MIAMI — It’s official. The Dodgers are headed back to Albuquerque to play at Isotopes Park, meaning the Marlins will need to find a new place to field its Triple-A affiliate. Nothing has been set yet, but the Marlins are expected to place their Triple-A team in New Orleans, where the Mets previously were — before they moved to Buffalo.
As for the Marlins’ Double A affiliate, it was announced on Thursday that they signed a two-year agreement to move to Jacksonville, Fla. — making it a lot easier to transport players. The new affiliate is the Jacksonville Suns who have been the home of the Dodgers since 2001.
With so many players being arbritration eligible for next season, the Marlins could field several new faces in Spring Training next year. We’ve already seen a little bit from Dallas McPherson, Gaby Sanchez and Cameron Maybin, but Chris Coghlan (.298, 74 RBIs and 34 stolen bases in 132 games for Double-A Carolina) figures to be a factor to start at second base if Dan Uggla isn’t brought back, and Mike Stanton (.293 with 39 home runs and 97 RBIs in 125 games for Class A Greensboro) has definitely opened up some eyes. Matt Dominguez (.296 with 18 home runs and 70 RBIs in 88 games for Class A Greensboro) is still a little young, but he had a great year, too.
– Alden Gonzalez, associate reporter/MLB.com
MIAMI — The Jamestown Jammers, short-season A ball affiliate of the Marlins, saw their quest for a New York-Penn League title come to an end on Sunday, when the Batavia Muckdogs (pictured) defeated them, 9-3, to sweep the best-of-three championship series and win it all.
Going into the series, the Jammers had won seven in a row — outscoring their opponents by a combined 61-24. But in Game 1 on Friday, Jamestown saw Jermaine Curtis hit a two-run homer with two outs in the top of the ninth to put Batavia up by one in the top of the ninth. In the bottom half, the Jammers had the tying run in scoring position with one out, but Brandon Turner struck out, and Justin Bass grounded out to end it.
After Saturday’s game was postponed, Sunday’s affair was never even close. The Muckdogs jumped out to a 4-0 lead, with all of those runs coming in the bottom of the third, and, after the Jammers made it a one-run game, Batavia had a five-run eighth inning to pull away.
While no Jammers are expected to be called up to the Marlins, four Mudcats were officially brought to the big club on Monday. Cameron Maybin, Ryan Tucker, Gaby Sanchez and Jesus Delgado will sport teal for the rest of this season. Because Sanchez isn’t on the 40-man roster, his contract had to be selected, and the Marlins will have to make a corresponding roster move on Tuesday. Read the full story here.
– Alden Gonzalez, associate reporter/MLB.com
Up 2-1 against the Mississippi Braves, Double-A Carolina dropped the final two games of the series in extra innings to come up short in the Southern League Finals.
But, in the end, the only thing they were close to was the celebration by the Mississippi Braves players near the mound at Trustmark Park (pictured), as they beat the Marlins’ Doube-A affiliate, 3-2, in 10 innings during the Southern League Finals.
Back in Game 4, when they were up 2-1 in the series, the Mudcats had a chance to seal the deal in the 11th inning before surrendering a home run tie it up. Two innings later, they lost on a walkoff single.
Entering the ninth inning of the deciding game, Carolina was down, 2-1, before a leadoff homer by Scott Cousins off Southern League Pitcher of the Year Todd Redmond tied it up. But after a couple of singles in the 10th inning by the Braves, Chris Mobley checked into the game and threw a wild pitch, allowing J.C. Holt to score the winning run.
Read the full story here.
But hey, here’s one thing to look forward to: Now that the Mudcats’ season is over, there’s a good chance you can see center field prospect Cameron Maybin pretty soon. Gaby Sanchez, the Southern League MVP this year, isn’t as likely of an addition, considering he’d have to be added to the 40-man roster first, and there wouldn’t be much of an opportunity for him to play with the Marlins. Ryan Tucker could also be added.
The Marlins’ short-season, Single-A affiliate, the Jamestown Jammers, lost the first game of the New York-Penn League Finals to the Batavia Muckdogs, 4-3. Down a run in the bottom of the ninth, the Jammers had the tying run in scoring position with one out, but Brandon Tucker struck out, and Justin Bass grounded out to end it.
The second of the best-of-three series on Saturday was postponed due to rain and will be played Sunday at 6:05 p.m. ET.
