Florida Marlins: Top 10 Prospects

1. Chris Volstad, rhp
2. Brett Sinkbeil, rhp
3. Gaby Hernandez, rhp
4. Sean West, lhp
5. Gaby Sanchez, 1b/c
6. Taylor Tankersley, lhp
7. Aaron Thompson, lhp
8. Ryan Tucker, rhp
9. Chris Coghlan, 3b/2b
10. Kris Harvey, of
Best Hitter for Average Gaby Sanchez
Best Power Hitter Gaby Sanchez
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Gaby Sanchez
Fastest Baserunner Jose Campusano
Best Athlete Greg Burns
Best Fastball Ryan Tucker
Best Curveball Gaby Hernandez
Best Slider Brett Sinkbeil
Best Changeup Jose Garcia
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 Brett Carroll
Catcher Brett Hayes
First Base Mike Jacobs
Second Base Dan Uggla
Third Base Miguel Cabrera
Shortstop Hanley Ramirez
Left Field Josh Willingham
Center Field Tom Hickman
Right Field Jeremy Hermida
No. 1 Starter Dontrelle Willis
No. 2 Starter Anibal Sanchez
No. 3 Starter Scott Olsen
No. 4 Starter Josh Johnson
No. 5 Starter Chris Volstad
Closer Brett Sinkbeil
Year Player, Position 2006
1997 Felix Heredia, lhp Monterrey (Mex.)
1998 Mark Kotsay, of Athletics
1999 A.J. Burnett, rhp Blue Jays
2000 A.J. Burnett, rhp Blue Jays
2001 Josh Beckett, rhp Red Sox
2002 Josh Beckett, rhp Red Sox
2003 Miguel Cabrera, 3b Marlins
2004 Jeremy Hermida, of Marlins
2005 Jeremy Hermida, of Marlins
2006 Jeremy Hermida, of Marlins
Year Player, Position 2006
1997 Aaron Akin, rhp Out of baseball
1998 Chip Ambres, of Royals
1999 Josh Beckett, rhp Red Sox
2000 Adrian Gonzalez, 1b Padres
2001 Garrett Berger, rhp
(2nd round)
Out of baseball
2002 Jeremy Hermida, of Marlins
2003 Jeff Allison, rhp Marlins
2004 Taylor Tankersley, lhp Marlins
2005 Chris Volstad, rhp Marlins
2006 Brett Sinkbeil, rhp 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
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Florida Marlins

The eternal push for a new south Florida stadium remains in limbo, but the Marlins continue to operate the baseball side with impressive skill. After blowing up a team that won the 2003 World Series and contended for the postseason the following two years, they exceeded all expectations by winning 78 games in 2006 with the game’s youngest and least expensive club.

Many of the key pieces acquired in Florida’s fire sale after the 2005 season already are making an impact in the big leagues. The Marlins set a record for rookie at-bats (3,694), with Hanley Ramirez (the key to the Josh Beckett trade with the Red Sox) winning National League rookie of the year honors and Dan Uggla (a Rule 5 steal) finishing third. Mike Jacobs (part of the Carlos Delgado deal with the Mets) slugged 20 homers. Florida also broke in two homegrown outfielders, Jeremy Hermida, who might be the best of the group in the long run, and Josh Willingham.

On the mound, the Marlins featured the first rookie foursome to each reach 10 victories each with the homegrown Josh Johnson and Scott Olsen, Anibal Sanchez (part of the Beckett trade) and Ricky Nolasco (included in the Juan Pierre deal with the Cubs). Johnson made a run at the National League ERA title, while Sanchez threw a no-hitter against the Diamondbacks.

While Florida was introducing fresh faces in the majors, it also was adding new talent. For the fourth straight year, the Marlins used their top draft pick on a pitcher. The Jeff Allison (2003) mistake aside, the strategy has worked well for them. Lefty swingman Taylor Tankersley (2004) made his way to the majors last June and worked his way into a prominent setup role. Chris Volstad (2005), the leader of the all-prospect rotation at low Class A Greensboro, rates as the system’s top prospect after his first full season in pro ball. Right behind him is Brett Sinkbeil (2006), who joined Volstad at Greensboro a month after the draft.

Besides targeting pitching in the draft, general manager Larry Beinfest did the same when he was shedding salaries. He acquired 11 young arms in the fire sale, with Sergio Mitre, Yusmeiro Petit and Renyel Pinto and also pitching in the majors in 2006.

Not surprisingly, pitchers claim seven of the top eight spots on the Marlins Top 10 Prospects. Position talent in general is down throughout the system, with first baseman/catcher Gaby Sanchez considered on the fast track. While the Marlins figure to have baseball’s youngest roster again in 2007, they continue to search for long-term answers at catcher and center field.

Their minor league affiliates combined for one of the worst records in the game, 316-363 (.465). Only the lowest affiliate on the ladder, the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League entry, posted a winning record. While disappointing, the performance was understandable considering that most of Florida’s best prospects were pushed to the majors.

On the international front, the Marlins hired Albert Gonzalez from the Royals to be their coordinator of Latin American scouting and player development. Florida made a run at Dominican catcher Francisco Pena, whose father Tony is a former all-star and currently coaches with the Yankees, but lost out when the Mets signed him for $750,000.