Florida Marlins: Top 10 Prospects Chat With Mike Berardino

Florida Marlins: Chat

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, 2008.

 Q:  D. Cornell from Madison, WI asks:
Will the Marlins Ernie Banks possibly hit more MLB HRs than the Cubs Ernie Banks?

Mike Berardino: What's up, everybody? Thanks for all the questions. As for our leadoff question, the answer is, "Highly unlikely," although the Marlins do like the athleticism of their 44th-round pick out of Norfolk State this year. By the way, did you guys know the Fish drafted a William Mays out of an Ohio juco in 2006? Didn't sign him. Neither player is related to his famous namesake.

 Q:  Nick from New York asks:
What do you think Sean West's ceiling is in the Marlins' roation?

Mike Berardino: Even though he's coming off shoulder surgery last spring, West still projects as a No. 2 or 3 starter in the majors. The Marlins were very pleased with the work ethic he showed during his rehab and he looked good at the fall minicamp. Should be good to go next spring.

 Q:  Calvin from Catawba, NC asks:
Got to imagine people in the organization are a bit dissapointed in Kris Harvey as a hitter. Have their been any rumblings about pulling a Resop and converting him back to a pitcher where I heard in college he possed a mid to high 90 FB with a nasty splitter.

Mike Berardino: Haven't heard those rumblings, but Harvey will tumble down this year's top 30 list after making the top 10 a year ago. He's not the first Marlins position prospect to struggle in the jump from the Sally League to the Florida State League, where the parks are bigger and the air is thicker. Don't give up on him yet.

 Q:  Eric from Miami, FL asks:
How close was Jai Miller to making the top 10? and what type of potential do you think he has?

Moderator: Not close at all. Although he did make the top 10 after his draft year of 2003 and did put himself back on the map with a strong year at Double-A, there are still some doubts about his offense. His numbers in the fall league support that line of thought.

 Q:  Lou from Orlando, Florida asks:
Hey did you forget about Torre Longley? how can you have Brett Hayes over him as the 2011 starter?

Mike Berardino: Didn't forget Langley at all, but Hayes is very polished behind the plate and several levels ahead of the Toy Cannon at this point. The Marlins love Langley's raw power, but the '06 third-rounder's small frame and middling receiving skills will force him to prove himself at every level.

 Q:  Matthew from Miami (O-HI-O) asks:
Does Graham Taylor project as a MLB starter? or nothing more than organization filler

Mike Berardino: Taylor is an intriguing guy just because he gets so much out of his below-average ability. In an organization filled with low- to mid-90s fastballs, he's out there throwing 85-89 mph with a plus changeup and absolutely refusing to walk people. I know he struggled during a two-start audition at Jupiter last year, but the Marlins don't seem too worried about that. He should open the year there next year, and as a college guy could move quickly if he keeps putting up those 71 strikeoutwalk ratios.

 Q:  rookiecardinvestor8 from NJ asks:
Does Volstad have number 1 stuff? Will he in your opinion start missing bats soon?

Mike Berardino: Not sure, but he gets the No. 1 prospect love for the second straight year because he's so solid, durable and smart. He'll probably wind up as a very reliable No. 3, with the possibility of moving up to a 2 if he adds more velo. But you're right about the bat-missing problem. He's one of those guys who stays in the zone too much; needs to learn to elevate a little more.

 Q:  Baseball God from Field of Dreams asks:
How close were Greensboro teammates Scott Cousins Grahman Taylor and Spike McDoughall from making the list?

Mike Berardino: BG, Sorry to hear they shut down your Dyersville playpen. Never made it there. Always meant to. As for the Grasshoppers, the aforementioned Mr. Taylor and Cousins will be in the 15-25 range. Spike, despite the best nickname in the system, is a little older and had no support for the top 30.

 Q:  Logan Morrison (impostor) from Kansas City, MO asks:
I feel I got snubbed for Mike Stanton for most power in the organization lol. Anyways what type of a ceiling do I have?

Mike Berardino: Fake Logan, Thanks for clearing that up. If you hadn't let me in on your secret, I might have really thought I hurt your feelings. Your power is impressive, but Stanton launched several mammoth shots in the GCL and minicamp. As for your ceiling, if you keep improving your defense and keep working on your approach against lefties, a 30-homer future is well in reach. You should be one of the last draft-and-follows to reach the majors now that they've outlawed the concept.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
When is the last time a farm system's # 1 prospect didn't lead in ANY of your Best Tools categories? Is Volstad the first?

