Marlins Top 50 Prospects: #49, Derek Wathan

Derek Wathan has spent 6 years in the Marlins organization. Scouts feel that he is ready for his chance to play in the majors. Will that chance come with the Marlins? If so, when will that be and what can we expect?

Vital Stats:
Position - SS
DOB - December 13, 1976
Birthplace - Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Height: 6'3  Weight: 190
Bats - Both
Throws - Right
Acquired - Drafted in the 2nd Round (70th overall) of the 1998 amateur draft out of the University of Oklahoma.

Batting: During his 6 years in the Marlins organization, Wathan has developed into a very good contact hitter. Derek has a very good feel for the strike zone although he doesn't manage too take many walks. Instead he uses his good batting eye to slap the ball around and use his quality speed to get himself on base. He is naturally a right-handed hitter so he carries a bit more pop from that side. Despite having good size at 6'3 190 lbs, his power can be described as nothing more than average gap power. He possesses no power from the left side.

Base Running and Speed:  Wathan possesses better than average speed but by no means is he going to burn up the base paths. Instead, he uses his above average baseball intelligence to make good decisions on the base paths. In the 2002 season he had leg injury issues that limited his base running but he bounced back in 2003 to steal 21 bases in 29 attempts. Defense: Wathan's good speed and quickness gives him very good range at the SS position. He has no trouble with the routine plays and occasionally comes up with the spectacular one. His throwing arm is solid for the SS position but isn't quite great. Derek is just as comfortable playing the 2B position as he is at SS. He can also adequately field the 3B and OF positions.

Projection: Derek Wathan has now been in the Marlins organization for 6 seasons. One of those seasons was cut short by injury. Management was interested to see how he would bounce back with a full season at Triple A Albuquerque. Derek did so very impressively by putting up his best season in the minors. Unfortunately for Wathan, he only projects as a utility player in the major leagues and the Marlins already have a very good veteran in Mike Mordecai holding that position. The Marlins would love to keep Derek in the organization due to Mordecai's age. But as long as Mordecai remains effective he will be the Marlins utility man. The two biggest reasons why is that Mordecai is a known quantity and is payroll friendly. However, many scouts feel that Wathan has nothing left to prove at the minor league level and is ready for a shot at the majors. The Marlins will try to keep Wathan for one more season at Albuquerque and give him a shot to beat out Mordecai for a roster spot next year. At some point Derek Wathan will be a member of a major league team's roster. Whether that team is the Florida Marlins remains to be seen.

Estimated Time of Arrival: Wathan might be ready to make a major league team right now. He has been invited by the Marlins to spring training for a chance to earn a roster spot. If he doesn't make the team he will either be cut outright so that he can pursue a shot with another team, or he will be sent back to Albuquerque as insurance if Mordecai ever ends up on the DL.


























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