– Alden Gonzalez, associate reporter/MLB.com
MIAMI — The Marlins’ Double-A affiliate, the Carolina Mudc
ats, swept the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx in the Northern Division playoffs and will face off against the Mississippi Braves in a five-game series beginning Monday.
The Mudcats outscored West Tennessee, 22-5, and Gaby Sanchez went 5-for-12 with three RBIs in the series.
Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said he’d wait until the Double A playoffs are over before he calls anybody from the Mudcats up. And when they are, Sanchez and Cameron Maybin are very likely candidates.
After starting off the season 33-36, the Marlins’ High A affiliate, the Jupiter Hammerheads, went right down to the wire in the second half for first place in the Florida State League’s East Division. While going 41-28 to end the year, the Hammerheads finished just a half-game out of the first place Daytona Cubs — a lead they lost during their last five games of the season.
Going into the final five contests, Jupiter actually held a half-game lead on the Cubs but had five games against them to finish off the season. The Hammerheads split the first two, but they fell in the following two games to put them at 1 1/2 out and mathematically eliminated. The Marlins’ 2003 first-round pick, Jeff Allison, was the losing pitcher in the dagger, getting rocked for seven runs (six earned) in just two innings.
Don’t blame Adalberto Mendez for the Hammerheads coming up short in their quest for the playoffs. All he did was record 29 saves — tied for the FSL lead — while posting a 3.47 ERA. In 57 innings, Mendez struck out 59 batters and limited his opponents to a measley .215 batting average.
I know Mendez isn’t one of the more popular candidates for the Marlins’ closers role in 2009 if Kevin Gregg isn’t retained — that title belongs to Matt Lindstrom and Ryan Tucker. But neither of those two have impressed much in the Major Leagues, and a season like this one could make Mendez, a 26-year-old righty from the Dominican Republic, a potential candidate when Spring Training opens next year.
Mendez was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cubs in 2001 and, after five years in their system (he didn’t start until 2003), he was acquired by the Marlins for the 2008 season. It was a big bounce-back year for Mendez, who posted a 5.09 ERA last year between High A and Double A.
How they finished …
Albuquerque Isotopes: 68-75 (.476), 2nd in American South Division of Pacific Coast League; 7.5 games out of first place; 10th overall out of 16
Jupiter Hammerheads: 41-28 (.594), 2nd in East Division of FSL; .5 games out of first place; 3rd overall out of 12
Greensboro Grasshoppers: 28-40 (.412), 5th in Northern Division of South Atlantic League; 16 games out of first place; 13th overall out of 16
Jamestown Jammers: 47-29 (.618), 2nd in Pinckney Division of New York-Penn League; percentage points out of first place; 3rd overall out of 14
Gulf Coast League Marlins: 30-24 (.556), 2nd in East Division of GCL; 2.5 games out of first place; 5th overall out of 16
Since the beginning of the September callup period, the Marlins have brought in five players from their Minor League system. Here’s a look at how they’ve done since being called up/back:
Logan Kensing: 36.00 ERA in two appearances (four runs in one full inning)
Eulogio De La Cruz: one 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout
Robert Andino: 0-for-2 through two games
Dallas McPherson: 0-for-3 with three walks through three games (one start)
Brett Carroll: 0-for-1 with three appearances
– by Alden Gonzalez, associate reporter/MLB.com
MIAMI — It was a good week in Florida’s Minor League system in terms of individual awards. On Thursday, Double-A Carolina’s Gaby Sanchez was named the Southern League Most Valuable Player after racking up 88 RBIs — the most for a Mudcat since 1995 — hitting .342 with runners in scoring position and hitting 17 home runs. Through Wednesday, the first baseman already had a franchise-record 41 doubles and was hitting .320 for one of the best offenses in Double A.
Then, on Saturday, Class A Jupiter had an MVP of its own when first baseman Logan Morrison (pictured) got the honors for the Florida State League after leading the FSL in batting average (.334), hits (157) and doubles (37). Morrison, a 6-foot-2 lefty-hitting 21-year-old, was taken by the Marlins in the 22nd round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft. Last year for Greensboro, Morrison hit .267 with 24 home runs and 86 RBIs.
Isotopes drawing fans
With 13,576 on hand to see their home finale, the Isotopes totaled 593,606 fans in 71 games for the season, beating the previous high in 2005 of 582,839.