Mike Berardino: Great question. I can't remember it happening in a decade of doing this Marlins list. I conferred with BA's Jim Callis on that very fact, just to make sure it was OK to leave a guy without one overwhelming pitch at the top of the list. Jim and I agreed that Volstad's overall package is so strong and the question marks about the next few guys on the list so significant that we just left him there. But that's not to say he can't be dislodged next year by a healthy West or a healthy Sinkbeil.

 Q:  Brett from Greensbero. NC asks:
Got any info for us regarding Jeff Allison? like will he pitch for the Marlins next season? and where

Mike Berardino: It's my understanding that Allison has fulfilled his legal commitments in North Carolina and will try to pitch for the Marlins again next season. I'm guessing they'll start out slow with him: extended spring, back to Greensboro and then on to Jupiter if everything goes well. But at this point, he should just be happy to be alive. Oh, and he should thank Jeffrey Loria every day for not giving up on him the way so many other owners would have long ago.

 Q:  Jason from Georgia asks:
How far has Thomas Hickman stock fallen? do you and people in the organization think he can rebound?

Mike Berardino: Bad year for Baby Hermida, no doubt. He still makes the top 30, but not as strongly as he did last year. There are doubts about his arm and his hitting approach, but a lot of it was a nagging groin injury that he never could shake. I still think he's got a shot to move right back up this list next year.

 Q:  D. Cornell from Madison, WI asks:
Jon Fulton...Prospect or Suspect?

Mike Berardino: Nice guy. Huge hands. Suspect.

 Q:  Browning Nagle from Louisville, KY asks:
Does Dominguez profile as a middle of the order producer or more like a Mike Lowell type solid guy?

Mike Berardino: The Mike Lowell comparison is more apt than, say, Ryan Zimmerman or David Wright. Dominguez is a glove-first guy for now. Tremendous defender. Needs to fill out, the way Lowell did in his climb through the minors. Not sure how much power he'll really produce, but he should be a high-average guy eventually. He's savvy enough to figure it out.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
Your thoughts on Hector Correa? Was he close to making this list?

Mike Berardino: As Jim Leyland might say, I like him. I like him a lot. Correa just missed the top 10 after another strong year. He showed the Marlins a lot by handling failure so well when they jumped him all the way to Greensboro at age 19. When he went back down to the NY-P, he dominated. I could definitely see him barging into the top 10 next year.

 Q:  Al from NC asks:
Where is John Raynor on the Marlin's prospect list?

Mike Berardino: Just missed the top 10. Had a great year at Greensboro and has the speed, instincts and bat potential to keep moving up. I'm just wary of any big offensive years at Greensboro after some of the FSL washouts (Restko, McCann, etc) we've seen lately.

 Q:  Roy from Montreal asks:
Chris Leroux will become a future closer? middle reliver? set-up man?

Mike Berardino: Could be a closer as the big Canadian certainly has the fastball, the frame and the makeup. For now he's been setting up as the Marlins have been extra careful in regulating his usage as a former Tommy John guy. His stint in the Baseball World Cup should help his progression too.

 Q:  Reese from Coral Springs asks:
What about Jacob Marceaux from the 2005 draft class? What is his future?

Mike Berardino: Marceaux has frustrated the Marlins so far. He'll stay in the 'pen, where he seems best suited, but he's got to learn to trust his stuff, repeat his delivery and stop tinkering so much. He's only been so-so out in Hawaii. As for his future, I'm guessing he reaches the majors, but as more of a middle-innings guy. Probably not what the Fish expected when they took him in the first round and gave him a million bucks.

 Q:  High Heat from Arizona asks:
How are the 5 hardest throwers in the system?

Mike Berardino: Not sure if I can give you five, but three of them are definitely Ryan Tucker, Scott Nestor and Rodolfo Encarnacion, Juan's relative. Velo is overrated, though. We should all know that by now.

 Q:  Enrique from Key West asks:
Do the Marlins have any prospect in the DominicanVenezuelan league or one that they just signed besides Miguel Torres that they are very high on or that we should watch out for?

Mike Berardino: Nobody that had enough support to make the Top 30. Although I'll give you a name of a young Venezuelan catcher who spent last year in the GCL: Jose Ceballos. Great receiver. Might make the top 30 at age 18.

 Q:  Carlos from Hialeah Miami, FL asks:
Hey Mike are you or the Front Office high on any of the pitchers from the previous Marlins draft? from names like Barrow,Durand, Paulauskas,Gilliam, Shafer, Kaminska

Mike Berardino: Kaminska had some support as a 25th-round sleeper. The other guys, not so much.

