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December 5, 2007

Future Shock

Who Are the Six?

by Kevin Goldstein

When the Detroit Tigers traded six players to the Marlins for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis, the lobby was filled with questions about just who exactly the six where. Everyone knew that Detroit had sent along Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin, but as the team has few actual prospects (other than 2007 draftees), the rest just seems like piling on to most of last night's pile-on, making the deal in most people's mind more of two-for-two deal in many ways.

In Maybin, the Marlins fill what has been their biggest positional hole for some time. He's massively talented, but as much as scouts love him, they have the some concerns that PECOTA has, notably his high strikeout rate. He'll play every day for Florida in 2008, ready or not, and he'll likely be one of those players who dazzles one day and frustrates the next--with one scout setting the over/under on his strikeouts at 150. I'm not knocking Maybin as a prospect, because he's still an easy five-star player and one of the top outfield prospects in the game, but based on multiple conversations here in Nashville, both before and after the deal, he might have moved down a bit on my top 100, as scouts have more concerns about him than I realized.

Miller is also a player who hasn't been quite as good as the tools should indicate. Six-foot-six lefties whose velocity sit in the mid-90s don't exactly grow on trees, yet Miller has rarely dominated on a statistical level, even at High-A in 2007. One issue with Miller is his inconsistent command, as his long and lanky build still leads to inconsistent release points. The other primary knock against Miller is his lack of aggressiveness. Scouts don't see a streak in him as nasty as his stuff, and he often avoids challenging hitters or pitching inside. He has the skills to be a frontline starter, but in the end, he's yet to pitch to one.

The other four players are all marginal-to-decent prospects:

  • While some see Burke Badenhop as a solid sleeper, others see him as simply the best prospect of the non-Maybin/Miller four. He's a big-bodied right-hander with command, polish, and a very good sinker; it's very easy to project his filling a back-of-the-rotation role in short order.
  • Eulogio De La Cruz is a small righty with a big fastball, at least velocity-wise; it's a little short on control and movement. Many think he could settle into either long relief or a seventh-inning role. Few think he can close, despite the fact that he touches the upper 90s, but he could slide into Florida's bullpen from day one.
  • I was told that some in the Florida organization see Mike Rabelo as an everyday big-league catcher, but I'm not sure what part of his .256/.300/.357 debut in the majors convinced them of that, and as he turns 28 in January, he's not some young guy who's going to make a whole lot of improvements.
  • Dallas Trahern is a ground-ball machine, but teams have a hard time warming up to a guy who can't miss many bats at Double-A. His ceiling is similar to Badenhop's, where he's a safe bet, but one with little chance at stardom.

My opinion meshes with the general consensus of those that I spoke to last night about the deal: yes, for their pair of young stars the Marlins received a lot in terms of raw numbers, but couldn't they have received more in term of raw talent?

Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Kevin's other articles. You can contact Kevin by clicking here

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