Mike Stanton is on his way to the Florida Marlins.
No, not that Mike Stanton.
It's the 20-year-old Los Angeles native, an outfielder currently in the Florida Marlins farm system.
Several outlets have recently announced that Florida would call up Stanton sometime next week. Some say they might be rushing the young outfielder who can't even legally consume alcohol yet, but who can blame them for rushing? In 50 games this season at double-A Jacksonville, Stanton is hitting .299 with 20 HR and 51 RBI.
While Mr. Stanton will be given a starting job in the outfield from day one, that also means that one of the current Marlins outfielders will be losing a very decent amount of playing time.
Florida isn't calling this kid up just to give him a taste; they plan on keeping him here.
Florida's current three starting outfielders are Chris Coghlan, Cameron Maybin, and Cody Ross, from left-to-right.
In less than a week, one of those starting outfielders will be a fourth outfielder.
So who's the most likely candidate to take a seat while Stanton gets to show off his stuff?
Let's look at each guy's credentials.
.254 BA, 3 HR, 15 RBI
He was the NL Rookie of the Year in 2009, leading the entire National League in hitting in the second half of last year.
He certainly didn't look like ROY material in the beginning of 2010, batting just .195 with 3 RBI in the first month of the season.
He's definitely straightened up since, though.
In his past 26 games, he's hitting .310 with 11 RBI, mostly coming out of the one or two-hole in the lineup. He's also been reliable in left field, recording five outfield assists and only one error on the season, thus far.
.227 BA, 5 HR, 19 RBI
Talk about a long way to fall.
In 2005, Maybin was tabbed the third-best hitting prospect in the MLB draft. Two years after being selected 10th overall by the Detroit Tigers, he was traded after the 2007 season, as one of the main cogs in a package that netted the Tigers Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis from the Marlins.
Maybin has disappointed in his first three years in Florida thus far, hitting only .261 with 9 HR and 33 RBI in 110 games. He's still only 23, so his talent is still extremely attractive to keep in the lineup.
.299 BA, 5 HR, 30 RBI
The veteran of the three current outfielders, 29-year-old had a career year in 2009, nailing 24 homers with 90 RBI. Ross has been a starting outfielder for Florida since 2008, which is seniority, which might give him an edge in keeping his job once Stanton finds his way to the bigs.
The only downside the Marlins could see to keeping Ross in the starting outfield would be they see the potential of Coghlan and Maybin to be more valuable than the assets they already know they would get from Ross.
Coghlan has proven he can hit big league pitching for an extended period of time, and that swing of Maybin that had scouts calling him one of the best players in the 2005 draft has to still be there somewhere... right?
Not an easy call for Marlins' manager Fredi Gonzalez to make. But it's sure an easy call for me to make, because I don't have to make the lineup card everyday.
In my opinion, Maybin has struggled for a little too long to be ignored now. Very few players come up to the majors, struggle mightily for the first few seasons as Maybin has done, and then have successful big league careers.
Coghlan is a current .301 career hitter and maybe the best defensive outfielder on the team right now, so you'd be crazy to take him out.
Ross is currently the right fielder, but can easily move over to center field to accommodate Mike Stanton, who is also a right fielder.
These next couple of years will be Ross' prime, and when he gave you decent power and RBI numbers last year, it's not fair to sit him either.
Maybin has performed the worst of the three, it's just a fact. It's not in the stats, but as a nightly viewer of MLB highlights, I can't tell you how many times I've seen Maybin overrun or misjudge a fly ball in the outfield.
When Stanton gets called up within the next few days, Maybin should be the one to take a seat.
If he's not, it'll be a pretty big injustice, because the choice wouldn't have been made due to baseball priorities.
Sorry Cameron, but right now, you are the weakest link.
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