Marlins depth chart analysis


This would have been posted a whole lot earlier in the day, except (long story short): A log truck crashed on I-95 south in Virginia, and it took me nearly 3 hours to get home from school (normally a 40 minute trip). I really wish I could have posted these thoughts earlier, before the Marlins signed Jose Reyes, but I need to get this out.

First and foremost, I am very proud of the Marlins for shelling out the money to bring buzz to Miami in a great hispanic baseball player-Jose Reyes. Note: I believe the entire Marlins infield is now fluent in Spanish. This signing has begun the solidification of the Marlins 2012 starting lineup, and things are starting to clear up.

Catcher: John Buck, a 2010 All-Star, had a solid 2011 campaign and is the clear starting catcher and maybe 6th, 7th, or 8th hitter. Brett Hayes has had a few solid seasons as the backup, and barring injuries to both these guys, Miami has no need to shop for catchers.

First Baseman: Gaby Sanchez, for now, is the starting first baseman. The rookie was an All-Star in 2010, and has shown ability to be a .300 hitter. But the Marlins have, of course, shown interest in Albert Pujols. Originally, it was thought that the Marlins would only sign one expensive position player (Reyes or Pujols) , and one expensive pitcher (Wilson or Buehrle). But even after the signing of Reyes, speculation continues to grow that the Marlins are seriously pursuing Pujols. If the 3-time MVP is signed by Miami, Gaby Sanchez would be a valuable trade piece. Bottom line: Make the decision quick to sign Pujols or not so that Sanchez’s trade value will be maximized.

Second Baseman: Omar Infante: a 2010 All-Star, speedster, gold-glove-talented defender, and contact hitter. There’s no question who the Marlins 2012 second baseman will be.

Shortstop: Jose Reyes, I’m proud to announce finally that the Marlins have signed their biggest contract ever, 6 years $106 million, to free-agent shortstop Jose Reyes. With the signing, the Marlins might just have the speediest lineup in the league. Reyes can hit anywhere in the top of the lineup. He won the NL batting title last season, and will certainly bring excitement to mid-summer Miami baseball.

Third Baseman: Hanley Ramirez?!?! The signing of Reyes arguably gives the Marlins the two most talented shortstops in all of baseball. Hanley will be required to move to third base, as it appears at least, and the Marlins ‘ perennial 3-time All-Star, Home Run Derby contestant, and MVP candidate will be part of the best Dominican-Duo in baseball. However, Matt Dominguez is highly-touted third base prospect in the Marlins organization, and might be a decent trade piece himself.

Left Field: Logan Morrison: The lovable, obstreperous tweetaholic will most likely man left field for the Marlins when they open their new stadium in 2012. The left-handed hitter should bat somewhere in the middle of the order, and will play solid defense in left field.

Center Field: Emilio Bonifacio: At least for now, one of the fastest players in baseball will join Reyes, Ramirez, and Infante in the speed roles of the lineup. All four of those guys are capable of 20+ steals in any given year. But the Marlins have a former Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan ready to play big-league centerfield. Either Bonifacio will be a full-time utility player, or Coghlan will make the roster as a fourth outfielder. The Fish may still wish to trade for a veteran center fielder, with Gaby Sanchez perhaps.

Right Field: Mike Stanton. Power hitter, solid outfielder, self-explanitory necessity to this team.

I’ll post on the pitching staff in the near future, but Heath Bell will be the closer, and Josh Johnson and Anibal Sanchez are locks right now to be in the rotation.

This week the Marlins made bold moves in the signing of Jose Reyes and Heath Bell, but they better act quick if they want to sign other free-agents, such as Albert Pujols, in order to give them the most amount of time to evaluate trade options.

Author: Steve Miller

Steve Miller has been baseball blogging since 2011. He is the Sports Editor at the University of Dayton's Flyer News. Email: h2rsteve@gmail.com

7 thoughts

  1. Read your blog and it appears that you are some sort of student and therefore relatively young. I hope you don’t mind conversing with an old f**t of 75. You do write well so it could be interesting from my perspective as well. I have religiously followed baseball since the late 1940s and might have some different perspectives to add. I grew up with the “Boys of Summer” and still hold fond memories of those great Dodger teams. I saw Jackie Robinson break in, remember the actual game when Red Barber introduced Vince Scully as a “new young fella from Fordham who will be joining Connie (Desmond) and me on our broadcasts.” Baseball history is my forte and I have 50-75 baseball books in my personal library and have read many more.

