- Full name Abraham M. Nunez
- Born 02/05/1977 in Bajos De Haina, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 6'3" / Wt.: 210 / Bats: S / Throws: R
- Debut 09/03/2002
Organization Prospect Rankings
Nunez spent the last three years in the organization's top 10, but that was before he was found to be three years older than his listed age. Once considered a five-tool player with star potential, he now has some wondering if he'll ever be more than an extra outfielder with tantalizing skills. He still has plus power, good speed and the best arm in the system, but he strikes out too much, has a long swing and shows little aptitude for making adjustments at the plate. He struggles most from the left side, and there's some thought he might be better off sticking with his righthanded swing exclusively. He has much more power from the left side but far better plate coverage from the right. He had his best season as a basestealer last year, but his overall instincts remain in question. One Marlins insider describes him as Bernie Williams waiting to happen, but so far there has been little indication all that potential will ever translate into production. After spending a full season in Triple-A, Nunez should get a chance to make the majors in a reserve role. He has the arm and range to play all three outfield spots.
Nunez came to the Marlins in December 1999 as the player to be named in the Matt Mantei trade. The Diamondbacks contested his inclusion, but the commissioner's office let the deal stand. His presence was one of the reasons the Marlins dealt 1996 first-rounder Mark Kotsay to the Padres just before Opening Day 2001. Nunez is a five-tool player with plus power from both sides of the plate. His throwing shoulder was back to full strength after a nagging injury limited him mostly to DH in 2000. He has the arm and range to play either center or right field. He has consistently shown the ability to draw walks. Nunez still strikes out too much and overswings most of the time. He has a hard time staying back on pitches, and his swing tends to get too long. His speed is just average. He sometimes makes strange decisions that cause scouts to doubt his instincts. Considering the Marlins' conservative philosophy in promotions, Nunez figures to return to Portland for another crack at Double-A pitching. Much of his game still requires assembly, but once the pieces start to click into place, he could make the majors in a hurry.
Nunez moved to Florida as the player to be named in the Matt Mantei trade. The Diamondbacks contested his inclusion, but after a three-month controversy the commissioner''s office let it stand. You'll find all five tools in this package. Nunez has plus power from both sides of the plate. He has the arm to play either center or right field. He showed admirable patience and work ethic after an injury to the back of his throwing shoulder kept him out of the field most of the year. Nunez sustained a tear when he failed to warm up properly before playing catch with friends at home. He also had to deal with a brain aneurysm that struck his father at midseason. His father survived, and Nunez came back and finished the season strong. His speed is the weakest of his tools, average at best, but Nunez uses it well. He tends to jump at pitches, forcing him to spend time seeing thousands of curveballs from a pitching machine. Nunez figures to return for a second go-round at Double-A. His shoulder was healthy for instructional league, though he missed six weeks in winter ball when he broke his left hand sliding.
Background: Nunez was the second youngest player in the Midwest League last season behind teammate Carlos Urquiola, yet was still one of the league's elite prospects. He already has grown an inch and added 20 pounds since his signing. Strengths: Nunez draws raves for his tools and exceptionally high ceiling. He has one of the strongest arms in the minors and excellent range. Offensively, the switch-hitting Nunez shows uncommon patience for a young player and is just starting to realize his power potential. Weaknesses: With long arms and legs, Nunez will have to learn the quicker, shorter actions needed at the upper levels of the game. He is a long strider whose slow first step hurts him on the bases. The Future: The Diamondbacks are undecided whether to let Nunez play his more natural right field or give him a chance to learn to play center, where he played some last season. With a number of promising young outfielders behind him, he'll likely be challenge at Class A High Desert this spring.
Minor League Top Prospects
Nunez already has big league swagger--think of Jim Thome's bat pointing toward the pitcher, and you get the idea--to go along with his big league tools. Now all he has to do is perform with more consistency in the minors. While Nunez's numbers this season declined from his performance in an injury-filled 2000 season at Portland, his skills still commanded attention. He's a switch-hitter with power from both sides of the plate, plus he owns a cannon for an arm. "He really hasn't come into his own yet, but he has all the tools and he has the best arm in the league by far," Cliburn said. "He's a free-swinging guy who has to cut down on his strikeouts. But when you're evaluating players, you have to look at their talent and their tools, and he has all of them."
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Pacific Coast League in 2002
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Eastern League in 2001
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Miami Marlins in 2001