Ask BA: Who’s The Best Prospect In The Minors?
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Top Ten Prospects: Florida Marlins
Complete Index of Top 10s
By Mike Berardino
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.
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.
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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