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Marlins find balance in '09 Draft class

Marlins find balance in '09 Draft class

With the 2009 season and Arizona Fall League (where several 2009 Draftees got their first taste of pro ball) in the books, we take a look at the early results of each club's '09 Draft class: how their top picks did; late-round picks that fared well; which picks are likely to move up the ladder quickest; and which picks clubs were unable to sign.

The Marlins' 2009 Draft shows balance just about everywhere, with a Top 10 that featured an even split of high school and college players, and a 6:4 ratio of pitchers to hitters. They had success with their signing percentage as well, inking their first 12 picks (though No. 6, corner infielder Dustin Dickerson out of Baylor, had his contract voided in mid-October), and 31 of their first 32 picks.


NL East
ATL | FLA | NYM | PHI | WAS

AL East
BAL | BOS | NYY | TB | TOR

NL Central
CHC | CIN | HOU | MIL | PIT | STL

AL Central
CWS | CLE | DET | KC | MIN

NL West
ARI | COL | LAD | SD | SF

AL West
LAA | OAK | SEA | TEX

Taking a pair of high-ceiling young arms with its first two picks in high school hurlers Chad James, a left-hander from Oklahoma, and Swedish-born right-hander Bryan Berglund with their second pick, Florida added some protection to its system in that department. Both signed late and will make their pro debuts in 2010. The club kept an eye on players who are more likely to help them further down the line, rolling the dice as well later in the Draft with some raw high-ceiling athletes.

Top five picks

1. Chad James, LHP: The 18th pick overall, the high school hurler out of Yukon, Okla., is a high-ceiling arm with a lively fastball in the low 90s and a plus circle-change. At 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, he still has a projectable body. James, whose older brother Justin played in the Minors with the Blue Jays, spent much of his 2008-09 offseason on a nutrition and weight-training regimen which definitely helped his Draft status in '09 as he added some more zip to his fastball. He was 8-2 with a 1.28 ERA in high school, striking out 100 in 63 1/3 innings. A late signing, he'll make his pro debut in 2010.

2. Bryan Berglund, RHP: Another late sign awaiting a 2010 debut, Berglund was drafted out of high school in California and becomes the first draftee born in Sweden. The 6-foot-4 right-hander with a projectable frame is a polished teen with a fastball that has been clocked in the mid 90s to go with a plus slider. He already boasts three average-to-plus pitches in his repertoire.

3. Marquise Cooper, OF: The Marlins capped their opening string of three high school picks with this highly-recruited football prospect who brings sheer athleticism and huge upside to the system. With 80 speed on the scouting scale, the 5-foot-9 170-pound Cooper, who just turned 18, comes out of high school in Southern California and projects as a center fielder and leadoff type. He hit .189 with 14 RBIs and six steals in a 40-game pro debut in the Gulf Coast League.

4. Dan Mahoney, RHP: The University of Connecticut product, signed as a draft-eligible sophomore, began his pro career at short-season Jamestown, going 1-6 with an 8.04 ERA in 10 starts over 31 1/3 innings before his season ended early when he landed on the DL in early August. A reliever at UConn, his eventual role is still to be determined, but he is big, strong and has three pitches.

5. Chase Austin, SS: The North Carolina native, drafted out of top-notch liberal arts college Elon, batted .252 with three homers, 26 RBIs and seven steals in his debut at Jamestown. Austin, whose given first name is Nicklaus, can play second, shortstop and third base and has a little bit of pop for a middle infielder as well.

Best of the rest

Right-hander Josh Hodges (seventh round), a 6-foot-7 235-pound 18-year-old out of high school in Mississippi fanned 20 in 19 2/3 innings while posting a 4.12 ERA between the Gulf Coast League and Jamestown. ... Outfielder Kyle Jensen (12th round) has big-time power potential and his .280 with four homers and 24 RBIs rank fourth in the system in batting while he posted a .456 slugging percentage in 55 games. ... The Marlins may have taken all the fun out of MiLB.com's annual "March Madness" 64-player "All Name" tournament by drafting outfielder Sequoyah Trueblood Stonecipher in the 14th round out of Grossmont Junior College in California. The Southern Cal native spends his spare time surfing, not surprising since his dad owns a surf shop, but his first two names honor his Native American heritage, as he was named for relatives of his mother, who descends from the Choctaw and Chickashee Indians tribes of Oklahoma. He hit .264 with two homers and 12 RBIs at Jamestown. ... Outfielder Brent Keys (17th round), a pure hitter out of high school in California, hit .288 with 13 steals and a .395 on-base average in the Gulf Coast League and made a good impression on the Marlins. ... Right-hander Erick Carillo (19th round) finished fourth in the New York-Penn League ERA race with a 2.05 at Jamestown as the Cal State-San Bernardino product led the system in ERA and struck out 50 while walking 18 in 61 1/3 innings. ... Right-hander A.J. Ramos (21st round) out of Texas Tech posted a 2.14 ERA and fanned 50 in 34 innings at Jamestown armed with a low-90s fastball. ... Shorstop Terrence Dayleg (22nd round), a Canadian-born infielder out of Western Kentucky, was a pleasant surprise, combining to hit .261 between the Gulf Coast League and a taste of full-season ball at Class A Greensboro. ... Third baseman Brent Weaver (26th round) was drafted out of Oklahoma City and his 33 RBIs ranked fifth in the Gulf Coast League. ... Left-hander Jared Eskew (29) out of Cal Poly led the Gulf Coast League with seven wins and his 2.23 ERA ranked third in the organization. ... The Marlins were very excited about the potential of a late pick in shortstop Noah Perio (39th round), a California high schooler who hit .429 in a brief debut at age 17 in the Gulf Coast League.

Fast risers

Two polished college pitchers who could move quickly are the early-mid round selections of left-hander Stephen Richards (eighth round) out of Arkansas and right-hander Matt Montgomery (10th round) from UC-Riverside. Stephens posted a 3.14 ERA in 10 games in relief at Jamestown in his debut, limiting New York-Penn League hitters to a .232 average. Montgomery, who split his 11 innings of work between Jamestown and the Gulf Coast League, posted an 0.82 ERA and limited hitters to a .135 average. Also watch for Austin, whose college polish and ability to play several infield positions could give him an inside track to move up quickly.

Unsigned

The Marlins signed all but one of their first 32 picks, and 36 out of their overall 50, but first baseman/third baseman Dustin Dickerson (sixth round) no longer counts against that tally. The Baylor product signed in mid-July and joined Jamestown that week, hitting .214 with 18 RBIs to finish out the season there. However his contract was voided on Oct. 11 and there has been no official word on why. Contracts can be voided due to non-disclosure of pre-existing injuries or a few other reasons. In addition, Right-hander Tyler Curtis (13th round), a pitching prospect out of the Junior College of Southern Idaho, was diagnosed with a torn elbow ligament during negotiations this summer and will be sidelined until spring, so he remains unsigned.

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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