 Q:  Roxy from Miami, Florida asks:
What do you see the Marlins targetting in this upcoming draft? any specific position? hitterpitcher etc...

Mike Berardino: WAY too early for that one, but picking sixth overall — their highest slot since 2000 and Adrian Gonzalez — should guarantee them an impact piece.

 Q:  Cody from Virgina asks:
Is J.T Resko still a prospect? do you think he repeats High A ball for a 3rd time?

Mike Berardino: I'm afraid he's off the top 30.

 Q:  Steve from Pomona asks:
What ever happened to Greg Burns? Do you ever see him making it to the big leagues?

Mike Berardino: Mr. Burns is progressing nicely, did good work this year in Greensboro, and should get a year-long crack at Jupiter in '08. Impressive athlete, coachable, smart. And, of course, the Marlins have a huge need in center (unless the Cabrera trade fills it). He's right on target.

 Q:  Matt from Coral Gables asks:
Who do you like to have a better year in Jupiter: Scott Cousins or John Raynor?

Mike Berardino: What, are you in some FSL fantasy league or something? If you put a guy to my head, I'd say Raynor. But it's gonna be close.

 Q:  KB from Madison Wi asks:
I see that you do not have the talented lefty Scott Olsen in the Marlins projected 2011 starting rotation. Do you anticipate that he will be traded, or self-destuct?

Mike Berardino: Probably traded. Even with those disappointing numbers, he'll be making some nice arby cash by then. And we all know what that means.

 Q:  Mudcatsfan from Halfway between Greensboro & Zebulon asks:
Chris Volstad, In trying to come up with a comparison for him I'm stuck. The best I could think of is Chris Young from the Padres, with the sharp downward angle, creating groundballs, but without the deception of hiding the ball. Can you do think of a better comp?

Mike Berardino: No. I like yours. In fact, I'm going to start stealing it.

 Q:  Harry from Las Vegas, Nevada asks:
Whats the word on Jesus Delgado? starter, reliver, to injure prone?

Moderator: Reliever. They tried him as a starter this year but he kept running out of gas, then landed on the DL.

 Q:  Mudcatsfan from Heart of the Triangle asks:
Which is the real Chris Coghlan? The one who hit .325 at Greensboro or the one who hit .200 in Jupiter? His .329 in the AFL leads me to believe he's for real,,,but no HR in 70 AFL at bats concerns me. But wow, I love his plate discipline. Your thoughts?

Mike Berardino: Coghlan had hernia surgery after a disappointing showing in the FSL, and the Marlins believe that was a big part of his struggles there. I really like Coghlan and wouldn't be surprised to see him in the majors by next September.

 Q:  Marc from Little Rock asks:
What are some possible Mike Stanton projections? and what position is he likely to play next season

Mike Berardino: It's early for Stanton, but his tool box is full and the Marlins' eyes are wide. He'll play right next year and probably stay there long term.

 Q:  J.P. from Springfield asks:
Who will reach the majors first - Volstad or Tucker?

Mike Berardino: Probably Volstad, because he's more polished. But if Tucker gets his slider going, look out.

 Q:  Evan from St. Louis asks:
Do you see Brett Sinkbeil as a starter or bullpen guy in the majors?

Mike Berardino: Some say he could really thrive at the back of the 'pen, but the Marlins aren't thinking that way. He just needs to prove he can stay out there and keep taking the ball. No problems with his back so far in Hawaii, so that's a good sign.

 Q:  Kris Corbin from Nevada asks:
How close was Kyle Winters to making the top 10? and what type of stuff and potential does he have?

Mike Berardino: Winters will make the top 20, but his solid-if-unspectacular stuff keeps his profile down in a pitching-rich org. He crossed 100 IP for the first time in his career this summer, and he's already fairly raw due to his Colorado background. He's on track to become a big-league starter, and his projectable frame and great makeup only increase his odds.

 Q:  Mudcatsfan from Cary, NC asks:
Jai Miller. Super athlete that has finally figured it out? Or Reggie Abercrombie v 2.0 ?

Mike Berardino: Love Reggie to death, but this guy is much more savvy. I mean, Miller could have gone to Stanford to play two sports if the Marlins hadn't swooped in. Reggie may or may not have heard of Stanford.

 Q:  Larry from New York asks:
Is Robert Andino just trade bait at this point? do you think if Uggla is traded he can become our 2nd baseman?

Mike Berardino: I'll give you another one: Andino and Amezaga could share second if the Cabrera trade doesn't bring a 3B in return. Uggla could then move to 3B, with Coghlan stepping in at second once he's ready. Andino had a decent year at Triple-A. Played every game. But he's not moving Hanley off short. We all know that.

