This Fan got to see a lot of Mike Stanton when he first came up for the Florida Marlins. He looked so stiff at the time that he was like a big flamingo with a bat. He struck out so often that it was almost a given. He struck out 34 times in his first 21 games. On July 3, his line sat at: .207/.258/.316. Woof, those were ugly numbers. A lot of teams would have sent him back to the minors. But the Marlins kept putting him out there. And even though the Marlins aren't playing any better recently, you can't blame it on Mike Stanton any more. He's now showing why he was such a highly touted prospect.
Stanton has eleven hits in his last four games. He's hit four homers in his last three games including two solo shots on Friday night that accounted for all of the Marlins' runs in a losing cause. Compare his current line to the one listed in the previous paragraph: .270/.351/.557! This is the guy they hoped would be this good.
Stanton was drafted in the second round in 2007. It's hard to believe now that 73 players were drafted ahead of him. But then again, if you look at some of the names ahead of him in that draft, it was a talented group. There were guys like David Price, Matt Wieters, Tommy Hunter, Brett Cecil, Jason Heyward and Matt LaPorta just to name a few. But there were also guys like Clayton Mortenson and Ross Detwiler in there. Stanton seems to be overlooked over a lot of the guys ahead of him in that draft.
Stanton managed to get into 17 games the year he was drafted, but did little to talk about. However, in 2008, he destroyed the South Atlantic League where he hit 39 homers and finished with an OPS of .993. He moved up twice in 2009 and finished with a combined 28 homers and an .842 OPS. He struggled when he was moved up to the Double A team. And so he returned to Double A in 2010 and playing for the same team in the same league (Jacksonville in the Southern League) he just killed the ball. He had 21 homers in 53 games and had an OPS of 1.171 when he was called up to the Marlins.
Stanton is only 21 years old. He's built like a linebacker at 6'5" and 235 pounds. And if you include the 14 homers he's hit for the Marlins thus far, he has hit 35 homers already this year. And he's not just a good bat. He's settled into the right field position for the Marlins and his fielding numbers are excellent. He has a plus arm and has already thrown out four runners.
Looking at Stanton's splits, his platoon splits are just fine meaning he hits equally well against lefties and right-handers. He has excellent clutch ratings as he has a 1.342 OPS when there are runners in scoring position with two outs. His high leverage OPS is .863 which is excellent. He struggles against power pitchers and crunches finesse pitchers. He's a bit of a puzzle with his hit trajectory. When he hits the ball, 69% of the time are either straight away or to the opposite field. But when he pulls the ball, his OPS is a whopping 1.868. And he is a much better hitter on the road (so far) than he is at home.
Mr. Stanton appears to be the real deal. His major league numbers mirror what he has done in the minors and at 21, he may have a better future than Jason Heyward. He strikes out way too much with a 34% strikeout rate to plate appearances. But other than that, this kid is going toe be really good.