    My first comment must be a disagreement, however. Regarding Infante and his base stealing ability. I’m sorry, but he is not much of a threat on the bases and is thrown out an inordinant number of times when percentage is considered. Actually, LoMo is probably a better base stealer and Gabby occasionally steals an unexpected but important base. Coghlan, if back to normal, is also more of a threat to steal a base. To his credit, Infante is an intelligent baserunner and that can be of equal importance.

    I would also disagree with your assessment of LoMo as an above average LFer. He is definately learning and is far better than most at throwing to the right base and hitting the cutoff man. My fear is that he will kill himself out there. Sometimes a player can be too aggressive and he sure fits the bill. If he survives, He should improve to the point that he is at least an average LFer. You might be interested in the story of Pistol Pete Reiser. He was lost in the vast Cardinal farm system of the late 1930s and somehow the Brooklyn Dodgers were able to acquire him. He came up in 1940 along with Pee Wee Reese and they were known as “the Glod Dust Twins”. Reiser blossomed into a super star in 1941 and won the batting title, hitting over .340.He was 21 years old and either he or Al Kaline is the youngest ever batting champion. In 1942, he was hitting something like .380 late in the season when he ran directly into an outfield wall. (All were unpadded in those days…it was either brick or concrete.) He tried to come back too soon and his average fell to the low .300s by the end of the year. From this point forward he had a succession of being carried off fields in a stretcher because he still thought that if he hit an OF wall hard enough, it would give a little. Three years in the service followed during WWII and I believe he broke a shoulder falling into an OF ditch, then learning to throw with his opposite hand. Needless to say, he was never the same except for short stretches. In the 1947 World Series, he reputedly pinch hit (or pinch ran) with a fractured skull! He was washed up by 26 or so for all practical purposes. Leo Durocher, who also managed Willy Mays for a few years, said Pete Reiser was the best talent he ever managed. Think about that for a minute. It’s memories such as this that make me worry abot LOMO. He has hit his fair share of walls but I’m more worried about a shoulder injury when he comes in and dives for a ball.

    I personally can’t stand Buck and feel that his signing was a huge mistake. In his years in KC, he stunk up the place. For his first 3 years, he threw well. Then for the next 3 he was simply awful. There was slight improvement his one year in Toronto but his first year in Miami showed his definiency in this area. If 2B was moved to short CF, his throws would be right on the money. It was claimed that he was acquired to bring a veteran’s knowledge to help the pitching staff. Ask Nunez, Nolasco, Volstad, Sanches, and Henley how that worked out. I thought Paulino did very well until they ran him into the ground and would greatly prefer Hayes as the regular catcher.

    1. Stan-
      Thanks for the comment. Yes, I am a high school student and baseball player myself. Great old baseball stories by the way! As for Infante, I never called him a “base stealer,” I guess it was implied in “speedster,” but I was trying to hint more at the fact that he can leg out an infield hit, or stretch a gapper into a triple. As for base stealers, Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, and Emilio Bonifacio will provide enough of that, barring injuries, that Infante’s need for stealing speed will not be as great. I am a big fan of Chris Coghlan, and I can’t wait to see if he can get back to his 2009 form.

      Interesting theory on LoMo. He’s not your typical baseball player, very outgoing and ostentatious, so it would not be out of the realm of possibility that he would get a freakish injury as the result of going to hard for a fly ball. And I didn’t call him “above average,” however, he will play “solid” defense,” meaning he will make the plays he needs to make, and keep the blatant errors to a minimum.

      John Buck has had a few decent seasons. There was no point last year when I wondered why the Marlins picked him up. They really had no better option for catcher. You could make an argument for Brett Hayes, who I really like, but the Marlins organization has made the decision to start Buck. And I think the Marlins would have preferred to stick with Paulino, but remember he was suspended for PEDs at the end of the 2010 season.

  2. Please excuse the typos of this old man. I meant “Gold Dust Twins”, actually know how to spell definitely, snd I’m sure there are more. If you don’t like my comments, please say so and I’ll just “fade away”.

