21 yr old OF Mike Stanton, who hit a home run every 16.3 at bats in his rookie season, homered in his 1st at bat Sunday(February 27th) but also came up lame, injuring his right quad. While running out a grounder, his leg gave out as he was half way down the line. Stanton left on a golf cart and the club will know more in the next 24-48 hours but he is expected to miss a couple of spring games minimum.
Veteran RH SP Javier Vasquez was very impressive Sunday in his two innings, needing 21 pitches(15 strikes) to handle the University of Miami batters. A strong bounce back candidate(10-10,5.32 ERA in 31 games for the Yankees in 2010) who usually pitches well in the national league, Vasquez was so strong that he threw an additional side session of 15 pitches before ending his day.
FANTASY TIP: If you are looking for value with this club, look towards the rotation. Vasquez, RHs Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco and Anibal Sanchez appear to be locks. A great low cost pick would be RH SP Chris Volstad, who went 8-1 with a 4.32 era in 13 starts post all star break. I also think this team will be decent so whoever wins the closer spot could be a cheap source for saves, so look at RHs Leo Nunez(30 saves in 2010) and Clay Hensley(7 saves, better season stats) hard.
C Chris Hatcher was a late season call up to the Florida Marlins after a season in both Double A and Triple A and is low on the clubs catching organizational depth chart. However the 25 year old showed a live arm in two mop up situations over the past two seasons(No runs allowed) in the minors and the team has given him an opportunity to convert himself into the a right handed reliever in the system. Love stories like this, almost 20 years ago, the Pittsburgh Pirates converted a struggling middle infielder into a pitcher. A Knuckleball pitcher. His name? Tim Wakefield, who is 3rd all time in wins for the Boston Red Sox. The two guys he trails? Roger Clemens and CY Young!
With the Marlins set to open a new ball park in 2012, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and team president David Samson installed the first seat in the new stadium(Yet to be named) Tuesday February 15th. SS Hanley Ramirez took some batting practice in his new home, that is almost 75-80% complete. Fellow Marlins OF-IF Chris Coghlan, C John Buck, 1B Gaby Sanchez as well as OFs Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison also participated. Word has the park being pitcher friendly but the hitters claimed the ball carried too. Should be fun in 2012 and beyond AND much needed for an organization that has had ZERO homefield advantage since inception.
After the offseason trade of slugging 2b Dab Uggla, the Marlins created a void in the infield particularily offensively. Word came out earlier this week that Texas Rangers star INF Michael Young, a man without a position due to the recent signing of free agent 3B Adrian Beltre, has demanded a trade. Young, one of the more underrated players in the game, can play 2B,SS and 3B, moving when requested by the organization until the Beltre move took him from the field and into the DH slot. The Marlins have an elite SS(Hanley Ramirez) but have questions and/or competition at 3B and 2B. 2010 all star and Uggla trade piece Omar Infante will man one spot for sure but why rush a Matt Dominguez or another youngster? I say call Texas and explore what it would cost to add Young, a pro’s pro who would help immensely the kids on and off the field. Even if this move does not work out for the Marlins, they could trade him mid season and acquire assets in return, ala the Texas Rangers and Atlanta Braves with Mark Teixeira in 2007-2008.
With two separate deals this offseason, the Florida Marlins created openings for two of their top homegrown talents, 2009 NL rookie of the year Chris Coghlan and top prospect Matt Dominguez. After 2B Dan Uggla was traded(New 2B Omar Infante and RP Michael Dunn the top names returning in the move) , speculation has run rampant Dominguez would be brought up to add pop to the infield. However, the team has veteran Wes Helms as well as Coghlan as options. The talented third bagger could use some more time in the minors and he ismore likely open the 2011 in Triple A New Orleans. Dominguez has been compared favorably to ex Marlins star 3B Mike Lowell. Coghlan not only benefited from the Uggla trade but the trade with San Diego as well. Everday CF Cameron Maybin was packaged for 2 relievers in November and the club plans to start Coghlan in CF. After struggling early in 2010 in LF, the 2009 ROY improved defensively and made several hi-light film catches. Look for the popular 3rd year man to be between Logan Morrison(LF) and future home run king Mike Stanton(RF) if all breaks right in 2011.
Dominguez scouting grades(Per Baseballamerica,grades on 20-80)
The Florida Marlins signed two veterans to minor league contracts today that could help the major league team in 2011, both INF Greg Dobbs, ex of the Philadelphia Phillies, and RHP Shawn Hill could see time in Miami this year. Dobbs, struggled mightly in 2010 off the bench(6 for 49) but his lefty bat and track record(.355 with 2 HRs and 16 RBI as a pinch hitter in 2008) make him an attractive bench platoon option with righty Wes Helms, both can play either first or 3rd base. Hill was 1-2 with a 2.61 ERA in 4 starts for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2010, his career totals 9-18, 4.74 in 44 starts. Hill made his ML debut in 2004 Montreal Expos, he later pitched for the Washington Nationals and San Diego Padres before the Blue Jays.
Florida also reached agreement with all of their arbitration eligibles before scheduled hearings, the first time since 2008 that the Marlins did not have a single case reach that point. Two key relievers RHs Leo Nunez(3.65 million) and Clay Hensley(1.4 mill) signed and will compete for the closers role in camp. While RHSP Anibal Sanchez(3.7 million) and RH Edward Mujica(800,000) also came to terms. All 4 of these pitchers should have major roles with all except Sanchez hoping to strengthen a disastrous 2010 bullpen.
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