2012 Florida Marlins Top 10 Prospects

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, 2011.

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1. Christian Yelich, of
2. Marcell Ozuna, of
3. Jose Fernandez, rhp
4. Matt Dominguez, 3b
5. J.T. Realmuto, c
6. Chad James, lhp
7. Rob Rasmussen, lhp
8. Noah Perio, 2b
9. Scott Cousins, of
10. Adam Conley, lhp
Best Hitter for Average Christian Yelich
Best Power Hitter Marcell Ozuna
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Jake Smolinski
Fastest Baserunner Kevin Mattison
Best Athlete J.T. Realmuto
Best Fastball Jose Fernandez
Best Curveball Austin Brice
Best Slider Rob Rasmussen
Best Changeup Jose Alvarez
Best Control Michael Brady
Best Defensive Catcher J.T. Realmuto
Best Defensive Infielder Matt Dominguez
Best Infield Arm Matt Dominguez
Best Defensive Outfielder Kevin Mattison
Best Outfield Arm Marcell Ozuna
Catcher J.T. Realmuto
First Base Gaby Sanchez
Second Base Noah Perio
Third Base Matt Dominguez
Shortstop Hanley Ramirez
Left Field Logan Morrison
Center Field Christian Yelich
Right Field Mike Stanton
No. 1 Starter Josh Johnson
No. 2 Starter Ricky Nolasco
No. 3 Starter Anibal Sanchez
No. 4 Starter Jose Fernandez
No. 5 Starter Chad James
Closer Chris Hatcher
Year Player, Position 2011
2002 Josh Beckett, rhp Red Sox
2003 Miguel Cabrera, 3b Tigers
2004 Jeremy Hermida, of Padres
2005 Jeremy Hermida, of Padres
2006 Jeremy Hermida, of Padres
2007 Chris Volstad, rhp Marlins
2008 Cameron Maybin, of Padres
2009 Cameron Maybin, of Padres
2010 Mike Stanton, of Marlins
2011 Matt Dominguez, 3b Marlins
Year Player, Position 2011 Org.
2002 Jeremy Hermida, of Padres
2003 Jeff Allison, rhp Marlins
2004 Taylor Tankersley, lhp Mets
2005 Chris Volstad, rhp Marlins
2006 Brett Sinkbeil, rhp Pirates
2007 Matt Dominguez, 3b Marlins
2008 Kyle Skipworth, c Marlins
2009 Chad James, lhp Marlins
2010 Christian Yelich, of Marlins
2011 Jose Fernandez, rhp Marlins
Josh Beckett, 1999 $3,625,000
Adrian Gonzalez, 2000 $3,000,000
Livan Hernandez, 1996 $2,500,000
Kyle Skipworth, 2008 $2,300,000
Jason Stokes, 2000 $2,027,000
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Florida Marlins

Sharing a division with the Phillies, the Marlins faced an uphill battle going into the 2011 season. First place in the National League East may not have been a realistic goal, but fifth place wasn't the destination most foresaw either. After finishing May in second place, just two games back, Florida fell apart.

The Marlins went 5-23 in June, enduring a 1-19 stretch and dropping into last place, which they would escape only briefly later in the year. Manager Edwin Rodriguez resigned near the end of the club's 11-game losing streak, just days short of the one-year anniversary of his hire.

Veteran Jack McKeon, who famously rallied Florida to a World Series title after taking over in mid-2003, was unable to replicate the feat. He guided a young roster to a 40-50 record, then stepped aside when Ozzie Guillen came over from the White Sox in October, in a transaction that also included trading prospects Jhan Marinez and Osvaldo Martinez to Chicago. The return of the feisty former Marlins third-base coach stirred up the fan base as the franchise prepares to move into a new stadium for 2012.

Shortly before Guillen's long-rumored arrival, a front-office shakeup saw longtime vice president of player development and scouting Jim Fleming reassigned as a special assistant. Marty Scott, who had been managing in the independent American Association, took over as farm director. Scouting director Stan Meek was promoted to vice president of scouting and will continue to run Florida's drafts.

While the organization's spin on the changes was that they were just a different approach, they were rooted in owner Jeffrey Loria's frustration with the club's lack of major league-ready talent in the system, which he spoke publicly about in July. After years of plugging key pieces into the lineup and pitching staff—such as Mike Stanton, who hit 34 home runs in his first full season—the upper levels have gone dry. The Marlins rank 29th in draft spending over the last five years ($21.7 million), and that has caught up to them.

Matt Dominguez failed to win the third-base job in spring training, then missed the start of the year with a broken elbow. Scott Cousins wasn't the answer when Chris Coghlan went down with a knee injury. Martinez did nothing when given an opportunity.

Finesse starters Tom Koehler and Elih Villanueva, who had blitzed through Double-A in 2010, were woeful in Triple-A and weren't realistic options when Josh Johnson was lost for the year. The only significant rookie contributions Florida got came from backup outfielder Bryan Petersen and relievers Steve Cishek and Mike Dunn.

There is some talent deeper in the pipeline. Low Class A Greensboro claimed the South Atlantic League crown on the strength of a prospect-laden lineup led by left fielder Christian Yelich, right fielder Marcell Ozuna, catcher J.T. Realmuto and second baseman Noah Perio. The Rookie-level Gulf Coast League team, featuring righthanders Austin Brice and Mason Hope and center fielder Jesus Solorzano, came within a game of capturing a championship.

Florida also added several promising arms in the draft, plucking righthander Jose Fernandez in the first round, lefty Adam Conley in the second and Hope in the fifth. The Marlins hoped to add a pair of talented middle infielders in Connor Barron (third round) and Tyler Palmer (fourth), but both players ended up sticking to their strong college commitments.

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