  3. I think Paulino’s sin was far less egregious than Loria’s in deceiving the local politicians about team finances. Martin (Yankees) has proven to be a far better signing. Regarding Buck, we are now stuck with him. The 3 years and 6 million salary are the biggest faults in my opinion. Regarding LoMo’s defense, I posted on a blog that was a hot bed of stat heads and they crucified me for saying that LoMo wasn’t awful. During a broadcast last year Tommy and his Cohort has a defensive stat head on for an interview. He stated that Stanton was plus 16 runs in defense in his rookie year. Baloney. He’s a fine outfielder, but not that outstanding. Too many balls seem to bounce off his glove. Same guy said Coghlan (who wasn’t sent down yet) had cost the team several runs with his CF play. Again I say baloney. These same stat heads are praising Maybin’s defense. He must have improved a great deal in San Diego. He was lost in Miami when a ball was hit directly at him and constantly threw to the wrong base or missed cutoff men. They even pulled him a couple of times for defensive purposes. He did cover a lot of ground and occasionally made an outstanding catch, but so did Coghlan. It is unfortunate that Maybin is maturing into an above average player in SD, but I don’t think the same would have happened if the Marlins had kept him. I personally prefer Coghlan.

    I think defensive stats leave a lot to be desired. I, too, like Coghlan quite a bit. As they say, he gets his uniform dirty. On another blog, I was the only poster who said that Coghlan would be fine in CF and I think he was despite the stat heads’ findings. He was one of the teams best players in 09 and I can’t understand why he is being written off for all practical purposes. There is more to the story that we don’t know. There is no doubt that he is a cocky so and so, and perhaps he is too much for the FO to accept. Watch his back foot. When he drags it toward 1B while swinging, his solid contact disappears. If that foot is solidly planted, he hits very well. I would put his ceiling above Gabby’s but below LoMo’s. I lived in NY until 50 YO and saw a lot of Keith Hernandez. LoMo reminds me a lot of him when swinging but he has more power.

    I really like the signing of Bell for closer. Nunez seemed to fall apart as soon as someone reached base. One could actually see the fear on his face in close situations. Did you see where good ol’ Pinto is tearing up one of the Winter leagues? Ha! I’m worried sick about JJ and his shoulder. Could picture him as a fantastic closer if his shoulder won’t allow him to start.

    Buherle was a great pick up and now I’d like the team to resign Vazquez or go for Jackson who is only 28. Neither would cost the team players. I’d even let Vazquez go home for a day or two between starts or move his family to the Miami area if need be.

    What was your take on Gerardi and his replacement? I loved Gerardi and think he took a bunch of kids and showed them how to play and act like big leaguers. His replacement was, in my opinion, so far over his head that he appeared ridiculous at times. Ozzie should be interesting if nothing else. My one worry is whether he will utilize the new defensive placements that teams such as Tampa Bay have proved to be fruitful. A couple of days ago I posted the horrific possibility that the team could give in to Hanley’s petulance and move Reyes to 2B where he played his first year in NY. Infante would help to close the SS-3B gap that was a highway for base hits last year because Hanley can’t go to his right worth a damn. But it would be a horrible mistake. They really shouldn’t trade Hanley right now because his career is at a low point, but it is difficult to understand why the FO can’t realize that most fans loathe their so called super star.

    You said you fond the historical anecdote interesting. Do you want more?

    1. I find Mike Stanton to be a great defensive outfielder. His skills are overlooked though: He is so good because his 6’5″ frame allows him to cover more ground than any right fielder in the game. So those balls that are “bouncing off his glove” wouldn’t even be near the glove of a smaller outfielder. Maybe he can improve on catching fly balls and such, but he provides great defense for the team. As for Coghlan, he is a very exciting player, and personally I believe a better CF option than Maybin. Maybin’s defense did improve, however, in his year with San Diego.

      I agree that LoMo has great potential, but I think that he would do better at first base. There, he could concentrate more on his offensive production. I think at that point, the Marlins should trade Gaby for a veteran (but not too old) outfielder.

      I think Bell’s signing was great as well. I was at a Marlins-Nats game in July when the Marlins were up 7-1 going into the bottom of the ninth, and the entire bullpen fell apart when there were runners on base. The game ended 7-5, but Nuñez narrowly escaped a loss when Laynce Nix flew out to the right field track to end the game. It was scary, and at that point I knew the Marlins would need a better shut-down bullpen. As for JJ, I’m praying that he will be able to have a complete season in 2012, and that his shoulder will hold up.

