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Florida Marlins 2011 Minor League Review
Overall farm rankings via Baseball America (2011)
2011 (29) | 2010 (8) | 2009 (2) | 2008 (14) | 2007 (15) | 2006 (3) | 2005 (14) | 2004 (14)

Record of Major and Minor League Teams
MLB: [72-90] NL East
AAA: [69-74] Pacific Coast League – New Orleans
AA: [70-70] Southern League – Jacksonville
A+: [60-80] Florida State League – Jupiter
A: [79-60] South Atlantic League – Greensboro
A(ss): [35-40] New York – Pennsylvania – Jamestown
R: [38-16] Gulf Coast League

The Run Down
The graduation of Mike Stanton, Logan Morrison and Gaby Sanchez in 2010, left their farm system dry. Brad Hand, who I highlighted in last year’s review, provided occasional success. Each graduating prospect in 2011 projects to be a role player. Brett Hayes is a back-up catcher, even if he marries my mother’s cousin’s daughter. True story. There was a wedding invitation posted on my refrigerator for several months during this past season for their wedding. Cousins (Scott not mine) and (not Scott) Peterson are both fourth outfielders. Cishek being a SAGNOF snag in the second half. However, these players all still lack substantial, game changing talent. The Marlins farm system lacks depth and great talent beyond Matt Dominguez, Christian Yelich, Chad James, and Marcell Ozuna. I may be stretching it with a couple of names too. Dominguez is going to be a solid player, but solid won’t sell seats. With that said, there are a few names worth noting. The Marlins have a new stadium on the way, but what they need is pitching. They have one of the best, young power hitters in the game in Mike Stanton, and a strong nucleus of young hitters. What they lack is impact arms. This will still be lacking in 2012, barring any offseason trades. Here are some of the prospects to keep an eye on for fantasy baseball in 2012.

Arizona Fall League PlayersSurprise Saguaros
Pitchers – #16 Dan Jennings (LHP-RP); Alejandro Ramos (RHP); Evan Reed (RHP-RP); Alejandro Sanabia (RHP); Kirby Yates (RHP);
Hitters – #8 Kyle Skipworth (C); #1 Matt Dominguez (3B); Paul Cran (MI); Kevin Mattison (OF)

Graduated Prospects
#6 Brad Hand (LHP-SP); #7 Scott Cousins (CF); #18 Bryan Peterson (RF); #19 Steven Cishek; #29 Brett Hayes (C);

Players of Interest for 2011
All rankings are from Baseball America 2011

Hitters
#1 Matt Dominguez | 3B | From Top 50 Prospect Rankings, “A strong NL-only and deep league play. He’ll sustain his major league career through his excellent defensive skills not his average-at-best bat. Projects to be a .260 hitter with average power (15 home runs). So David Freese.” Not a compliment, but there can be value in deeper leagues. This year he hit .258/.312/.431 in 325 at-bats at Triple-A (87 games), 31 XBH (12 Hr) and a 50:24 K:BB ratio. Last year I, “compared [Dominguez] to Mike Lowell and Jeff Cirillo (ceiling and floor respectfully).” Additionally, it should be noted he, “Struggles with breaking pitchers. Has average power (think 20 to 25 home run ceiling) and an expected .240 to .260 average. Below average speed.”

Pitchers
#2 Chad James | LHP-SP From 2010 report, as pitches haven’t changed, “Throws a 91 to 95 MPH fastball, a power breaking pitch that appears to be a slider but breaks as a curve – not a slurve ball either. Flashes a plus-changeup. Gets in trouble when he nibbles and doesn’t attack hitters causing him to frequently pitch from behind in the count. Mechanically, he is working on fixing his landing point. Potential number two starter.” He’s a power lefty that is still just 20 (D.o.B: 1/23/91), even if he was drafted in 2009. In 2011 at Single High-A, he threw 149 1/3 innings with a 7.5 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 ratio. He also performed while within traditional measure with a 3.80 ERA, .50 WHIP, .7 Hr/9, 10.4 H/9. Sabermetrically, his 3.65 FIP indicates his fielders didn’t cause more runs to cross than expected. Even with an unsustainable .349 BABIP and a relatively stable 71.2 LOB%, James pitched exceptionally well. He could slide into the majors much like Brandon Beachy and have strong success in 2012, if the Marlins need starting pitching help early.

#4 Jhan Marinez | RHP-RP: (Note:  Jhan was traded to the White Sox for Ozzie Guillen.  No word on Guillen’s fastball or slurve.)  What do you get when you combine a 92 to 96 MPH fastball that tops out at 98 MPH, a power slider and poor command? Besides a power reliever, I don’t know either. Marinez has shown both dominance (2010), health concerns (58 IP this year were the highest of career), and lack of command (career: 5.9 BB/9). This past year at Double-A he had the following ratios 11.5 K/9 and a 6.5 BB/9 in 58 innings. If he can harness his command just enough, he could be a powerful setup man for…

#12 Jose Ceda | RHP-RP:  At one point in his development, he was throwing 100 MPH. Currently settles in at 94 to 95 MPH and tops at 97 MPH. His slider is slightly above average with good, late action. Like Marinez, his command is his bane. However, in 2011 at Triple-A he only had 2.9 BB/9 to go along with 12.0 K/9 (career: 11.4 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9). As a reliever, the walk rate will be fickle, especially when he only threw 39 2/3 innings. Season was not aided by luck:  .299 BABIP.

