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Original Issue



A rival scout sizes up the Marlins

This is the strongest division in baseball, but I think they're going to be in the hunt the whole year.... [Defensively,] Hanley Ramirez just needs to improve on quickness—the ball gets on top of him really fast. It's about first-step quickness at third base, but he's such a good athlete and has such a good arm that he can compensate. He may not win a ton of Gold Gloves, but he'll be as good as most third baseman in the majors.... If Jose Reyes stays healthy and gets on at the top of the lineup, they'll score a ton of runs.... In about three years Giancarlo Stanton will be one of the premier guys in all of baseball. He has a tendency to think too much, so he takes a lot of third strikes. Guys with his kind of power need to swing the bat, even if it means strikeouts.... There were a lot of inquiries about Logan Morrison this winter, but the Marlins were smart not to trade him. He can go gap to gap, and he has power. His age [24] and the fact that he can also play first base make him very valuable.... At this point in his career Carlos Zambrano doesn't need more than three pitches. I'd limit him to a fastball, curve and changeup, so he doesn't wind up throwing too many pitches from too many different arm slots.... Josh Johnson looks exceptional, especially his slider, which is a monster pitch. His mechanics are so good.... Mark Buehrle brings professionalism to this staff. It might be a harder transition to the NL for him if Ozzie Guillen wasn't his manager. Ozzie knows him, and Ozzie may ride him a lot further than most NL managers would ever ride a guy.


With 2011 Statistics


1st season with Marlins




$98.6 million



Percentage of the homers hit by Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison in 2011 that came with the bases empty, the highest rate for any two teammates with at least 20 homers each. New leadoff hitter Jose Reyes (.384 OBP in '11) and a rebound year by Hanley Ramirez (.380 career OBP, .333 last year) should create more multi-run-homer opportunities.


The Marlins' big spring project—making Hanley Ramirez a third baseman—got off to a good start. Ramirez grudgingly made the move from shortstop, to accommodate the signing of Jose Reyes, but he seems to be adapting to the hot corner mentally and physically. Even if it works out, the move was a missed opportunity, as the Marlins could have moved Ramirez to centerfield instead. Ramirez's defensive problems have never been about his raw tools, but his concentration: He has range and an arm but is error-prone. Ramirez has the speed to be a plus centerfielder, and Miami has a greater need in center—where Emilio Bonifacio, who is best used as a supersub at four positions, is passable and Bryan Petersen more a fourth outfielder—than they do at third, where plus-glove prospect Matt Dominguez is now blocked by Ramirez. Moving Ramirez, 28, to center would have been similar to a change made a quarter century ago by Hall of Famer Robin Yount, who left shortstop and became a full-time outfielder at 29. (He was an MVP as a centerfielder at 33.) Ramirez would have retained more of his value at an up-the-middle position.