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Marlins Draft Redux: 2004

Ramp

Muckdog
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With the draft quickly approaching, I figured I would take the time to look at the Marlins first 5 rounds of each draft since 2000. We will focus on what the Marlins saw in these kids, what they have done, and where they are currently. We will also look at which players were taken after them who are currently in the major leagues.

Draft Redux 2000

Draft Redux 2001

Draft Redux 2002

Draft Redux 2003

Coming off their second World Series title, the Marlins entered the 2004 draft with the 27th overall pick. They decided to go with a lefthander out of the University of Alabama named Taylor Tankersley. The Marlins signed him to a $1.3mil bonus. Tank's best pitch when he entered the draft was his plus slider. He had a strong 90-93mph fastball and he showed that he was not afraid to pitch inside. Throwing from a low 3/4 arm slot, he was extremely tough on lefties. In his final year at Alabama, Tankersley went 2-5 with a 2.00era in 67.2 innings. He had a 1.12whip and was striking out more than a batter per inning. The Marlins loved his versatility for in college he started and relieved; whatever was needed. He really needed to work on his changeup to make his fastball become overpowering. A few other issues with Taylor were his weight and the fact that he wears his emotions on his sleeve but the Marlins felt they could keep both under control. With his college background, good pedigree (father-nuclear physicist, grandfather-minor league pitcher), and his maturity, the Marlins were confident that he would move quickly through their minor league system. After being drafted, the Marlins threw Tank right into the fire in Jamestown. More mature than many of the players there, he took advantage and went 1-1 with a 3.37era and a 1.09whip in 26.2 innings. In 2005, he made 12 starts in Greensboro but got knocked around. In 66 innings he went 2-7 with a 5.18era and 1.50whip. He was giving up more than 10 hits per 9. Even though he didn't deserve it, the Marlins promoted him to high-A Jupiter in hopes that a change of scenery would give him a boost. It turns out they know what they are doing, for he made 4 starts in Jupiter and went 1-0 with a 3.38era and a 1.25whip. That would be the last time he would start a game. The following season he spent 28.1 innings in Carolina and was awesome out of the bullpen. He went 4-1 with a 0.95era, 0.88whip and was striking out 12.71 per 9 innings. That's when the Marlins made the call and Tank made his major league debut. He finished off 2006 in South Florida with a 2-1 record, 2.85era, 1.44whip and 10k/9 in 41 innings. Word has been thrown around that Taylor is a potential closer for this franchise but right now he is turning into a pretty darn good setup man. Another pretty good bullpen arm, Oakland's Huston Street was taken 13 picks after Tankersley.

The Marlins went with another college arm in the 2nd round. Jason Vargas was the 68th overall player taken but some didn't know if he would be a pitcher or a hitter. In his final season at Long Beach State, he went 7-6 with a 4.14era and had a 1.16whip. At the plate he hit .354/.469/.531 with 5 homeruns in 209 at bats. The Marlins decided to make him a pitcher and signed him to a $525,000 bonus. Vargas showed good arm strength and featured a 91-94mph fastball. He had a tight slider which was his 'money' pitch vs lefties and a changeup that had the potential to be a plus pitch. Jason had good mechanics and he worked quickly as well. Like Tankersley, the Marlins thought weight might be a concern but it never was. Vargas had a tremendous debut split between Jamestown and Greensboro as a 21 year old. He went a combined 5-2 with a 2.12era, and a 1.01whip in 60.1 innings. Never much of a strikeout pitcher, he was striking out nearly a batter an inning. In 2005 he went through 3 stops before making his major league debut with the Marlins. He torched Greensboro with a 0.80era and 0.77whip in 33.2 innings. Then came Jupiter where he went 2-3 with a 3.42era, 1.10whip in 55.1 innings. After being promoted to Carolina he had a 2.84era in 19 innings to go with a 1.05whip. He then held his own up in the majors. Jason would go 5-5 with a 4.03era, 1.38whip in 73.2 innings. Vargas came into the 2006 season as the Marlins #2 pitcher but he wouldn't stay long with the big club. He lost all semblance of where the strikezone was and in 43 innings, he was walking 6.28 per 9. His era of 7.33 and whip of 1.86 were a major cause for concern. He spent the rest of the year down in Albuquerque to work on his command and although the walks were cut in half, his whip was still 1.83 and his era was at 7.43. In the winter of 2006, Jason Vargas (along with Adam Bostick) was traded to the New York Mets in exchange for Henry Owens and Matt Lindstrom. White Sox pitching prospect Ray Liotta was there when the Marlins took Vargas.

