A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP THE MARLINS
The Marlins still have a way to go, especially to compete with the Phillies. If everything goes right and they stay healthy, they have a shot at the wild card... . Josh Johnson has a tremendous slider and a natural cut fastball that doesn't lose any velocity. He was working on a changeup this spring too. But he needs to find ways to lower his pitch counts... . Javier Vazquez looks like the guy we saw with the Braves two years ago. His velocity is down, but the stuff is still there, and he's an innings eater... . Gaby Sanchez is going to be one of the better first basemen in the National League. He's a smart hitter—you have to change speeds on him. If you stay out over the plate too much with hard stuff, you're right in his power spot... . Someday Matt Dominguez will be a Gold Glover at third base, even if he starts the season in the minors. Omar Infante will be an upgrade defensively over Dan Uggla at second base, so he's an important acquisition. If Dominguez doesn't make it, Infante can play third as well... . Hanley Ramirez can still improve defensively. That's partly why they picked up Perry Hill, who's known as a good one-on-one fielding coach with players. When Ramirez is at the plate, you better be aware that he swings at the first pitch most of the time. I'm always amazed when guys give him good fastballs on the first pitch... . You have to live with Mike Stanton's strikeouts—he's paid to hit the ball out of the ballpark. He takes third strikes a lot because sometimes he thinks too much. When you're that strong you want to be striking out swinging—you don't have to get all of the ball to do damage.
April 3, 2011
WITH 2010 STATISTICS
MANAGER EDWIN RODRIGUEZ
2ND SEASON WITH MARLINS
The difference in the Marlins' 2010 slugging percentages against lefthanded (.444) and righthanded (.389) pitching, the second-biggest gap in the majors. Florida's righty-heavy lineup had the third-best slugging percentage against lefties but ranked 20th versus righties.
As spring training headed into its final week, Chris Coghlan had played just a handful of innings in his new position, centerfield, and none of them in a major league game. A decision—moving the 2009 Rookie of the Year over from left—that was curious on its face looked even more questionable with each passing day that Coghlan didn't show he could handle center. Coghlan began his career as an infielder and moved to leftfield on the day he reached the majors in 2009. Since then he has ranked among the worst defensive leftfielders in the game, and that was before he blew out his left knee last July. Having traded away Cameron Maybin, the Marlins have limited outfield options. However, it may be time to let Coghlan return to his original position, second base, with Omar Infante serving as the utilityman (he can help ease Coghlan back to second and prospect Matt Dominguez in at third). Emilio Bonifacio, who brings speed and strong range numbers in limited time, can roam centerfield. Asking Coghlan to do something he can't do risks both the Marlins' season and Coghlan's development.