Obligatory Prospect Watch: Marlins Top 20 from John Sickels


John Sickels’ look at the Marlins top prospects is here, and we should all take a look. Here I’ll highlight some of the interesting names.

"1) Mike Stanton, OF, Grade A-: The strikeouts are worrisome, yes, but he’s only 20 years old and hit 16 homers in half-a-season of Double-A ball. Upside: 40-homer production for years. Downside: he loses the strike zone and ends up like Jeff Francoeur."

Obviously, we should all be excited. Stanton is still 20 years old and he’s already dominated the lower levels before running into a wall in Double-A. The key will indeed whether he can hold off the strikeouts. Last year in Double-A, Stanton struck out in 29% of his plate appearances. He’s yet to crack under 20% in any level. Still, the power is unbelievable, and his development will just require some more time.

"2) Logan Morrison, 1B, Grade B+. I still love this guy. Tremendous improvement with his strike zone judgment stands out, and power slippage is likely attributable to hand injury."

Initially Sickels had Morrison at an A- grade, but he’s since dropped that. Morrison will have an outside shot at the first base job next season, but will likely end up in Triple-A, waiting to take over for one of our various first base options.

"3) Matt Dominguez, 3B, Grade B. Defensive raves continue, but the bat didn’t look as good in the more difficult Florida State League. Will struggle if rushed, they need to give him 900 at-bats in the upper minors."

The bat went down, but as friend of the Maniac nny points out, the move from 2008 low-A to 2009 in the FSL was just as much of a park issue as a bat issue for Dominguez. According to Minor League Splits, Dominguez’ park-adjusted OPS in Jupiter this year was .794, while last year’s park-adjusted numbers in Greensboro was .818, not a huge difference. And results from 114 PA in double-A could not be sufficiently determined. With Dominguez’ defense sounding major league ready (and TotalZone seemed to agree for his time in Jupiter, putting him at +12 runs in 103 games), he’s another candidate for us to just wait on.

"4) Chad James, LHP, Grade B: Has B+/A- potential but would like to see some professional data first."

I don’t know anything about James, but I can’t wait to see.

"6) Gaby Sanchez, 1B, Grade C+: Age 26 limits his upside, but should be a solid hitter to hold down first base until Morrison is ready."

With the promising major league projections for Sanchez, I’m extremely excited to see what we have in store for next season. Considering the black hole we had for much of the year at third base, I’d say getting anything offensively of value from the opposite corner of Jorge Cantu should be a win. Right now, CHONE has Gaby at a .348 wOBA. In 500 PA (the 500 we foolishly gave to Emilio Bonifacio), that would be worth 7.5 runs above average, not bad at all. CHONE also has him at something like a -5 defender per 150 or 162 games. At that rate, in abotu 125 games and 500 PA, you’d be looking at a 1 WAR player, which is pretty solid and a little less (maybe half a win for a full season) worse than Cantu.

"9) Kyle Skipworth, C, Grade C+: Borderline C. VERY difficult to grade. His performance has been horrible, but he was so good in high school and at age 20 it is too soon to give up on him. However, one more season like this one and people will be heading to the exits."

Yikes. As Sickels says, he’s really young, but at some point you just can’t play that poorly and still expect to be a major leaguer. Skipworth has basically not hit at all in his time as a pro, and it’s getting to the point where we’ll wonder whether he’ll ever hit. This season should be the tipping point. He’ll probably have to repeat low-A this season. If he can show he can hit, he may get a late move up to high-A or double-A. If he continues to struggle, the Marlins may lose all hope.

The Maniac’s off on Thursday with real work, but check in at night for a potential piece. Friday should bring the return of Revisitng ’03 and Saber-Terms!