Results tagged ‘ Miguel Cabrera ’

Will Hanley someday be HOF worthy?

Hall of Fame talk is dominating the baseball world, as the class of 2011 will be announced on Wednesday afternoon. Much of the attention is being centered on Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar, two favorites to be headed to Cooperstown.

A year ago, Florida celebrated the induction of Andre Dawson, a special assistant in the organization. As a player, Hawk retired as a Marlin, but he built his Hall of Fame credentials with the Montreal Expos and Chicago Cubs.

Throughout their history, the Marlins have had plenty of talented players. A couple of former players who could be Cooperstown bound are Gary Sheffield and Miguel Cabrera.

On the Marlins’ current roster, the player with the best chance of being a Hall of Famer, of course, is Hanley Ramirez.

The 27-year-old shortstop has been one of the most dominant players in the game since he broke in as a rookie in 2006. In his first five big league seasons, Ramirez has already been the NL Rookie of the Year, an NL batting champion, a three-time All-Star starter, and a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner.

If his next five years track like his first five, Ramirez should be well on his way to building Hall of Fame numbers. Since 2006, he paces all MLB shortstops in home runs (124) and runs scored (562). His .313 career batting average is second only to Derek Jeter’s .314, and his .385 on-base percentage tops his position, as does his .521 slugging percentage.

Ramirez has 934 hits, which is second most among shortstops, and he’s stolen 196 bases. The only shortstop with more is Jose Reyes (239).

About to enter the prime of his career, the Marlins are wondering if the best is yet to come from Ramirez.

— Joe Frisaro



Hanley celebrates 27th birthday

Thursday is a big day for Hanley Ramirez. The three-time All-Star is celebrating his 27th birthday, which for him is another reason to celebrate during the holiday season.

hanley_92.jpgAlready one of the top players in the game, the Marlins shortstop is also moving closer to reaching the prime of his career. If he keeps continuing at the pace he’s been at in his first five big league seasons, he will be well on his way to posting Hall of Fame credentials.

What Ramirez has done from ages 22 to 26 certainly is impressive, and you wonder just how much more he will accomplish.

He’s already been the NL Rookie of the Year, a Silver Slugger Award winner, a batting champion, an All-Star and a second-place finisher in the MVP voting.

Since 2006, his rookie year, he tops all players in the game in runs scored with 562, and he’s sixth overall in total hits (934).

Among shortstops, his 124 home runs are the most of any player at his position. And his .313 batting is second only to Derek Jeter’s .314 average in the same time frame.

Across the board, Ramirez’s overall numbers have made him the most impressive player — at least offensively — at his position since he broke in as a rookie. His on-base percentage (.385) ranks first among shortstops in the past five years. He is first in home runs with 124, and he paces his position in doubles with 198.

Ramirez’s 196 stolen bases are second most of any shortstop since his rookie season. Only Jose Reyes, with 239, has more.

In Marlins’ history, Ramirez will enter 2011 within striking distance of Dan Uggla’s franchise home run mark of 154. With 30, he will pull even.

Ramirez currently ranks fourth in Marlins’ history in hits, fifth in home runs, second in runs scored, second in doubles, and tied for first in career batting average. Ramirez and Miguel Cabrera each have a .313 average as Marlins.

By his own high standards, Ramirez is coming off a disappointing season, where he batted .300 with 21 homers and 76 RBIs.

At age 27, Ramirez will be looking for a bounce back year in 2011.

— Joe Frisaro

Miller welcomes fresh start with Boston

They joined the Marlins together, and by chance they exited one day apart from each other.

In separate moves last weekend, the Marlins traded Andrew Miller to the Red Sox, and followed that up by dealing Cameron Maybin to the Padres on Saturday.

The two deals brought three big league-ready relievers to the Marlins.

But the trade also meant the Marlins are moving past their blockbuster 2007 trade when they sent Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to Detroit. Miller and Maybin were the two centerpiece players Florida received in return.

Miller and Maybin are both out of options, so the Marlins would have had to keep them on their 25-man roster or else risk losing them. That fact also is a big reason why both were dealt.

“I kind of knew something would happen with me,” Miller said in a phone interview. “I kind of knew.”