In the third round, the Marlins selected outfielder Greg Burns out of Walnut HS, in Walnut California. He was signed for $395,000 and was quickly compared to a young Kenny Lofton but with more gap power. His speed was graded an 80 on the 20/80 scale by all scouts as he can get from home to first in a lighting fast 3.9 seconds. Unfortunately for someone so fast, he isn?t the best base stealer yet. In his career he has stolen 44 bases but has been caught 31 times. It?s just another area he needs to work on, but with his speed he should be stealing bases at a much higher percentage. He needs to impove his jumps off first base, for that is really where the base is stolen. At the plate, Burns has a real clean swing. He has very strong hands which tends to make some scouts believe he could develop into a 10-15 homerun guy down the line. Just out of his teens, he still has a projectable body and should gain some more strength to all fields as he matures. He is a very coachable player that just wants to keep getting better. It was suggested by Assistant GM Jim Fleming, for Greg to bring a 4?4 piece of wood with him into the batting cages to properly align his feet. He did that no questions asked. Not coincidentally, his numbers began to improve late in the year. In August, he hit .299/.379/.468 which helped him end his 2006 season on a high note. Definitely a positive in his career so far is his willingness to take a walk. Plate discipline is so hard to teach, and while he strikes out alot, him being able to take a walk certainly improves his prospect stock. In the field, Burns is a plus defender out in centerfield. We all know about his tremendous speed, and because of that he has great range as well. Add in his good instincts, and he can get to any ball that stays in the park. He has a strong and accurate arm, even though he has a bit of a funky delivery. Greg is a very coachable player with a ton of confidence to go with his quiet demeanor. Right now Greg is in Greensboro and having a solid season for the Grasshoppers. Obviously the jury is still out in him. Rockies catcher Chris Ianetta was available when we drafted Burns.

The Marlins went with another uber athlete in the 4th round. This time with outfielder Jamar Walton out of Greensville County HS, in Emporia Virginia. He was all set to play at Virginia Commonwealth before the Marlins swooped in and signed him to a $245,000 bonus. Because of rumors that the Cubs and Phillies were hot in his trail, the Marlins took Walton a round or two earlier than they would have wanted to. He was as raw as could be and didn't have much plate discipline. He swung at just about everything but because of amazing hand-eye coordination, he made contact much of the time. Walton was going to be a project for the Marlins as they were going to have to overhaul his entire swing because he tended to drop his head when he swings. Scouts likened his future maturity to that of Cliff Floyd, but possibly even more muscular. Like at the plate, he was an adventure in the outfield too. He showed a great arm but wasn't very accurate and he needed to take better routes to the ball as well. His first few seasons in the Gulf Coast League and with Jamestown were very underwhelming. He hit a combined .225/.290/.294 with just 3 homeruns. Then in 2006, he missed nearly the entire season after he broke his hamate bone. He isn't considered a top 30 prospect anymore, but at age 20, he has plenty of time to change that. There wasn't much in that 4th round anyway, besides Reds ss prospect Paul Janish.

The Marlins decided to go with a catcher in the 5th round and selected Jason Vargas' teammate out of Long Beach State, Brad Davis. He was signed to a $165,000 bonus. Known more for his glove than his bat coming out of Dirtbag U, Brad Davis has done nothing to really change that image. Still a really good defensive catcher, Davis has struggled his last few years in the minors. He strikes out way too much and although his eye has improved, it still is not good enough to compensate for the amount of strikeouts. Another problem is the fact that he is an ?empty? hitter, mostly relying on his batting average. Even in college, he never had more than 23 extra base hits in a season, with his career high in homeruns(college and the minors) being just 4. His defense is very good, and he has a strong and accurate throwing arm. It will be his offense that ultimately decides if he can make it to the big show or not. He also has healthy concerns, being hurt in each of his first three professional season. Brad was in camp this past spring and is currently in AA Carolina. There doesn't appear to be room for him in the Marlins future unless something drastic happens with his hitting. Braves 3b prospect Van Pope was available when we chose Davis with the 158th pick.

A pretty solid draft with Tankersley and Vargas flying through the system. Greg Burns may turn into a legit prospects, while Jamar Walton is still as raw as can be. In the 6th round the Marlins took Brad McCann who is having a bounce back season in Jupiter. In round 10 came outfielder Brett Carroll, round 22 reliever Chris Mobley, and round 34 reliever Jarrett Santos.
 

FutureGM

Muckdog
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Rockies catcher Chris Ianetta was available when we drafted Burns.
Ouch. We could have really used him.
 

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