The Florida Marlins are clearly out of the playoff race. They are currently fourth in the National League East and have no shot in the Wild-Card race with teams such as Atlanta, San Francisco, and Colorado playing terrifically. Even though the present looks bleak for the Fish, the future certainly looks bright.
That future starts with 20 year-old rookie Mike Stanton. At 6'5" and 240 pounds of solid steel, Stanton, whose birth name is Michael Giancarlo Cruz, is built more like an NFL tight-end than an outfielder. Considering he has only played in 85 games and has 309 at-bats, Stanton's numbers are fantastic. He has 20 HRs and 50 RBIs to go along with a .516 slugging percentage. His .247 average is not too bad considering his age and experience level.
An interesting fact about Stanton is that his 20 home runs ties Tyler Colvin's for the most as a rookie. The thing about that is Colvin has played in 134 games. If you tracked Stanton's numbers over a full season, he would easily have 40 home runs and well over 100 RBIs. One should also consider that Stanton would need only one more home run to tie Florida's Hanley Ramirez and Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria with 21.
Looking at these facts and figures, it is easy to see why baseball pundits have said Stanton will lead the MLB in home runs for years to come. He will not only be in the Home Run Derby, but will be an All-Star for years to come. Mike Stanton is one of many young prospects who are making the game of baseball more exciting and enthralling. Since everyone loves the long ball, baseball fans will love this California native.
By the time the Marlins move into their $541 million dollar home in 2012, they will once again be a playoff team if they can keep their core group of Stanton, Ramirez, Dan Uggla, Logan Morrison, Gaby Sanchez together. They must also continue to draft and develop better players and help players such as Cameron Maybin reach their full potential. Once guys like Matt Dominguez and Chad James get called-up, the Marlins will have the weapons they need to compete against the Phillies and Braves.