Marlins Insider's first farm update of the 2004 season gives you the scoop on who is performing in…
Marlins Minor League Camp Report: Triple A
The Marlins had almost 200 total prospects within their organization from each level attend the training facility for over a month of daily workouts and scrimmages. The Marlins have 6 total fields at their disposal for practice and training and each affiliate level (Triple A, Double A, High Single A, and Low Single A) is separated by team and they workout one team per field. So on four fields you have each team working out amongst themselves and you'll usually see a specific position or small group working out on one of the other two fields. The last field is reserved for the major league club to do their practice work.
The training schedule for the prospects is quite intense. First off, they train everyday, including Sundays, and are never given a day off. Their day begins at 8:30 am when they go out on the field for stretching and light jogging. At 9 am they begin fielding drills, breaking up into pitchers, infielders, and outfielders for their positional specific drills. At around 10:30 am they begin batting practice, where each day a specific group of usually 5 players go through a batting rotation starting out with bunting drills and then full swings. Most days they go through 2 group rotations so 10 hitters will get their batting practice each day.
Batting practice will usually take to till noon when the teams will all go in to the clubhouse for an hour long lunch break. Then at 1 pm, the teams will come back out for a 9 inning scrimmage game. For their opponents, affiliates from other major league teams that train in the area will travel in by bus to the afternoon game. The three teams that the Marlins organization played against were the Los Angeles Dodgers affiliates, the St. Luis Cardinals affiliates, and the New York Mets affiliates.
For the first part of our four part series, Marlins Insider will give you the scoop on the Triple A Florida Marlins affiliate. In each installment we will tell you who we felt were the Most Impressive Hitter and Most Impressive Pitcher for each affiliate. We will also go over a brief rundown of other prospects that caught our eye for both the good and the bad.
Triple A Albuquerque Isotopes
Most Impressive Hitter: OF Matt Padgett
There were quite a few candidates who qualified for consideration for this distinction, but Padgett clearly separated himself from the crowd. Padgett led the Isotopes with 5 homeruns for the spring and was also an RBI machine. Matt had 5 RBI in one game alone against the Mets affiliate Norfolk Tides.
Padgett is very impressive with his relentless hustle as well as his smooth swing. He seems to do all things well; hit, run, and field. All while obviously going 100% at all times. He split his time in the field playing both 1B and RF.
At 27 years old, Padgett is beyond being called a "prospect", but the guy deserves a shot somewhere. There is no question in my mind that he can be a 4th OF somewhere in the major leagues. A strong showing in Triple A in 2004 will prove that.
OF Chip Ambres
For the first time in several years Ambres entered the spring 100% healthy and it showed in his play. He started out this spring with the big club and went 2-4 with 1 RBI before being sent down for scrimmage season.
This spring Chip showed the tools that made the Marlins make him a first round pick. He showed a nice speed and power combo and continued improved discipline at the plate. What was also very impressive is that he hit several homeruns to both straight away center and to the opposite field. In the past Ambres had a problem making consistent contact but that didn't appear to be a problem this spring. Next to Padgett, Ambres was arguably the best hitter on the Isotopes team. With a strong season this year Chip may find himself as a late season call-up in 2004.
OF Chris Aguila
Aguila was the third part of the Isotopes 3 headed offensive monster this spring. Chris also started out this spring with a taste of the big leagues and he performed very well going 3-11 with 4 runs scored a 1 RBI. Another former first round pick Aguila was outstanding at the plate this spring as he hit for both power and average. Chris never tries to do too much with what he is given and has a good batting eye with consistent contact.
If Aguila wants to be considered for a late-season call up he must work on improving his play in left field.
2B Josh Wilson
Another player who started out with the big team this spring and was the subject of trade rumors which had him heading to the Chicago Cubs. In spite of the rumors, Wilson played very well in his time with the big club going 2-6 with 2 runs scored and 3 RBI.
After his demotion to the prospect camp Josh continued his hot hitting for a few games but soon slowed down considerably. Perhaps it was injuries that slowed him down because even though he took part in drills in the morning sessions, he sat out most of the scrimmages over the last week and half.
In the field, before his time out, Josh was extremely smooth in the field working well with SS Kevin Hooper in turning double plays.
3B Chris Ashby
While Wilson started his spring very hot and then slowed down, Ashby started slow but by the time spring scrimmages concluded, there wasn't a hotter bat in the lineup. Chris homered in 2 of the final 3 spring games and in one of those games hit for the elusive cycle.
SS Kevin Hooper
Hooper may be extremely slight of build but his fundamental approach to the game produces results. At the plate he does all the right things, hits behind runners, he is an excellent bunter. He has absolutely no power but he knows how to get the ball through the infield. Even though he has no power Hooper saved his best power performance of the spring in the last game of the exhibition season when he hit an inside the park grand slam homerun against the Norfolk Tides.
In the field, Hooper may not be the quickest of players but he gets the job done.
C Matt Treanor
Treanor may have leap frogged several other Marlins catching prospects including Ryan Jorgensen and Patrick Alis with a phenomenal spring exhibition season. Matt got 14 game appearances with the big club getting 3 hits in 9 at bats including two doubles. He also scored 2 runs.
When he went down to join the Isotopes, Treanor continued his impressive performances both in the field and in the batters box. Treanor's only problem this spring is that his over-aggressiveness got him in trouble on the base paths a few times when he got caught trying to take an extra base. This might be attributed to extra hustle to impress the coaches.
Word has it that McKeon has told Treanor that he should stay ready for a promotion because if either of the Marlins catchers go down to injury that he is at the top of the list to be called up.
Two players that were late additions to the Isotopes roster as they were last minute roster cuts made the Marlins are SS/3B Derek Wathan who went 4 for 19 with 2 runs and 2 runs batted in and promising SS Wilson Valdez who went 12 for 44 with 4 runs scored and 4 runs batted in. Both players will be above average contributors to the Isotopes this season and both are high probabilities to be called up on the 40 man roster.
Most Impressive Pitcher: Kevin Olsen
Olsen, who has made a few short appearances with the Marlins easily had the most impressive spring of any Isotope pitcher. He started his spring season with 5 scoreless innings in 2 outings. He went on to pitch a total of 12 scrimmage innings giving up only 2 total runs.
Olsen who will be turning 28 years old this season can no longer be considered a "prospect" but he can be viewed upon as a player who could join the Marlins to provide some depth in either the rotation or the bullpen if injuries strike.
Pitcher Cedrick Bowers
Bowers may not have the stuff to be a major league starter but the lefty does have the stuff to be a quality middle reliever in the big leagues. He has very good control of both his curveball and fastball which he throws in the 86-89 range.
During the exhibition season most outings Bowers pitched very well, although there was one very bad outing. He might be a year away from contributing to the big team as a middle man.
Pitcher Mike Flannery
Flannery started up with the big team and made 2 appearances with 2 innings pitched giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and 1 walk. He struck out one batter. The move for Flannery might have been a bit premature as he probably needs a full season at Triple A even though he had tremendous success as the closer at Double A Carolina in 2003.
When Flannery joined the Triple A squad he pitched extremely well throwing scoreless innings in most of his outings. He really only had 1 bad inning all spring with the Isotopes.
Pitchers who were recent demotions back to Triple A who will have a significant impact are Kevin Cave, Aaron Small, and Franklyn Gracesqui.
The Marlins Triple A affiliate finished their exhibition season with an 8-6 reco
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