      I wasn’t following the Marlins so religiously during Girardi’s reign, and I think the replacement you’re talking about is Fredi Gonzalez. I think Florida should have kept Girardi longer, as he proved to be a World Series manager. Since Jeffrey Loria was stubborn and conceited enough to fire him, he should have found a better replacement. I liked Gonzalez though, but he couldn’t quite get the team together.

      Hanley needs to settle down and embrace the team’s needs. If he does that, we should be fine. And keep rolling with the history if you’re up for it!

  4. In case you didn’t know, Gerardi was fired because Loria was all over an umpire and he thought calls would start to go against the Marlins. So he walked to the corner of the dugout where Loria sat and literally said, “Shut the f**k up!” Loria was so pissed that he had a podium erected in the clubhouse and scheduled a news conference after the game…obviously to fire Gerardi. The coaches and other FO personnel talked him out of it. Subsequently, I read (only once though) that the broadcast announcers were told to stop praising Gerardi thenceforth. Of course he went on to win manager of the year anyway…then got fired.

    I don’t disagree at all that Stanton is a fine OFer, but this was his rookie year and while better than averaage, this stat head said he was the best RFer in the league. That was a stretch then. Possibly he is now.

    Here’s a story about Ralph Kiner. Your generation would look at his stats and yawn and wonder why he’s in the HOF as well. Right after WWII, Pittsburge acquired the great Jewish ballplayer, Hank Greenberg. He lost years to injury and the war, but sometime look up his stats. Pittsburgh at that time had the largest outfield in existence. It was so big that they literally kept the batting cage in deep CF (that is, on the field of play!) As Greenberg was a power hitter deluxe and the LF wall could only be seen on clear days and then only with a powerful telescope, management built a jury box (several rows of seats protruding into LF to shorten the distance.) It was called “Greenberg Gardens.” As a young power hitter himself, Kiner was taken under Greenberg’s wing. Kiner tied for the league lead in HRs that first year and Greenberg retired after that year. Kiner proceeded to also lead the league in HRs for the next sixconsecutive years as well (twice hitting over 50) and that jury box became known as “Kiner’s Corner”. Along with Rocky Colivito in Cleveland, Kiner was probably the most popular player any team ever had. Nearly everyone left the park after his last AB during games. He was a bachelor and pretty well recognized as America’s most eligible bachelor…yes, I said America’s…that’s how prominent he was in his day. He dated movie stars. Once Elizabeth Taylor and actuallly went steady with Janet Leigh (famous for her role in the original Psyco(sic) movie). When he finally married a famous female athlete it was national news. Unfortunately, he had a bad back and was washed up far too soon. He has been a Met announcer since their inception…about 50 years! He is a great story teller and I’ll relate a couple. Once he caught a fly ball to end a game and threw the ball into the stands. Branch Rickey, the GM and a notorious tightwad, fined him for the cost of the ball. One year after leading the league in HRs as he did every year, he asked Rickey for a raise. Rickey replied, “We finished last with you and we can finish last without you as well.” Pittsburgh has a horrible team while Kiner was there. Kiner also has a famous quote of that time. He said, “Home run hitters drive Cadillacs (it was the days before expensive imports) and singles hitters drive Chevrolets.” His funniest story (and he has written two wonderful books) is about the time he was on a plane and noticed Janet Leigh Curtus also sitting nearby. He got up and quietly introduced himself and told her that he used to date her mother (as I mentioned above). She stood up and threw her arms around him and said at the top of her voice, “Oh, daddy, daddy, I’ve been looking for you all of my life.” Not true of course but Kiner said he was never so enbarassed in his whole life. He was sort of the Derek Jeter of his day regarding his night life, but not in a derogatory was like ARod. Until Barry Bonds found steroids, Kiner was only bested by Babe Ruth in frequency of HRs per AB. And he was a nice guy, too.

    1. I think that was one of Loria’s biggest mistakes of his tenure with the Marlins, coming in a close second to the fraudulent financial reports that almost discredited the team.

      Whenever you say the “Best,” it’s likely a stretch. Defensively, Ichiro and Sam Fuld are examples of guys who can cover as much ground AND make the big plays. If you add offense in, I guess there could be a case for Stanton.

      Funny stories about Kiner.

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