Florida Marlins: 5 Guys To Keep Center Field Warm for Christian Yelich
It appears as though the center fielder of the future for the Flor—ahem—Miami Marlins will be 2010 first-round draft pick Christian Yelich from Westlake High School, Thousand Lakes, CA.
He has a great stroke, hits well for average, his power is improving and he is as quick as a hiccup.
Sounds like a pre-pie-induced-injury Chris Coghlan, right?
The Marlins can only hope that Yelich is Rookie of the Year caliber, and that he can be ready for the new ballpark next year. At the current rate, however, we won't likely see Yelich until 2013 at the earliest.
For the meantime, someone has to man the big gap between Logan "The Locomotive" Morrison (recently coined by Tommy Hutton and Rich Waltz, the Marlins commentators) and Mike Stanton.
There are enough guys in the system, both young (Scott Cousins) and old (Mike Cameron), to fill the void, but I will throw in a guy or two who the Fish could theoretically acquire from somewhere else too, even though the odds of Jeffrey Loria spending more than the bare minimum on a guy seems doubtful.
Plus, it's clear that Logan Morrison has other things to worry about than who will play center field next to him, namely a pest problem in the dugout.
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Chris Coghlan won the NL Rookie of the Year award in 2009, batting .321 with a .390 OBP. While his power numbers aren't wowing, he was the perfect leadoff guy for one season.
Oh how the times are changing. Cogs batted .261 last year, and in 65 games in the majors this year, was batting .230. That got the injury-prone Coghlan sent down to AAA, and now he is sitting on the 15-day DL, even more useless than when he was being baffled by major league pitchers.
There is always hope though. If he can get his health on track and figure out how to use the long wooden stick in his hands eventually, he theoretically could be a really solid player once again.
He has the most experience in the outfield in the Marlins system even though he was originally a 2B.
Barring any Wes Helms walk-off hits and any right fielders in his way, Coghlan should be fine, and will eventually be the batting-average beast that he once was, making him the obvious choice for the Fish in center field.
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Somebody said this recently of 25-year-old center fielder Bryan Petersen, and I couldn't agree more: "He is getting it." That "it" is the game of baseball, both hitting, which he has finally figured out, and fielding, at which he is a wizard.
He is batting a less-than-sexy .231, but keep in mind that is over the course of a mere 52 at-bats.
He was not expected to be "the guy" for the Marlins, with Scott Cousins expected to be the fourth outfielder on an already solid team, but Coghlan fell through, Cousins was scarred for life by smashing through Buster Posey and an aging Mike Cameron is not an everyday player.
He has been clutch at the plate, and is making every play out in the field.
Maybe he won't ever be an All-Star or be extremely well known, but this kid is an asset on the Marlins roster, and that should not be taken for granted.
He has been called up recently and looks like he will be a staple on the depth chart for a while, whether as a solid starter or a great fourth outfielder.
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A very Coghlan-esque player, Jordan Schafer and his one-year/$400 K contract were shipped to Houston from Atlanta in the Michael Bourn trade.
Currently residing on the 15-day DL, Schafer was a very good leadoff man for the Braves throughout 2011, still however spending time in AAA-ball. He compiled a lowly .240 BA but only over the course of 52 games in the bigs.
He isn't the best hitter for power or average, but is constantly improving. In the field: dynamite. He is lightning-quick, having swiped 15 bags before getting hurt and then being traded.
And finally, he is clutch. Late in close games (seventh inning or later, his team with the tying run on deck, down by one, tied or leading by one), Schafer bats .385.
He is not much better than Bryan Petersen, and he isn't near to a healthy Chris Coghlan performing up to his potential—but for the meantime, at 24, Jordan Schafer has experience that Petersen doesn't and is a good fit for the Fish.
Scott Cousins crashing, violently, into Buster Posey to win a game on May 25.
Another great guy from the Marlins farm system, Cousins is probably best known for ending the season of Giants catcher Buster Posey on a collision at home plate that won the Marlins a game on May 25 of this year.
Posey suffered a broken left leg, and will miss the remainder of the year.
Cousins suffered through severe trauma and minor depression, and may never be the same.
Cousins, while not shining this year, batted .297 in 27 games in 2010, getting called up for the first time. His first hit: a walk-off winner. His first home run: a grand slam, this year.
He is clutch, has decent power, is in the system and is a smart baseball player.
Cousins was expected to be the odd-man-out fourth outfielder for the Fish this year, but with the evanescence of Chris Coghlan's bat, Cousins got his chance and did not produce. He will get more chances, however, with Coghlan currently in no shape to be an everyday player.
As hard as Giants fans may try, you can't crucify a man for playing good, hard baseball. And that is all that Scott Cousins did. His play was not dirty; it was smart—just unfortunate.
If he can walk softly and carry a big stick, or at least hit a few home runs and not maul any catchers, he will undoubtedly have a solid career.
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Maybe the most outlandish and least likely move, this also is the smartest. If the Marlins were willing to spend a nominal amount of cash to get the 24-year-old Rasmus after this season, their outfield would be a force to be reckoned with. A career .257 batter, Rasmus is young and hungry.
He was recently dealt to the Jays, and while struggling this year, scouts say this kid will be a great hitter, and an even better fielder over the course of the next few years.
Spending his first two-and-a-half seasons with the Cardinals, Rasmus received votes for NL Rookie of the Year in 2009 and had a breakout season last year, batting .276 with 23 home runs, and was almost perfect in the field.
He would be a great batter in the No. 2 spot behind Emilio Bonifacio, and that would give the Marlins a great one-two punch to start games, as well as near perfection in the field, with LoMo and Stanton as very solid fielders.
Colby would give the Marlins stability in center, as well as a great core of players to build around for the new ballpark.
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Bonifacio is the ultimate utility man, and if the Marlins acquire a good bat at third base, then the deserving Bonifacio could keep his starting job in center field.
Ozuna is a very young prospect for the Fish who has shown incredible potential and pure power. His swing is fluid, and his glove is solid.
The Fort Pierce, FL native is in the midst of a one-year deal with the Nationals, but the team may not bring him back, as he is hitting just .242 (.302 OBP) with six home runs and 23 RBI in 76 games. Still, he would be a nice veteran addition to any lineup.