May 2010

Where would Stanton hit?

At Double-A Jacksonville, Mike Stanton is tearing it up batting third in the Suns’ lineup.

The 20-year-old power-hitting prospect is one of the top Minor League stories of the season. The right fielder has 15 home runs and 35 RBIs in 29 games.

stantonJax12.jpgThe earliest he is expected to arrive at the big league level is late May or early June, or basically shortly after players no longer qualify as a Super Two in the arbitration process.

As a big leaguer, Stanton projects to hit cleanup, but probably not from Day One.

Whenever the 6-foot-5, 230-pounder is promoted to the big leagues, manager Fredi Gonzalez will figure out where he will hit in the order.

Managers typically are careful with young players, not putting them in prime spots — like third or fourth — initially. When Miguel Cabrera was promoted from Double-A to the big leagues at age 20, he batted eighth (behind Alex Gonzalez) in his first game. Eventually, Cabrera moved up to seventh, and by the World Series he was hitting cleanup.

A logical spot for Stanton to open in would be sixth, behind Dan Uggla. That would create a scenario where Hanley Ramirez bats third, Jorge Cantu fourth, Uggla fifth and then Stanton.

A bolder move could be to hit Stanton second, ahead of Ramirez. The Marlins top of the order hasn’t been consistent. While Stanton doesn’t profile to hit second long-term it could be something to consider, even though he will strike out a bit.

But being ahead of Ramirez may create more pitches for Stanton to hit. And if he walks, he wouldn’t be a base clogger, because he runs pretty well.

Stanton has a .493 on-base percentage right now at Double-A in 107 at-bats. He has walked 29 times with 32 strikeouts.

If Stanton starts off hitting sixth, he certainly would provide power in the lower half of the lineup.

What the Marlins would like to see foremost is Stanton continue to show he is big league ready. So when he does arrive, Gonzalez will have the luxury of simply having him in the lineup — no matter where he winds up hitting.

– Joe Frisaro

 

Preserving Hanley on bases

The days of Hanley Ramirez swiping 40 to 50 bases a season may be over.

Not that you rule out anything regarding Ramirez, one of the most gifted athletes in the game. But the 26-year-old is now entrenched as a No. 3 hitter, and his body is bigger and stronger than his first few big league seasons.

Ramirez has two stolen bases this season, and he’s been caught twice. He swiped a bag on Opening Day, and added his last one on April 17 at Philadelphia.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez said he would rather Ramirez win another batting title and again drive in 100 runs rather than steal more bases.

Since his third season, Ramirez has seen a decline in his steals. He swiped 51 in each of his first two years. Then in 2008, he had 35. All those came when he was primarily a leadoff batter.

Ramirez slid to No. 3 in the order a year ago, and had 27.

“I’m not going to say no, but it’s probably less likely that he won’t get back to the 50s,” Gonzalez said.

A more realistic number could be 25 to 30.

The Marlins would prefer Ramirez steal less bases, and stay healthy. Ramirez has dealt with some hamstring issues, and he is preserving himself.  

“That takes a toll on the body,” Gonzalez said. “He’s not built for that any more.”

– Joe Frisaro

 

Marlins lineup vs. Cubs

Cameron Maybin is back in the lineup for the first time since last Saturday.

The Marlins beat the Cubs, 4-2, on Monday and on Tuesday they are sending Ricky Nolasco to the mound. Randy Wells is getting the nod for Chicago.

 

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1) Chris Coghlan, LF

2) Gaby Sanchez, 1B

3) Hanley Ramirez, SS

4) Jorge Cantu, 3B

5) Dan Uggla, 2B

6) John Baker, C

7) Cody Ross, RF

8) Cameron Maybin, CF

9) Ricky Nolasco, P

 

 

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1) Kosuke Fukudome, RF

2) Ryan Theriot, 2B

3) Marlon Byrd, CF

4) Derrek Lee, 1B

5) Aramis Ramirez, 3B

6) Alfonso Soriano, LF

7) Geovany Soto, C

8) Starlin Castro, SS

9) Randy Wells, P

 

– Joe Frisaro

 

Marlins-Cubs lineups

After dropping two straight at Washington, the Marlins are set to open a three-game series with the Cubs on Monday night at Wrigley Field.