 Q:  Mudcatsfan from Raleigh asks:
Ryan Tucker at #3? His hits, K's and BB stats are not impressive, and still lacks a consistent breaking ball. How is he still thought of so highly? Does a 98 Mph heater really get you that much benefit of the doubt?

Mike Berardino: In his case, yes. And you're forgetting his solid average change.

 Q:  Mudcatsfan from Raleigh asks:
The Marlins CF opening day will be: The Marlins CF next few years will be:

Mike Berardino: Matt Kemp. Matt Kemp.

 Q:  Mudcatsfan from Getting Tired of me yet? please answer this one asks:
I see Brett Hayes and have hope for him, as I do with Torre Langley and Jameson Smith, However I wonder why John Baker was not given a chance to platoon with Miguel Olivo last year. Baker was .294.361.460 against righties while Olivo was .295.343.463 against lefties. Was it defense?

Mike Berardino: Bingo.

 Q:  Greg from Higganum, CT asks:
Everyone is talking about the young arms in the Florida system. As a Red Sox fan, Im wondering two things; 1: Why, when it comes to Miguel Cabrera, are they so hung up on young arms in return? and 2: What ever happened to Anibel Sanchez in their system, will he make a comeback?

Mike Berardino: Because young, controllable pitching is the most valuable commodity in the game and the Marlins play in a pitcher's park. As for Sanchez, we'll see what comes out of his hand when he returns to the mound next spring, but after shoulder surgery (and previous elbow problems) you just don't know.

 Q:  J.P. from Springfield asks:
Who would you deem the biggest sleeper in Florida's farm system?

Mike Berardino: I'll go with Chris Leroux. Relievers with his stuff move fast, and he's gotten almost no publicity.

 Q:  Scout Cousins from some where angry.. asks:
Why was I snubbed Mike?

Mike Berardino: You weren't snubbed, Scott. You'll be in the top dozen or so when the book comes out. Trust me.

 Q:  Billy the Marlin from Miami asks:
Who are some of the late roundsleeper prospects that we should keep an eye on? Thanks, from Billy the Marlin!

Mike Berardino: Hi Billy, RHP Kyle Kaminska (25th round) is one of them from this year's draft. RHP Garrett Parcell, a 12th-rounder from San Diego State, is another. Oh, and one more thing: Give the suit back to John Routh!

 Q:  Cards Gm from St.Louis, Missouri asks:
Cody Rasmus, Bryan Anderson for Willis deal or no deal?

Mike Berardino: Your fake offer is a reminder why the Marlins must hold Willis into next year if they are to have any hope of getting fair value in return.

 Q:  Toru from Japan asks:
Is Gaby Hernandez being a bit undersold? You say he's a back of the rotation guy, but his peripherals have always been solid despite him being young for his league. Why wouldn't he be a solid middle of the rotation guy, especially since he seems to be a pretty intelligent pitcher, as well as having good raw stuff.

Mike Berardino: Toru, You might have a point, but a stronger finish might have helped his cause on this list. It might even have gotten him to the majors in '07. He'll be here soon enough. Oh, and how about getting a petition going to have the Marlins open the '09 season in your fine country. Maybe I'd get a free trip out of it.

 Q:  Terry from Miami Lakes asks:
Is Matt Dominguez really that good with the bat to warrant Ryan Zimmerman comparasions? or is it just because he is good with teh glove

Mike Berardino: Glove. Sorry for the confusion.

 Q:  Ken Williams from Chicago asks:
Jon Garland, Gio Gonzalez, Josh Fields, Fautino de los Santos for Miguel Cabrera, Ricky Nolasco deal or no deal?

Mike Berardino: Sorry, Kenny. No deal. You know the Fish can't afford Garland. And you're getting getting Nolasco too. Forget it.

 Q:  Spike from Chicago asks:
It seems we finally have some catching depth in the system with guys like Brad Davis, Brett Hayes, Chris Hatcher, Torre Langley, Jameson Smith. Can you rank the following in terms of potential?

Mike Berardino: You're right about the improved depth. That's why Stan Meek and Jim Fleming have spent a few early round picks on C's in recent years and Tim Cossins have gone from Jupiter manager to roving catching instructor. The Fish need to produce their first homegrown everyday C since Charles Johnson. As for ranking, I'll assume you mean across the board ceiling, bat and glove, so I'll go: Hayes, Ceballos, Hatcher, Langley, Smith, Davis.

 Q:  kris kaminska from naperville,IL asks:
Hector Correa & Kyle Winters had strong seasons. Any thoughts on where they will spend 2008 & do you still see them as starters?

