How the 2010 Marlins were acquired: Hitters

Earlier in the week, Jesse Behr of Baseball Prospectus put up an interesting set of articles about how the National League champion San Francisco Giants were acquired. He broke down both the pitchers and the hitters by how the Giants front office picked them up. I found the exercise very interesting because it gets to the heart of a matter that I am particularly intrigued by, which is how the Marlins acquire their (eventual) major league talent. So I figured I’d look into this season’s Marlins ballclub and see how they were initially acquired to see if we can garner any insight on how the front office works on populating the roster.

Methodology

I took the 25 players on the Marlins roster with the most PA or IP and used them as the roster to examine. I took 13 pitchers and 12 non-pitchers for this theoretical roster. I then looked up their Marlin origins via Cot’s Baseball Contracts, one of the best (if not the best) sources of contract information on players in all of the Internets. I broke down the players with brief descriptions/opinions and stats from both 2010 and from their Marlins career. Players are organized by their Marlins origin and ordered from highest to lowest 2010 PA/IP within these categories. We’ll start today with the hitters.

Amateur Draft

Gaby Sanchez, 1B
Drafted in the fourth round (126th pick) of the 2005 amateur draft
Season Salary: $401K
2011 Status: Pre-arbitration, 2nd year
2010 Stats: 643 PA, .273/.341/.448, .353 wOBA
Marlins Career: 674 PA, .273/.340/.453

Sanchez finally got his break this season after a standout 2008 season in Double-A and a solid return to Triple-A after an early 2009 injury. He’s an original Marlin, which is excellent, but the question of how long he will remain a Marlin will be an interesting one.

Chris Coghlan, LF/3B
Drafted in the first round (36th pick) of the 2006 amateur draft
Season Salary: $475K
2011 Status: Pre-arbitration, 3rd year
2010 Stats: 400 PA, .268/.335/.383, .322 wOBA
Marlins Career: 965 PA, .299/.367/.428

Coghlan had his down year in 2010, regressing way more than was likely even given his Rookie of the Year 2009 year. Still, he is one of a crop of young Marlins position players that is looking to bridge the gap to the next era of the Fish, so the Marlins will lean on him to perform well in 2011 along with realigning himself to his old college position on the diamond.

Mike Stanton, RF
Drafted in the second round (76th pick) of the 2007 amateur draft
Season Salary: $400K
2011 Status: Pre-arbitration 2nd year
2010 Stats: 396 PA, .259/.326/.507, .355 wOBA
Marlins Career: 396 PA, .259/.326/.507

Mike Stanton might have been the coup of the 2007 draft in hindsight. He was ranked in the top five of minor league prospects by Baseball America going into this season, and he went berserk in a half-season stint in Double-A before earning a promotion to the big leagues. He impressed up here too, knocking 22 home runs in less than 400 PA and playing very good defense in right field. Stanton looks to be one of the players the Marlins build around in the near future, but hopefully he can sustain that success from this season by continuing the power streak and toning down those strikeouts.

Logan Morrison, LF
Drafted in the 22nd round (666th pick) of the 2005 amateur draft
Season Salary: $400K
2011 Status: Pre-arbitration, 2nd year
2010 Stats: 287 PA, .283/.390/.447, .369 wOBA
Marlins Career: 287 PA, .283/.390/.447

Morrison stood next to Stanton at #2 in most Marlins prospects lists heading into this season, and he did not disappoint this year. That slash line is a bit inflated thanks to a high BABIP, but it is not to be completely dismissed in part thanks to a ridiculous 14.3% BB%. The question will be how much will he regress next season and how well will he hold up playing a full season in left field, which has been and is likely still an adventure for him.

Rule 5 Draft

Dan Uggla, 2B
Drafted from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2005 Rule 5 Draft
Season Salary: $7.8M
2011 Status: Arbitration, 3rd year
2010 Stats: 674 PA, .287/.369/.508, .381 wOBA
Marlins Career: 3372 PA, .263/.349/.488

Dan Uggla shares the distinction with Hanley Ramirez of the most tenured of Marlins on the 2010 team, having been around since the beginning of the 2006 era. Uggla has racked up the most PA in a Marlins uniform since that time and has become a mainstay despite the constant trade rumors swirling about him. He is a good player who is likely to get paid just about what he’s worth for the next few seasons, but the Marlins have to be concerned with his well-below average defense combined with his increasing age and stubbornness with regards to switching positions.

Minor League Free Agent

Jorge Cantu, 1B/3B
Signed as a minor league free agent in 2008
Season Salary: $6M
2011 Status: Free agent
2010 Stats (Marlins): 410 PA, .262/.310/.409, .314 wOBA
Marlins Career: 1738 PA, .278/.330/.450

Cantu was in the midst of his worst season as a Marlin, lacking in both the power and the walk rate/BABIP luck necessary to be a successful player. Alongside his calssically poor defense, he had been about a replacement level player throughout 2010, and it was surprising the Marlins were able to extract anything from him given his defensive reputation and his struggles. Still, the Fish got some minor league longshots and the Texas Rangers got a player to platoon at first base, so the deal was mostly fair overall. Cantu served the Marlins well in his time as a Fish, so none of us can really complain.