Despite things not working out in Florida, Miller (24) and Maybin (23) are still young enough to develop into solid big leaguers. It’s just a matter of time, Miller believes.

“I think it’s unfortunate,” Miller said of the deal not working out for Florida. “I still believe that one day Cam is going to be an unbelievable player. I believe for us, the time hasn’t come yet, and it’s going to click one of these days for us. We’ve seen flashes from Cameron and I believe I’ve shown them before.

“For both of us, when we find that consistency and put it together, it came happen for us. There is no doubt in my mind that it will. Unfortunately, that time didn’t come with the Marlins. But they certainly gave us some opportunities. I can say nothing bad about them.”

While Miller has been primarily a starter, the 6-foot-7 lefty expects to be competing for a bullpen job with Boston.

“I know what the situation is. I’m out of options,” he said. “Going to a club like that, I’m assuming I’m going to have to battle and to put myself on that team with just Spring Training. That’s basically what I have to look forward to. I think it’s a good opportunity whenever somebody makes a trade for you.

“My assumption is what they’re going to ask of me is relieving. If that is something to find my way onto a Major League team, then that’s certainly what I’m going to go after. Nothing is ever set in stone. If I’m relieving and doing well, and something pops up and I’m starting, then I’d think there is an advantage that I’ve started in the past. That’s really not my concern. My concern is doing everything I can to find myself on a 25-man roster.”

— Joe Frisaro

Uggla on brink of 100 RBIs

Dan Uggla is on the brink of joining an exclusive Marlins’ club.

With his next RBI, he will place himself on the franchise’s 100 RBI list. In their history, the benchmark has been reached 14 times.

Uggla1z2.jpgUggla has been stuck on 99 since his run-scoring single in the seventh inning last Thursday at Milwaukee. He has gone four games without driving in a run heading into Tuesday night at Atlanta.

The 99 RBIs by Uggla are the most of any National League second baseman. Robinson Cano of the Yankees has 105, which tops all MLB second basemen.

Uggla is having a career season across the board, and he’s already topped his season best for RBIs. Previously it was 92 in 2008.

Preston Wilson holds the franchise record with 121, posted in 2000. A year ago, Hanley Ramirez (106) and Jorge Cantu (100) reached the century mark.

Florida’s season RBI leaders:

* Preston Wilson, 121, 2000
* Gary Sheffield, 120, 1996
* Miguel Cabrera, 119, 2007
* Miguel Cabrera, 116, 2005
* Moises Alou, 115, 1997
* Carlos Delgado, 115, 2005
* Miguel Cabrera, 114, 2006
* Miguel Cabrera, 112, 2004
* Hanley Ramirez, 106, 2009
* Jeff Conine, 105, 1995
* Mike Lowell, 105, 2003
* Cliff Floyd, 103, 2001
* Jorge Cantu, 100, 2009
* Mike Lowell, 100, 2001
* Dan Uggla, 99, 2010

— Joe Frisaro

Pujols praises Hanley

From the best, Hanley Ramirez is said to have the talent to eventually be the best.

But don’t take our word. You may want to believe Albert Pujols.

The Cardinals slugger, arguably the top player of his era, believes the Marlins shortstop has the ability to carve out his own place in baseball history.

pujols3a1.jpgIn an interview with Josh Friedman of 790 The Ticket, the Marlins flagship radio station, Pujols sang the praises of Ramirez.

“When it’s all said and done, he has the talent to be the best player in this game,” Pujols told Friedman. “To ever play this game, because of the ability that he has. That he doesn’t even know yet. He’s just a young, talented guy who plays the game.”

Pujols is offering similiar advice to Ramirez as he did for Miguel Cabrera during his days with the Marlins.

“The thing I always try to remember is no matter how much money that you make, always respect the game,” Pujols said. “Play the game the right way, and just never change. Be the same kid. You can’t let this game change you. Stuff like that.”

In Spring Training in 2009, when Ramirez was switched to batting third, Pujols offered some tips on his approach with runners in scoring position.