Two more for McPherson
After having just one home run in August going in, Dallas McPherson belted two more home runs on Saturday night, bringing his count up to 42 this season with just two games remaining. McPherson still leads the Minor Leagues in home runs, and Nelson Cruz — whose contract was purchased by the Rangers on Aug. 25 — is behind him with 37.
All-Stars all over the place
Sanchez, second baseman Chris Coghlan (.298, 71 RBIs) and outfielder John Raynor (.312, 13 home runs, 49 RBIs) were all named to the Southern League Postseason All-Star Team on Thursday. The Mudcats were crowned the North Division second half champs and will begin the playoffs next week.
Injured Marlins: Outfielder Brett Carroll (right shoulder) has been rehabbing for the Hammerheads. Over his last 10 games, the 26-year-old is hitting .184 (7-for-38).
– Alden Gonzalez, associate reporter/MLB.com
MIAMI — With the end of August on the horizon, and the day Major League rosters can expand on Sept. 1 coming up, let’s take a look at how some of the players who could help the Marlins make a postseason run are faring in the Minor Leagues:
Robert Andino – Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez always expresses wishing he would’ve had a chance to use Andino’s versatility more when he was with the club, but his bench was just too deep for the 24-year-old to get much playing time. In his limited time, this is what we know about Andino: He’s fast and a very smart baserunner, is a streaky hitter that can hit for power and a good defensive infielder — who played emergency outfield on occasion.
Andino was optioned to the Isotopes on July 31 to make room for veteran closer Arthur Rhodes. On Sunday, Andino hit a walk-off homer for Albuquerque. In his last 10 games, he is batting .391 (18-for-46) with three home runs and 12 RBIs.
Dallas McPherson – The power-hitting third baseman has turned a lot of heads this season, and a lot of people feel like he could be a starter with the Marlins right now. McPherson has a good chance to be with the team after Sept. 1, but one problem with him is he pretty much fits the bill in terms of the rest of the Marlins players — he strikes out a lot (150 times this season with just 70 walks) and hits a ton of home runs (a Pacific Coast League-leading 40).
On the year, he also sports a .279 batting average with 91 RBIs.
One more thing, he is not a prospect. McPherson is 28 years old and played three seasons with the Angles. Regardless, after missing all of 2007 because of back surgery, it’s been a great comeback for the 6-foot-4 left-handed hitter.
Taylor Tankersley – “The Tank,” as some of his teammates with the Marlins call him, can be a very useful tool out of the Marlins’ bullpen if called back up, especially with the way current lefty reliever Renyel Pinto has struggled — sporting a 27.21 ERA since July 29.
Tankersley started off the year on a bad note, but he said he became a “tougher” pitcher when sent down to Triple-A and has sported some good numbers in the Minor Leagues this year, going 2-1 with a 1.71 ERA in 29 games.
Paul Hoover – I can’t see the Marlins adding a fourth catcher this year, but Hoover has been up and down with the club all year, and Gonzalez has said he does a very good job handling the pitching staff. In his last 10 games with the Isotopes, Hoover is batting .294 with two home runs and three RBIs.
Rick VandenHurk – The righty starter struggled mightily at the beginning of the year with the Marlins, came back, had one very good start, then reverted back to his old ways before getting sent back down for Anibal Sanchez. Still, VandenHurk is a guy who can give the Marlins some spot starts if he’s back with the team.
He is 2-1 with a 4.08 ERA in his last four starts in Albuquerque.
Cameron Maybin – The speedy centerfielder is very young, but also very promising, and the Marlins are likely to want to take a closer look at him in September. This year, Maybin has been up-and-down offensively and has struck out a ton — pretty much the M.O. on the Marlins.
On the year, he’s hitting .276 with 13 home runs and 43 RBIs. Maybin suffered a shoulder injury earlier this month, but vice president of player development Rick Fleming said a few weeks back that he has recovered fully.
Gaby Sanchez – Not sure if Sanchez would get called up to the Marlins, but it sure would be tough to keep the corner infield from the big club. The former University of Miami star has been on a tear this year, batting .327 with 17 home runs and 84 RBIs. In July, he earned Topps Player of the Month.
And check this out: He’s walked three more times than he’s struck out (65-62).
Ryan Tucker – Tucker started off the season as a starter, but struggles there prompted him to the bullpen with the Marlins, and he has continued that in the Minor Leagues.