Trade

Hanley Ramirez, SS
Acquired in a trade with Jesus Delgado, Harvey Garcia, and Anibal Sanchez from the Boston Red Sox for Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, and Guillermo Mota in 2005
Season Salary: $7M
2011 Status: 3rd year of a 6-year/$70M extension (2009-2014)
2010 Stats: 619 PA, .300/.379/.475, .373 wOBA
Marlins Career: 3370 PA, .313/.385/.520

Ramirez is the crown jewel of the Marlins organization and is an absolutely untouchable commodity for at least another three seasons. With the new stadium a reality, it is likely that the Marlins will actually hold onto Ramirez for the duration of this deal, even though the club will owe him $16M in the final season of the deal. Ramirez is a star and there’s really no way around it; the Marlins have one of the premier players in baseball locked up for the long haul.

Cody Ross, OF
Contract purchased from the Cincinnati Reds in 2006
Season Salary: $4.45M
2011 Status: Arbitration, 3rd year
2010 Stats (Marlins): 487 PA, .265/.316/.405, .319 wOBA
Marlins Career: 2073 PA, .265/.322/.465

At the beginning of the 2006 season, it would have been difficult to predict that, of all players, Cody Ross would have racked up the third-most PA as a Marlin through 2010, but there it is. Ross became a fan favorite among Marlins fans for his awesome attitude, power hitting, and chant-able name. Though it was a shame to see him leave for nothing via waivers to the Giants, I am happy to see him enjoying postseason success in the World Series. He slipped under the radar for most of his time here because his value came from being a pretty solidly average player. The team got plenty of run from their tiny investment back in 2006.

Ronny Paulino, C
Acquired in a trade from the San Francisco Giants for Hector Correa in 2009
Season Salary: $1.1M
2011 Status: Arbitration, 2nd year
2010 Stats: 344 PA, .259/.311/.354, .293 wOBA
Marlins Career: 610 PA, .265/.323/.384

All the power from Paulino’s promising 2009 season was sapped, and facing right-handers had a big hand in the problem. At this point in his career, he is a platoon player, and given his arbitration status, his time with the Marlins is probably over.

Cameron Maybin, CF
Acquired in a trade with Burke Badenhop, Eulogio de la Cruz, Andrew Miller, Mike Rabello, and Dallas Trahern from the Detroit Tigers for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis
Season Salary: $405K
2011 Status: Pre-arbitration, 2nd year
2010 Stats: 322 PA, .234/.302/.361, .299 wOBA
Marlins Career: 557 PA, .257/.313/.391

At this point, Maybin has totaled just short of a full season for the Fish and has accumulated 1.9 fWAR (1.2 rWAR), which falls comfortable into either an average player or a fourth outfielder. He has shown nothing with the bat outside of a hot start in September of 2008, and has mostly disappointed. With Miller a lost cause at this point, Maybin stands to be the only big name player in the Miguel Cabrera trade left that can salvage value from the deal, and failing in that regard will brand him as part of the failure of this deal forever in Marlins fans’ eyes.

Wes Helms, 3B
Contract purcahased from the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008
Season Salary: $950K
2011 Status: First year of a 1-year/$1M extension (2011)
2010 Stats: 287 PA, .220/.300/.346, .285 wOBA
Marlins Career: 1077 PA, .265/.326/.408

Uncle Wes is a bad hitter and a decent glove at third base at this point in his career, but he’s signed through 2011 for his clubhouse leadership. I don’t know what that’s worth, but I’ll try not to think about as the Marlins waste pinch-hitting opportunities on him.

Emilio Bonifacio, Utility
Acquired in a trade with P.J. Dean and Jake Smolinski from the Washington Nationals for Scott Olsen and Josh Willingham in 2008
Season Salary: $420K
2011 Status: Pre-arbitration, 3rd year
2010 Stats: 201 PA, .261/.320/.328, .306 wOBA
Marlins Career: 710 PA, .254/.308/.314

Most teams would have already given up on a guy this bad at the plate with little redeeming quality defensively (though his work in center field seems decent and fits his best defensive tools). The Marlins will extract as much value as possible from playing Bonifacio, but the effort seems mostly futile unless he becomes a stud defender out in center field. The reality is the club made a mistake in trading Willingham for this much; even if the idea of a trade was understandable, the return looked bad right from the beginning. Bonifacio’s 2009 season only served to intensify that point.

Analysis/Conclusion

This season the Marlins had a lot of parts on their way out of the organization and an equal number of fresh faces they were phasing into the major league club. Next year starts a new era of Marlins baseball, and it will be interesting if this crop of position players can herald a new era of contention for the team. The drafts of the early 2000′s did not yield enough position player talent to fill the 2006 era offense, but the focus on picking up position players earlier in rounds has brought the Fish an interesting group of players to try.

Topics: Chris Coghlan, Dan Uggla, Gaby Sanchez, Hanley Ramirez, Logan Morrison, Miami Marlins, Mike Stanton

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