Honorable Mentions
Hitters
#3 Christian Yelich | LF: Drafted out of high school (D.o.B: 12/5/91), Yelich is considered to have an advanced hitting approach, can read pitches wells, and projects as a high-average hitter with average power. Has slightly above-average speed. I would say his production at Low Single-A would be accurate to his scouting report. He had a .312/.388/.484 in 461 at-bats with 48 XBH (15 Hr), 32 steals in 37 attempts and a 102:55 K:BB ratio. Definitely an exciting prospect to watching moving forward. Baseline could be a 20/15 hitter similar to Hunter Pence.

#9Marcell Ozuna | RF According to Baseball America, Ozuna, “possesses legit corner-outfield power … trouble making contact … starting to understand strike zone better … some days he shows patience and other days he’ll swing at anything … has a plus arm [that plays right field well].” Playing 2011 at age 20 (D.o.B: 11/12/90), Ozuna again showed excellent power, 23 home runs and 28 doubles in 496 at-bats (Low Single-A) with a decreased strikeout rate (121 Ks) and increased patience (46 BB). The slash line of.266/.330/.482 wasn’t overly impressive. Projects to be a low average power hitter.

#8 Kyle Skipworth | C: I think people have started to question Skipworth’s, um, worth and prospect status. He is currently a career .220/.281/.365 hitter in 1223 at-bats after posting a .207/.273/.331 in 396 at-bats with a 143:34 K:BB ratio at Double-A. Even keeping in mind his age (D.o.B: 3/1/90), he’d have to change his entire approach to hitting to start moving forward in his development. In my 2010 review, I stated, “After just finishing Class Low-A, I would like to see Skipworth have more success in High-A and Double-A before I would be excited about this young catcher … [because he's] all power and no plate-discipline his plate approach is “all-or-nothing” and chases breaking pitches … [even if] his defense is adequate.” At this point it might be time to turn to the following prospect.

#15 Jacob “J.T.” Realmuto | C: Drafted out of high school in 2010 (D.o.B: 3/18/91), Baseball America scouts believe, “he projects as an above-average hitter, with average power.” Defensively, he has a quick release and agile behind the plate. He was a short-top in high school and has good speed. In 348 Low Single-A at bats, he slashed .287/.347/.454 with 30 XBH (12 Hr), 13 steals in 19 attempts, and a 78:26 K:BB ratio. The plate-discipline will need to improve to sustain a strong average. Looks like he could develop into a useful fantasy backstop: 15 home runs and 10 steals is hard to leave alone.

Pitchers
#13Tom Koehler | RHP-SP: Want to know the depth of the Marlins pitching prospects? Their top ranked, right-handed pitching prospect for 2011 was Koehler. A career 7.5 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 3.61 ERA, 25-year-old (D.o.B: 6/29/86) pitcher who had a career year in 2010. This year, he stats were average at best. At Triple-A, he threw 150 1/3 innings with a 6.9 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9 rate. His extended stats don’t help his case either: 4.97 ERA, 4.89 FIP, 1.48 WHIP, 1.1 Hr/9, 8.9 H/9, and a .283 BABIP. I compared him to Kevin Slowey in my 2010 review. He throws a 88 to 92 MPH fastball with a good curve and a splitter. For his career, had excellent command. Garnered John Sickels’ attention who called Koehler a sleeper. Could be a back-end-of-the-rotation starter on a going nowhere team. Spot starter, or filler if needed.

#14Elih Villanueva | RHP: He could received a few spot starts, however, I would pick Koehler over Villanueva due to a superior track record, better pitches, and fewer home runs allowed. Last year I compared both Villanueva and Koehler and concluded they were the same pitcher. Keep that in mind. Matter of fact, just remember you don’t want either of them starting for your fantasy teams.

5 Responses

  1. TheNewGuy says:
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    Hi Stephen, if you’re still taking questions wonder if you can help me out with this. I’ve still got Mike Montgomery on my farm after a brutal year at AAA. Is he still worth holding onto? I was hoping he’d have been up by september and he never even made it then, he’s just been horrible. Is there a chance he’ll still use his skills and get his stats on track or is it time to cut bait?

  2. Stephen

    Stephen says:
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    @TheNewGuy: Definitely still taking questions. re:Mike Montgomery: He did have a tough year at Triple-A. Keep in mind, he was only 21. His control needs to improve. Talent wise, he’s better than Danny Duffy, but he needs to improve command and consistency. If you are cutting bait, do you have a better replacement? Prior to this year, he was a top 15 pitching prospect. I would still expect at top 20 pitching prospect status for 2012 at just 22 years old. Plus he’s a left. I don’t think you cut bait yet, unless the replacement is far superior.

  3. TheNewGuy says:
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    Thanks, I guess my replacement would probably be Edward Salcedo, who’s a totally different player obviously. Stick with Monty for now?

  4. Chris R says:
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    Stephen, Jhan Marinez was traded to the White Sox for Ozzie Guillen. What do you think are the chances of Ceda closing for the Fish in 2012? He seemed not to pitch in high leverage situations this September, even after Nunez left. But there’s no obvious favorite for the job. I have him cheap in one league and hope he’s be worth a keeper spot.

  5. Stephen

    Stephen says:
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    @TheNewGuy: I’d hold Montgomery for now.

    @Chris R: Thanks for the update. re:Ceda: He has the possibility to close. His stuff has always been closer material. However, he isn’t a lock out of the gate. Cishek pitched well enough that he could be the front runner, even without the pedigree.

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