“Hitting wise, I always try to tell him different things that I do,” the Cardinals All-Star said. “The same way I did to Miguel Cabrera about five or six years ago before he went to Detroit. That’s the way I am. I try to help when guys approach me and want to talk baseball, hitting. I’m open because I believe the Lord has blessed me and I want to be able to make a difference to players, no matter what uniform they wear.”

After Ramirez signed his six-year, $70 million contract in 2008, Pujols talked to the shortstop about humility.

“He has matured a little better than he was,” Pujols said. “Now he is kind of realizing and learning from the mistakes he has made. That’s how you get better in this game.”

— Joe Frisaro

Uggla climbing up HR ladder

Dan Uggla homered in the third inning on Sunday, giving him 13 on the season. It was his first home run since May 23 at the White Sox.

Now with 134 career home runs, Uggla is closing in on Miguel Cabrera (138) for second place all-time in Marlins history. The franchise leader is Mike Lowell (143).

As part of a lineup shuffle, Uggla was batting third for the second time this season. In his other appearance, he also homered. Those are the only two home runs he’s ever hit batting third.

Nine of Uggla’s homers this year have come when he’s hit fifth. He has two from the No. 4 spot.

The only two spots in the order where Uggla has never hit home runs at are No. 1 and No. 9. He has 61 career shots while batting second, where he primarily hit his first three seasons. He has 45 total hitting fifth, and 19th sixth.

— Joe Frisaro


Uggla ties D-Lee

With two swings of the bat on Friday night, Dan Uggla gained a piece of Marlins history.

Batting cleanup with Jorge Cantu getting the night off, Uggla connected on two home runs off Mets lefty Oliver Perez.

uggla1b.jpgNow with 129 for his career, Uggla tied Derrek Lee for third place all-time in Marlins history.

The Marlins went on to win, 7-2, and Uggla finished with four RBIs.

Prior to Friday, Uggla had never homered from the cleanup spot. Not that he had a lot of opportunity there. He entered the game with 11 at-bats while hitting fourth. Now, he has two homers in the prime power spot. The two-time All-Star second baseman has hit primarily fifth all season.

Uggla has 61 career homers while batting No. 2, where he hit first few seasons. In his first two years, Uggla primary batted between Hanley Ramirez, who led off back then, and Miguel Cabrera.

The past few years he has batted mostly in the fifth spot, where he has 42 career homers.

Friday marked the 10th time in his career that Uggla has hit two homers in the game. He last did it on June 20, 2008 at Oakland.

Marlins All-Time HR leaders:

Mike Lowell 143

Miguel Cabrera 138

Dan Uggla 129

Derrek Lee 129

Jeff Conine 120

— Joe Frisaro

(Photo courtesy of Kelly Gavin/Florida Marlins) 



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


Stanton in mix to make roster

Production may overtake patience when it comes to deciding if Mike Stanton is big league ready.

The way the Marlins 20-year-old outfield slugger is performing has the Marlins considering carrying him on their Opening Day roster.

stanton1z.JPG“Funnier things have happened,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “Obviously, we’ll sit down and make sure it’s the right move, the right decision. But for me to say, “absolutely not,” I can’t do that right now. I can’t say that he’s not going to make the team. I can’t absolutely tell you, 100 percent that he won’t. We’ll sit down and decide how that plays out.”

There is a temptation to promote Stanton right now, especially after the way he’s produced. On Wednesday against the Astros in Kissimmee, the right fielder crushed a two-run homer off Wandy Rodriguez and he added an RBI groundout. Overall, he is batting .333 with two home runs and five RBIs.

Another factor are some health issues in the outfield. Cameron Maybin and Cody Ross have been nursing left groin strains. If say, Maybin, is slowed down to the point where he isn’t going to be either ready — physically or performance wise — then Ross could move to center field. In that scenario, Stanton could factor in playing right field.

“There are a lot of guys who came up in the big leagues as 19 and 20 year olds who have had Hall of Fame careers,” Gonzalez said. “I’m not ruling that he’s not going to make the team.”

From an organizational standpoint, the plan entering Spring Training has been to start off Stanton in Double-A, where he had 299 at-bats in 2009.

For the Marlins to promote Stanton this quickly, a number of factors must be addressed.

