
2000 A.J. Burnett Marlins
2001 Josh Beckett, rhp Marlins
2002 Josh Beckett, rhp Marlins
2003 Miguel Cabrera, 3b Marlins
2004 Jeremy Hermida, of Marlins
2005 Jeremy Hermida, of Marlins
Team Player, Pos. 2005 Org
1996 Mark Kotsay, of Athletics
1997 Aaron Akin, rhp Out of baseball
1998 Chip Ambres, of Royals
1999 Josh Beckett, rhp Marlins
2000 Adrian Gonzalez, 1b Rangers
2001 Garrett Berger, rhp (2nd Round) Tigers
2002 Jeremy Hermida, of Marlins
2003 Jeff Allison, rhp Marlins
2004 Taylor Tankersley, lhp Marlins
2005 Chris Volstad Marlins
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

The Marlins thought they loaded up for a playoff run with the offseason signing of first baseman Carlos Delgado to a four-year, $52 million deal. Delgado held up his end of the bargain with his typical 30-homer, 100-RBIs output, but that didn't lead to his first postseason appearance. The Marlins lost 10 of their last 15 to short-circuit their wild-card bid.

Rather, it was what Florida did with a handful of compensatory draft picks following the free-agent losses of Carl Pavano, Armando Benitez and Mike Redmond that allowed them to load up for future playoff runs. Blessed with five of the first 44 picks and eight of the top 96 in the 2005 draft, the Marlins restocked a farm system that had been thinned by attrition in recent years.
Six of those choices were spent on pitching, including the top five. First-rounders Chris Volstad and Aaron Thompson cracked this Top 10 Prospects list, as did supplemental first-rounder Ryan Tucker. Florida's first five picks cost a combined $5.575 million, a small down payment on the future.

Since becoming general manager at the end of the 2001 season, Larry Beinfest has shown a willingness to use prospects in key trades, but he found only one such opportunity to his liking this season. At the July 31 deadline he shipped righthanders Yorman Bazardo and Mike Flannery to the Mariners for veteran reliever Ron Villone. The Marlins strongly considered a deal that would have sent prospective free agent A.J. Burnett to the Orioles for a blend of young and veteran talent, but in the end Beinfest chose to ride out the season with Burnett and take the extra picks in the 2006 draft.

As usual, the farm system produced several key contributors during the 2005 season. Lefthander Jason Vargas, a second-round pick in 2004 from Long Beach State, made the biggest impact after soaring from low Class A Greensboro to the majors by mid-July. Earlier, fellow lefty Scott Olsen made a handful of starts after being summoned from Double-A Carolina. Olsen might have stayed longer if not for a minor bout with elbow tendinitis.

Randall Messenger and Chris Resop led a class of rookie relievers summoned to bolster an injury-wracked bullpen. Most struggled, but those two showed some potential to stick at the front end of the bullpen in 2006.

Top positional prospects Jeremy Hermida, Robert Andino and Josh Willingham all saw big league time in 2005. Hermida tore up the Southern League and made the Futures Game, yet he still had to wait until Aug. 31 to make his big league debut. Andino showed enough in a September callup to throw his hat in the ring as Alex Gonzalez' successor should the flashy Venezuelan leave via free agency.

On the international front, Florida made no big-name signs. Fred Ferreira and Marc DelPiano, the club's chief international scouts, made a strong run at 16-year-old Venezuelan righthander Delois Guerra, but he signed instead with the Mets. The Marlins did sign a development deal with Chitose, a Japanese amateur team in Hokkaido.


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