Lately, Tucker has been throwing just one inning of relief at a time and has been used as a middle reliever — most recently as the eighth-inning guy. In his last five games, all of them one-inning stint, the 6-foot-2 righty has thrown five shutout innings and has given up just one hit.
* Catcher Mike Rabelo (right wrist) is pretty much done for the season, and Gonzalez said he’d probably play Winter Ball.
* Andrew Miller (right patella tendinitis) threw six shutout innings on an 80- to 85-pitch limit for Class A Jupiter on Thursday and would be scheduled to make his next rehab start on Tuesday. Gonzalez said he could pitch for Double-A Carolina. “We just want him to feel comfortable,” the Marlins’ skipper said.
* Doug Waechter (right shoulder inflammation) has been throwing bullpen sessions with no strain on his injury and said he’d be in Jupiter, Fla., throwing some more while the Marlins are on the road. He’s eligible to come off the disabled list on Friday.
2008 Draft picks
The Draft signing deadline was midnight ET on Saturday, and the Marlins succesfully came to terms with their first nine picks. Here’s a look at how they’ve done in the rookie Gulf Coast League this summer:
1. Kyle Skipworth (C) – .187 batting average, four home runs, 17 RBIs in 37 games
2. Brad Hand (LHP) – 1-0, 2.83 ERA in eight games (seven starts)
3. Edgar Olmos (LHP) – 0-0, 0.00 ERA in one start
4. Curtis Petersen (RHP) – 0-2, 9.64 ERA in five games (four starts)
5. Peter Andrelczyk (RHP) – NULL
6. Graham Johnson (RHP) – 0-0, 9.00 ERA in one game
7. Paul Gran (3B) – NULL
8. Isaac Galloway (RF) – .274, one home run, 22 RBIs in 42 games
9. Daniel Jennings (LHP) – NULL
– by Alden Gonzalez, associate reporter/MLB.com
MIAMI — Here’s a look at what’s going on in the Marlins’ Minor League system this week.
Lo Duca stepping in
How Paul Lo Duca performs in Triple-A Albuquerque is going to be an interesting thing to watch throughout the next week or so. He’ll start doing that on Saturday. Thin on catching for most of the season, the Marlins finally made a move they didn’t appear they’d want to make all season when they picked up Lo Duca to help out. Even though they got Matt Treanor back from injury, Lo Duca provides a veteran presence to the position.
However, Lo Duca has not played since the end of July, and he hasn’t played catcher. His role with the Marlins is unknown, but his goal is to get a lot of reps behind the plate with the Isotopes to get tuned up for the big club. This year, he has only started behind the plate in 19 games with the Nationals — 14 of those games came before May 7.
In his only full season with the Marlins in 2005, the 36-year-old right-handed hitter hit .283 with six home runs and 57 RBIs. This year with the Nationals, Lo Duca hit just .230 with no home runs and 12 RBIs in 46 games.
Sanchez has hot July
In case you’ve missed it, Gaby Sanchez has been lighting it up in the Minor Leagues this season — especially last month. In July, Sanchez was named the Topps Player of the Month, as voted by Southern League managers, after he hit .379 with seven home runs, seven doubles and 29 RBIs. With his performance, the Mudcats went from 2 1/2 back in their division to three games up at the end of the month. In July, Sanchez also made an appearance at the Southern League All-Star Game and enjoyed an 11-game hitting streak — which saw him bat .488.
Drafted by the Marlins in the fourth round of the 2005 Draft, Sanchez — a 24-year-old right-handed hitter who stands 6-foot-2 and weights about 225 pounds — is hitting .329 with 11 home runs and 66 RBIs in 102 games this season. In four seasons in the Marlins’ farm system, Sanchez has a combined .308 batting average.
The Miami native, who graduated from Brito High School and attended the University of Miami, is a corner infielder who also plays catcher, but he’s been playing mostly first base.
Single A Greensboro
Stanton on a tear
Marlins outfield prospect Michael Stanton got a bit of notoriety towards the Trade Deadline because of rumors of him being involved in potential deals. Simply put, the 19-year-old can hit. Over his last 10 games, Stanton has proved that, batting .389 with five home runs and 10 RBIs.
On the year, the 6-foot-5 California native is hitting .289 with 29 home runs and 73 RBIs in 105 games.
– Alden Gonzalez