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Marlins prospects earn high honors

Marlins prospects earn high honors

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Winning the Rookie of the Year Award is a huge honor for any young player. But it's also quite an honor for that player's parent organization.

So it's no surprise that there is quite a glow surrounding the Florida Marlins right now, thanks to the remarkable summer of homegrown second baseman-turned-left fielder Chris Coghlan, the National League's 2009 Rookie of the Year.

"First and foremost, we're happy for him, because we know how hard he worked and how committed he is to being the best player he could be," said Brian Chattin, the Marlins' director of player development. "But there is certainly a level of satisfaction to know you were at least a small part of the development process. At the end of the day, he's the one who deserves the credit. The development staff that worked with him just improved what was already a good package when we got him."


NL East
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ARI | COL | LAD | SD | SF

AL West
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Coghlan slipped so seamlessly into his role as starting left fielder just two days into his May big league debut. From the day he began his pro career in 2006 until his very last game at Triple-A New Orleans, the day before his call-up, Coghlan had never played a game in the outfield -- he had been a second baseman who also saw time at third.

His new-found success in the outfield only adds to the area where the Marlins are by far the deepest when it comes to Minor League talent.

"We've got depth in the outfield ranks up and down the ladder, players who are versatile, young, athletic and have ceiling," said Chattin. "Guys like Mike Stanton, Jai Miller, John Raynor, Scott Cousins, Bryan Peterson and Isaac Galloway."

Another area of new-found strength in the system is among left-handed relievers, where a few young pitchers such as Jay Voss and Dan Jennings (no relation to the Marlins' vice president of player personnel by the same name), took huge strides forward in '09.

Could there be another piece of postseason hardware waiting for a Florida rookie in 2010 or '11? While that's always unpredictable, Chattin offered the name of first baseman (and yes, sometimes outfielder) Logan Morrison into the mix.

"I can't tell you for sure when he's going to be in the big leagues, but he's putting himself on the cusp of being there," Chattin said of the hard-hitting prospect who missed several weeks this season with a broken thumb, but hit .277 with eight homers and 47 RBIs in 82 games when healthy. "He has the chance to be an impact player early."

While the big league club posted an 87-75 record and stayed in the Wild Card hunt until the end, two of the Marlins' Minor League clubs made it to postseason, with Double-A Jacksonville (82-58) winning the Southern League championship and the Gulf Coast League team (38-17) also making it to the playoffs.

ORGANIZATIONAL PLAYERS OF THE YEAR

MLB.com's Preseason Picks

John Raynor, OF: Since being drafted in the ninth round of 2006 out of UNC Wilmington, Raynor had consistently posted MVP-type numbers every year, in the .300-50 steal range, so we expected him to continue to rake in the hitter-happy Pacific Coast League with Triple-A New Orleans. The 25-year-old had his struggles, batting just .257 with six homers, 36 RBIs and 19 steals, but still figures in the team's plans, as his placement on the 40-man roster last week attests.

Sean West, LHP: We had high hopes for the 6-foot-8 southpaw, who had enjoyed a strong comeback campaign in 2008 after missing all of '07 following shoulder surgery. They were met as he posted a 4.78 ERA in 12 starts at Double-A Jacksonville before skipping past New Orleans to head straight into the Marlins' rotation, where he went 8-6 with a 4.79 ERA in 20 starts, striking out 70 batters in 103 innings.

MLB.com's Postseason Selections

Mike Stanton, OF: Stanton repeats his Marlins Hitter of the Year honors, following up an outstanding 2008 first full season by emerging as the indisputable top prospect in the organization. His pure raw power once again translated into stats as he combined for 28 home runs and 92 RBIs, both tops in the system, between Advanced A Jupiter and Jacksonville. Though his average was just .255 on the season as he took time adjusting to Double-A pitching, the 6-foot-5 Stanton, who just turned 20, has a great future. His makeup and work ethic complement his tools, and his strong arm will play in right field. He left the Arizona Fall League after just a few games with a minor back injury, but is expected to be healthy for Spring Training.

Jose Rosario, RHP: In his first full season after spending '08 in the Gulf Coast League, the 23-year-old made the leap to spend most of his summer at Jupiter where his 3.46 ERA (combined with four early starts at Greensboro) ranked second in the system among full-season pitchers, while his 10-7 record and 105 strikeouts in 130 innings also placed him among the organization leaders. At Jupiter, he limited Florida State League hitters to a .221 average in 109 innings, walking just 25 while striking out 91.

Lisa Winston is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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