You never like to see your young arms having injury problems but Josh Johnson took a step back in his recovery from being shut down at the end of last year because of a forearm injury. Just a couple of days ago, Johnson was having discomfort in his tricep although there’s no word on what will be done about it.
Johnson was pretty awesome in his time with the Marlins in 2006. He had a 3.10 ERA and he struck out 133 in 157 innings. And when you combine it with the problems Anibal Sanchez has been having, it makes for some problems heading into spring training.
This is good news, I think. Anibal Sanchez, who threw a no hitter last season for the Marlins, was having tenderness in his shoulder and while the MRI showed some swelling and some tendinitis, it didn’t show any structural damage. Sanchez won’t be able to throw for a couple of weeks and they’ll look at it again to see if the swelling has come down.
MLB.com beat reporter Joe Frisaro recently answered readers’ questions in a mailbag column. He touches on everything from the Marlins stadium deal to who will close in 2007. Good stuff here. Here also talks about my favorite player, Josh Willingham, and whether he’ll see time behind the plate or not.
The Marlins signed Dontrelle Willis to a one year, $6.45 million deal today and in the process, avoided arbitration with the popular left hander. Willis is one of the most popular players on the team and while he’s two years removed from his near Cy Young season, even his mediocre seasons are pretty good.
With four seasons under his belt, the Marlins are going to have to figure out what they want to do with Willis long term. He will get over a $2 million raise but he stands to make Barry Zito money in a couple of years when he lands on the free agent market.
The Marlins signed right handed relief pitcher Felix Rodriguez to a minor league deal and invited him to spring training. Rodriguez was bombed when he threw for the Nationals last year before getting shut down because of his shoulder. Rodriguez’s last decent season was 2004 and his last really good season was 2001 so this might a stretch by the Marlins to try to shore up a mediocre bullpen. Regardless, we’ll get to see if Rodriguez has another season left in the tank or not.
In a great column at the Hardball Times, Bryan Smith recently put Marlins prospect Ryan Tucker in the 2007 breakout category. Tucker’s ERA wasn’t much to write home about (5.00) but he was probably over his head at Low A as a 20 year old but he did strikeout 133 in 131 1/3 innings. Smith points to Tuckers great finish to the season as another reason Tucker is a potential breakout candidate. Smith expects Tucker to start at High A in 2007.
Baseball America recently unveiled their list of the top ten Marlins prospects and its pitchers, pitchers, and more pitchers. Three right handers dominate the top three and a left handed pitcher comes in at number four.
The Marlins first round pick in 2005, Chris Volstad, tops the list. The right hander had a nice season at Low A and while his strikeout numbers weren’t dominate (99 in 152 innings) his walk rate was phenomonal (2.13 per nine innings). He’s only 20 years old and he’ll get the bump up to High A and his development is worth watching.
Brett Sinkbeil comes in at number two. He dominated in the New York-Penn League but then after getting bumped up to Low A, he struggled. Not too shabby for a guy who was just drafted in 2006. BA expects him to start at Low A again, which makes sense for this 22 year old.
Gaby Hernandez came in at number three. He has some nice strikeout numbers (115 in 120 innings) and at a league that was probably over his head. He won’t turn 21 until May and he’ll be pushed into a tough Double A league that should definitely the youngster. This is a guy you should start hearing about early next year if he continues to progress.
Sean West rounds out those four pitchers and he’s the lone left hander of the group. He had a good but not great season at Low A but he’s only 20 as well. Man, even if two of these guys pan out, the Marlins could have a top notch rotation in four or five years.
What about position players? Gaby Sanchez comes in at number five. Sanchez bounced around and topped out at High A, which is probably where he’ll start in 2007. Most impressive about Sanchez is his patience at the plate. He walked 56 times versus 32 strikeouts in three different stops in 2006.
This is a solid crop of prospects. Most won’t make it to the big league club for a couple of years at least, but help is on the way.
Welcome, my name is Timorthy Millen and I’ll be blogging about the Florida Marlins for the Baseball Historians network of sites. In a lot of ways, I have an easier time then my blogging counterpart at say, the Yankees website because the Marlins have only been around for what will be fifteen years this coming season but this is also a team that’s won two World Series. So while they don’t have a long history, there’s still some there.
So for now, we’ll take a look at that first Marlins team in 1993. Most of those players aren’t playing anymore but I think that’d be a nice start to take a look at this teams roots.
In the meantime, I’ll also be covering the present day Marlins. We’ll look at developments in stadium department as well as taking a look at some prospects and covering any last minute hot stove news. And once spring rolls around, I hope you’ll stop by for my coverage of the 2007 Marlins. If you have any questions and comments, be sure to leave a comment or drop me an email.
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