Florida Marlins: Top 10 Prospects

Florida Marlins

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, 2007.

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 AverageGaby Sanchez
Best Power HitterGaby Sanchez
Best Strike-Zone DisciplineGaby Sanchez
Fastest BaserunnerJose Campusano
Best AthleteGreg Burns
Best FastballRyan Tucker
Best CurveballGaby Hernandez
Best SliderBrett Sinkbeil
Best ChangeupJose Garcia
Best ControlChris Volstad
Best Defensive CatcherBrett Hayes
Best Defensive InfielderRobert Andino
Best Infield ArmRobert Andino
Best Defensive OutfielderEric Reed
Best Outfield ArmBrett Carroll
CatcherBrett Hayes
First BaseMike Jacobs
Second BaseDan Uggla
Third BaseMiguel Cabrera
ShortstopHanley Ramirez
Left FieldJosh Willingham
Center FieldTom Hickman
Right FieldJeremy Hermida
No. 1 StarterDontrelle Willis
No. 2 StarterAnibal Sanchez
No. 3 StarterScott Olsen
No. 4 StarterJosh Johnson
No. 5 StarterChris Volstad
CloserBrett Sinkbeil
YearPlayer, Position2006
1997Felix Heredia, lhpMonterrey (Mex.)
1998Mark Kotsay, ofAthletics
1999A.J. Burnett, rhpBlue Jays
2000A.J. Burnett, rhpBlue Jays
2001Josh Beckett, rhpRed Sox
2002Josh Beckett, rhpRed Sox
2003Miguel Cabrera, 3bMarlins
2004Jeremy Hermida, ofMarlins
2005Jeremy Hermida, ofMarlins
2006Jeremy Hermida, ofMarlins
YearPlayer, Position2006
1997Aaron Akin, rhpOut of baseball
1998Chip Ambres, ofRoyals
1999Josh Beckett, rhpRed Sox
2000Adrian Gonzalez, 1bPadres
2001Garrett Berger, rhp
(2nd round)
Out of baseball
2002Jeremy Hermida, ofMarlins
2003Jeff Allison, rhpMarlins
2004Taylor Tankersley, lhpMarlins
2005Chris Volstad, rhpMarlins
2006Brett Sinkbeil, rhpMarlins
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.