“Generally players will tell you when they’re ready or not,” Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. “I know that he’s looked good. It’s hard not to love him, and look at what he can do in his future. But we’ve got to do what’s best for him. Is the breaking ball recognition and all the things that we want him to be confident in, are they ready to go?”

There are some health issues, too. In the Arizona Fall League, Stanton was sent home with lower back stiffness. And he’s had an issue with his left shoulder, which is repeatedly iced after games.

Then there is the fact that in 299 at-bats at Jacksonville last year he hit .231, although he had 16 homers and 53 RBIs.

“There are a couple of things with Mike. He didn’t dominate in Double-A,” Beinfest said. “Then he’s had a little bit of an injury issue. We wanted to make sure that he’s strong, and he feels good. The rigors in the Major Leagues are tough on these guys. He’s had some shoulder things off and on. We want to make sure that he’s healthy, first and foremost. We want to make sure that he’s comfortable.”

The Marlins have had a strong track record of promoting young players. In 2003, Dontrelle Willis was 21 when he was called up from Double-A, and Miguel Cabrera was 20 that same year.

“How did we know when Dontrelle and Miguel were ready?” Beinfest said. “Or Hanley [Ramirez] and those guys in ’06. Sometimes you are right, and sometimes you’re wrong. Generally, they’ll tell you.”

One thing that is clear is Stanton projects to be in the big leagues, at least some point in 2010.

“It’s all coming. He really wants to do well,” Beinfest said. “He’s a great kid. He’s a student of the game. He’s learning very quickly. His learning curve is shorter than the other guys. He’s getting it. There are a lot of positives. Let him keep playing, and we’ll see what happens.”

Would the Marlins rule out Stanton being on the Opening Day roster?

“We never do,” Beinfest said.

— Joe Frisaro



Gearing up for games

Game action will get underway at Roger Dean Stadium on Wednesday when the Marlins face the University of Miami.

On Monday, the Marlins got a feel for playing in the big stadium.

During morning workouts, players went through infield and outfield drills, as well as live batting practice.

anibal1a.JPGMostly the regulars were on the main field, while the rest of the 63 in big league camp were on the back fields of the complex in Jupiter, Fla.

On the big field, Anibal Sanchez threw live BP to a group that included Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla and Jorge Cantu.

Looking sharp, Sanchez threw about 30 pitches. One of them jammed Hanley, who stung his right hand on a swing. After shaking it off, Ramirez resumed hitting.

Hayden Penn and Brian Sanches also threw off the mound at Roger Dean Stadium. One close call occurred when Sanches accidentally brushed Cantu back. The two jokingly talked to each other, and later gave each other a big hug.

During practice, catcher John Baker was wearing a microphone for MLB Productions, which had a crew at the workouts. The footage being taken will air at a later date, with some of it mixed into MLB Network reports.

Being miked prompted Baker to receive his share of jokes from his teammates.

“I really do cherish the relationship I have with these players,” Baker said. “It’s a lot of fun to sometimes get a hard time because you’re wearing a microphone.”

When games begin, the Marlins plan on playing by N.L. rules. So they will let their pitchers hit in all Spring Training games except for when they are the visiting team in A.L. parks. Then they will use the designated hitter.

anibal2a.JPG“The pitchers will hit,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “We’re going to play National League rules. I’m just worrying about our own guys.”

If another team wants to use the DH at Roger Dean Stadium, Gonzalez says they can do so.

On Tuesday, the Marlins will have a lighter day of workouts before they start playing games on Wednesday.

“Let’s get the games going,” Gonzalez said. “After four or five days of pitchers batting practice, you’re looking forward to games. I think the hitters are itching to get going, and so are the pitchers.”

The University of Miami will be hitting with metal bats. Gonzalez said he’s sure some Marlins will want to hit with the metal bats in batting practice, to see how far the ball travels.

Ricky Nolasco will start for the Marlins against UM. Nolasco last faced hitters with metal bats when he was in high school.

When Miguel Cabrera was with the Marlins a few years ago, Gonzalez recalls the slugger taking BP with a metal bat. Some of the balls, traveled on top of the Marlins office building, located behind the left field wall.

— Joe Frisaro