The weather has been pretty cold in Chicago, and the Marlins are sending Nate Robertson to the mound.

Chris Coghlan remains in the leadoff spot after going 3-for-4 on Sunday.

 

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1) Chris Coghlan, LF

2) Gaby Sanchez, 1B

3) Hanley Ramirez, SS

4) Jorge Cantu, 3B

5) Dan Uggla, 2B

6) Ronny Paulino, C

7) Cody Ross, CF

8) Brett Carroll, RF

9) Nate Robertson, P

 

 

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1) Ryan Theriot, 2B

2) Marlon Byrd, CF

3) Derrek Lee, 1B

4) Xavier Nady, RF

5) Aramis Ramirez, 3B

6) Alfonso Soriano, LF

7) Geovany Sota, C

8) Starlin Castro, SS

9) Tid Lilly, P

 

– Joe Frisaro

 

Coghlan confident numbers will rise

Eclipsing the “Mendoza Line” is only the first step for Chris Coghlan. By no means is it his last step.

For that matter, the level-headed Marlins outfielder isn’t paying much attention right now to the fact he now is batting better than .200. After going 3-for-4 at Washington on Sunday, Coghlan raised his average to .206. It was the first time he finished a game batting higher than .200 since April 10, which was the fourth game of the season.

cogzchris1.jpgAfter batting .321 as a rookie in 2009, Coghlan’s aim at the plate is much higher.

“Hitting .210 or .190 makes no difference to me,” Coghlan said. “I don’t feel any more pumped up or any more down on either one. It’s not where I’m going to be at the end of the year.”

History certainly tells us that Coghlan should finish up in the neighborhood of .300. At every level, he has hit for a high average.

In 1,115 Minor League at-bats, he was a career .298 hitter. The only time in his developmental pro years that he didn’t sniff .300 at a Minor League level was when he hit .200 in 34 games with Class A Jupiter. That same season, he batted .320 at low Class A Greensboro.

Of late, even though Coghlan didn’t have much success in terms of logging hits, he has hit the ball well for a while. On Saturday at Washington, he was robbed of an extra-base hit on a diving catch in right field by Washington’s Willie Harris.

On Sunday, he would have had a fourth hit, if not a quick glove reaction by Nationals’ pitcher Livan Hernandez, who deflected a grounder that went to second, and Coghlan was thrown out.

“I feel the same that I did the last couple of weeks, except some of the balls [on Sunday] went through,” Coghlan said. “You can’t measure your performance all the time on how many hits you get, otherwise you’re going to go crazy with the failures. You fail so many times. I don’t go up there thinking, ‘Oh, if I get two hits, good. If I don’t get two hits, [oh no]. If I did that, I’d go crazy over 600 at-bats.”

– Joe Frisaro

 

State of the Union speech

In a stadium that you can view the Capitol building from the upper deck, it was a fitting setting for a “State of the Union” speech.

Well, manager Fredi Gonzalez noted it was a “State of the Union” address. Basically, it was the “State of the Marlins” at this point.

Before Friday’s 4-2 win over the Nationals, the Marlins had a team meeting. Gonzalez’s message to the team was to not get too down. Florida was coming off a 3-6 homestand, including being swept by the Giants.

“He was just encouraging us and telling us, it’s not that bad,” outfielder Cody Ross said. “We were two games under. We haven’t played up to our potential. We weren’t clicking on all cylinders. We had to stay positive, and not to get down.

“Everyone knows we’ve got a tough division, and we’re playing a division team. We can make up ground.”

