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 Minor League News & Autograph Blog Home

Top Prospect Alert - Jason Stokes

By Schuyler Dombroske

DOB: 1/23/82, Age: 20, Bats/Throws: R/R, Height: 6’4’’, Weight: 225. Acquired: Marlins - Drafted in the 2nd Round of the 2000 Draft (Coppell HS, TX). 2001 Stats: (SSeason-A - Utica) .231 AVG, 130 AB, 2 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 0 SB, 11 BB, 48 K, .299 OBP, .400 SLG. 2002 Stats: (Low-A - Kane County) .361 AVG, 155 AB, 11 2B, 0 3B, 11 HR, 1 SB, 15 BB, 47 K, .408 OBP, .645 SLG.
    Jason Stokes is part of a logjam that the Marlins have at first base in their organization. Stokes, a Texas high-school product, slipped to the second round of the 2000 draft despite clearly having first-round talent, and the Marlins snapped him up and shocked everyone by signing him before the deadline. Stokes has an extremely quick, vicious uppercut swing to go with his natural power hitters’ build. He hit rather poorly in his first partial season at Utica, but has come on this year to post the kinds of numbers that the Marlins expected for their two million dollar signing bonus. Power is his primary tool, and with 17 homers in his first 285 professional at-bats, he has already shown it. When he connects, a hard hit ball is the result, so expect a continuation of the double/homer combination that Stokes has been able to post thus far. He is hitting for a tremendous average in the early going this season, but I don’t expect him to be a quality hitter for average in the long run, as his swing is just too violent. Once the hitting tools are discussed, Stokes does not bring much else to the table. His speed is poor (and he’s only 20), his arm is below average, and his range and hands are also subpar. The combination of these traits resulted in the end of a brief experiment in left field for Stokes, and it is clear that his future will lie at first base. His strike-zone judgment was expected to be an attribute before he signed, but it has been very poor so far. He is striking out exactly once every three at-bats right now, and until that number improves, I cannot see him progressing very much as a hitter, nor maintaining that lofty batting average.
    First base is a position of strength for the Marlins. Derrek Lee is an adequate major league starter right now, and is still young enough to become more than that. Adrian Gonzalez is a step below the top few first base prospects (Pena and Johnson), but is still likely a top 30 prospect. Stokes, of course, is also a decent prospect, but is in need of a change of scenery. (Pittsburgh, anyone?) The Marlins are poised for a long run of contention if they can get an ownership group that is willing to put forth some effort, so expect Derrek Lee to either break out in the next year or two or be dealt. If the Marlins are serious, he will be packaged with other extras for something they need to finish off the team (a SS or another OF or SP). If they aren’t, he’ll be dealt for prospects and the cycle will begin anew. Gonzalez is struggling this season, but would have to do much worse to be passed by Stokes, which doesn’t leave Jason with too many options. I don’t think he has a very good chance of making the majors in the Florida organization, and probably a bit less than a 50/50 chance of making it at all unless he happens upon the right situation. His hitting tools are actually similar to Derrek Lee’s, but Lee is a much better defender and has more speed to boot. Put simply, better players than Stokes have been mired in unfavorable situations, ruining potential careers. Why expect his lot in life to be different? He could become Kevin Millar somewhere down the road, which isn’t all bad.  


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