When do you think the Marlins will call up Mike Stanton? I think he should be called up already. -- Steven R., Miami
We're getting close to the point where, realistically, a callup can occur. Remember, Stanton is just 20 years old, and the more at-bats he gets in Double-A, the more it will help his development. The hope is, when he's promoted, he won't have to be sent back down. There are high expectations for the 20-year-old. It's been widely reported that the earliest would be either late May or early June, and that remains the likely earliest time frame. Stanton had been struggling for about 10 days, but now he is catching fire again. He belted his 17th home run on Saturday. Another factor will be the need at the big league level. Cameron Maybin and Chris Coghlan have been heating up of late, which diminishes the need to promote the young slugger immediately. Whenever he does arrive, Stanton promises to be one of the most exciting young players the Marlins have produced in years.
How much concern is focused on middle relief? Clay Hensley has done well filling the eighth inning. However, the rest of the bullpen has been struggling to get batters out. What actions are being taken to help the bullpen get back on track, like last year when the bullpen was very good? -- Max A., Bloomington
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Not just middle relief, but the entire bullpen is a concern. Sorting out bullpens is a struggle for most teams. What's most encouraging is that the Marlins' starters are working deeper into games, which eases the stress on the bullpen. Over the first two months, it seems like the coaching staff is sorting out what they have. Now, they are starting to establish more defined roles. Hensley has been used more in an eighth-inning setup role, compared to being used in long relief for most of April. Brian Sanches also is slotting into the back end, usually in the seventh. A trade may ultimately be made to solidify the 'pen. The Marlins have a surplus of outfielders, and may look to make a move to add a veteran arm.
Some players are called "five-tool players." Though I can make a rough guess, what exactly are the "five tools?" -- Gary G., Irvine, Calif.
Interesting question, because the term is used freely, yet not always explained. In all five of these areas, a player should be above average. The five tools are -- hitting for average, hitting for power, speed/baserunning, fielding and throwing. Hanley Ramirez has proven to be a five-tool player, being a standout in all areas.
What do you think about the Marlins going after another dominant pitcher at the Trade Deadline? Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt may be available. The Marlins have plenty of prospects to pull off a deal. -- Ronny B., Miami
Obviously, adding a starter the caliber of Lee and Oswalt would make a huge impact. I just don't see the need for a starting pitcher when the more pressing issue is the bullpen. Starting pitching hasn't been the Marlins' problem. With Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco, the Marlins have a formidable one-two rotation punch. For the most part, Chris Volstad and Anibal Sanchez have thrown very well. Obviously, someone like Lee or Oswalt would provide more veteran experience. The question would be the cost of the prospects, because the asking price would be high. A more realistic deal would be for a relief pitcher. You don't want to mortgage the future, in terms of prospects, for a one-year fix. There is a fine balance on such moves.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.