Gonzalez touched on not getting too emotional.

“He said, let’s play the game we know how, and try to stay away from the errors,” Ross said.

As fate had it, the Marlins snapped their losing streak with a win. Chris Volstad tossed seven strong innings.

So was it the speech that motivated the Marlins?

“I think you are making way too much of the address,” Gonzalez said. “Give the credit to Volstad. It’s not easy to face a team in back-to-back starts, and be successful like he was.”

– Joe Frisaro

 

Marlins-Nationals lineups Saturday

The Marlins and Nationals play their second of three games on Saturday afternoon at Nationals Park. Florida won 4-2 on Friday.

Josh Johnson gets the start for the Marlins, while the Nationals are going with lefty Matt Chico.

Before the game, the Marlins flipped Brett Carroll and Cody Ross in the field, not in the order. Carroll is playing right field to better take advantage of his strong arm. Ross is making his first start of the season in left field. 

 

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1) Cameron Maybin, CF

2) Gaby Sanchez, 1B

3) Hanley Ramirez, SS

4) Jorge Cantu, 3B

5) Dan Uggla, 2B

6) Ronny Paulino, C

7) Cody Ross, LF

8) Brett Carroll, RF

9) Josh Johnson, P

 

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1) Cristian Guzman, SS

2) Adam Kennedy, 2B

3) Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

4) Adam Dunn, 1B

5) Josh Willingham, LF

6) Willie Harris, RF

7) Roger Bernadina, CF

8) Wil Nieves, C

9) Matt Chico, P

 

– Joe Frisaro

 

Marlins-Nationals lineups Friday

The Marlins and Nationals open a three-game set at Nationals Park on Friday with Chris Volstad getting the starting nod. Volstad tossed a four-hit, complete game against Washington on May 2.

Craig Stammen starts for Washington.

 

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1) Chris Coghlan, LF

2) Gaby Sanchez, 1B

3) Hanley Ramirez, SS

4) Jorge Cantu, 3B

5) Dan Uggla, 2B

6) John Baker, C

7) Cody Ross, CF

8) Brett Carroll, RF

9) Chris Volstad, P

 

– Joe Frisaro

 

Petersen to get call, Lamb designated

After Thursday night’s loss to the Giants, the Marlins announced they are designating Mike Lamb for assignment, and selecting the contract of Bryan Petersen.

Petersen, who was at Triple-A New Orleans, was added to the 40-man roster, in place of Lamb, who had been the lefty bat off the bench.

A left-handed hitter, Petersen enjoyed a strong Spring Training, and he is an option to bat at the top of the order.

The announcement was made on Thursday, and Petersen will join the team in Washington on Friday.

With Cameron Maybin struggling, Cody Ross may end up playing more in center field, with Petersen being an option to play right field.

Now that Lamb has been designated, Doug Mientkiewicz is someone to watch at Triple-A New Orleans. Mientkiewicz, signed recently to a Minor League deal, becomes an option to join the team as the left-handed bat off the bench.

Promoting Petersen also creates an opening for John Raynor to see playing time at New Orleans.

The surplus of outfielders the Marlins have in the organization increases the likelihood of a June trade for relief help. Early June remains a realistic target date to promote Mike Stanton.

– Joe Frisaro

 

Coghlan back leading off

With Cameron Maybin struggling to put the ball in play, the Marlins have flipped Chris Coghlan back to the leadoff spot. Coghlan, too, has has a rough year. But he has enjoyed his greatest success since joining the big leagues, and he is back in the No. 1 spot on Thursday in the series finale with the Giants.

1) Chris Coghlan, LF

2) Gaby Sanchez, 1B

3) Hanley Ramirez, SS

4) Jorge Cantu, 3B

5) Dan Uggla, 2B

6) John Baker, C

7) Cody Ross, CF

8) Brett Carroll, RF

9) Ricky Nolasco, P

– Joe Frisaro

 

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