Mike Berardino: Correa should head back to Greensboro and try to improve on that 8-plus ERA from last year. Winters goes to Jupiter. And yes, I see both as starters.

 Q:  J.P. from Springfield asks:
Had Sinkbeil been healthy throughout his pro career thus far, could he have usurped Volstad for the top spot on the list?

Mike Berardino: Quite possibly, but then if Homer Simpson didn't eat so many doughnuts, he might have been David Hasselhoff. As a Springfield guy, surely you understand my tortured reference.

 Q:  Dave Hays from Cartersville, GA asks:
A local Cartersville boy, Lee Mitchell, had a very nice year in AA last year and I believe was the All Star game MVP. However, he couldn't crack the Top 10? Would he have been in the Top 30? Any chance he will make the majors? Thanks

Mike Berardino: I'm all for perseverence, but your boy will play next season at age 26. Maybe he winds up a Jason Wood type. But it won't happen anytime soon.

 Q:  D. Cornell from Madison, WI asks:
If Miguel Cabrera sheds the weight, regains his range and defense...do you see him playing 1B in 2011? Is Dan Uggla really a better 3B? Where is Matt Dominguez in 2011?

Mike Berardino: See my reply to our good friend from Springfield.

 Q:  Mudcatsfan from Halfway between Zebulon and Greensboro asks:
Any interest in having a huge Marlin Fan send you pics, video, and general impressions of players from Single A and AA this year?

Mike Berardino: This isn't Dateline NBC, is it?

 Q:  Matt from Amherst, MA asks:
I hear Steve Cishek has surprised quite a few people with some serious increase in his velo (especially since he sat at 85 in high school). Where does he stand in the system? Sleeper prospect?

Moderator: that's true. He's a sleeper but i'm not sure he makes the top 30 this year.

 Q:  Raymond from Albany, NY asks:
Why not move Dominguez to short where defense is needed and Hanley Ramirez to third where offense is needed?

Mike Berardino: Because it doesn't matter where the offense comes from as long as it comes. Oh, and Hanley doesn't want to play anywhere but short.

 Q:  Mudcatsfan from Halfway between Zebulon and Greensboro asks:
Great shot of Chris Volstad and his spike grip curveball on the main page. Wouldn't the spike grip give the hitter another thing to pick up on when trying to identify a fastballbreaking ball? I know it's used by other major leaguers, but it seems like an great hitter with excellent vision could pick up on that?

Mike Berardino: Tell that to Mike Mussina. He only has 250 wins with it.

 Q:  Joe R. from Newport News, VA asks:
I have no sense of the overall health of the Marlins' system right now. Is it good, bad, or average?

Mike Berardino: Let's go with slightly above average with the potential to really pick up if some of the younger position players keep progressing.

 Q:  Howie from NJ asks:
Did Scott Nestor find his way into the top 30? Any chance he'll see the bigs in 2008?

Mike Berardino: Yes and yes.

 Q:  Joe from Boston asks:
Do you see Gregg as the closer for next season and maybe beyond or will some of the young guns get a serious look in spring training?

Mike Berardino: Next season for sure at the start, but he could be keeping it warm for Matt Lindstrom.

 Q:  Chris Hansen from Dateline NBC asks:

Mike Berardino: Whew! That was close.

 Q:  Nate from Richmond, RI asks:
Will Carlos Martinez ever be a legitimate arm in the Marlins' bullpen? When healthy, he seems to have great controlstuff... Is there any sign that he's fully healthy yet?

Mike Berardino: He may be healthy but his makeup is in question. He needs to grow up.

 Q:  Mark from Margate, Fla. asks:
Mike, Last year it seemed Rick Van Den Hurk came out of nowhere to surprise a lot of people and crack the Marlins' rotation. Is there someone this year who might do the same?

Mike Berardino: RVH did make the top 15 last year, so it's not like he came from Holland or something. Uh, scratch that. If you're looking for someone who hasn't pitched above Class A who could show up in the majors this year, I'd say Tucker or Leroux.

 Q:  elmo from China asks:
What is your middle name, yo!

Mike Berardino: Nice try, Dateline boy. Now get out there and sign a petition for the Marlins to play some games in China!

Moderator: Sorry, ball fans, that's all the time we have for now. I'd like to thank everybody who made this possible: the guys at BA, the Marlins, Cheryl Hines, the woman who plays Sarah Silverman's sister on TV, Nigel Tufnel and most of all, Al Gore, without whom the Web chat wouldn't even exist. Bye.