May 28, 2010, 1:45 PM EDT
While the baseball world tries to pin down Stephen Strasburg’s debut, another elite prospect could be on the verge of the majors. Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports that the Marlins may call up 20-year-old outfielder Mike Stanton as soon as June 5.
Picked in the second round of the 2007 draft out of high school, Stanton has emerged as perhaps baseball’s premier power-hitting prospect. Stanton blasted 67 homers in his first two pro seasons, which led all minor leaguers in 2008 and 2009, and has been on fire at Double-A this season with 17 homers and 44 RBIs in 43 games.
Better yet he’s hitting .306 after coming into the season with a .267 career batting average and is walking far more than ever before while cutting down on his strikeouts. Stanton is still six months from his 21st birthday, but hitting .306 with a .440 on-base percentage and .706 slugging percentage at Double-A has likely forced the Marlins’ to speed up his timetable.
Frisaro notes that Stanton has been playing left field recently after previously being a right fielder, which is noteworthy because the Marlins currently have the reigning Rookie of the Year in left field. However, Chris Coghlan is hitting just .218 with a .544 OPS and has the defensive versatility to get into the lineup elsewhere. Another option to make room for Stanton would be moving Cody Ross to center field and benching or demoting Cameron Maybin, who’s hitting just .234 with a .641 OPS.
Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez told Frisaro that Stanton will likely begin his career batting seventh, saying: “I don’t want him feeling he’s the a savior who’s here to save the season.” Maybe not, but as soon as his service time has been sufficiently suppressed Stanton’s arrival will be shaking up the 24-24 team.