Few prospects posses the enormous raw power that Mike Stanton has. The Florida Marlins outfielder has hit a grand total of 67 home runs in his first two full minor league seasons before the age of 20. He was recently rated the number three prospect in all of baseball by MLB Network.
The 6’5 righty was an incredible athlete in high school and had committed to play both football and baseball at USC before signing with the Marlins as a second round pick in 2007.
In just over 1000 career minor league at bats Stanton has compiled a .267/.354/.593 average. Although he has shown a propensity to strikeout (31.7 percent), which is obviously a concern, he has posted a decent walk rate (10.5 percent) and the ability to work the count.
The Marlins challenged Stanton during the 2009 season with a mid-season promotion to Double-A and he appeared to be slightly overmatched, which is not out of the ordinary for a 19-year old. He posted a remarkable .433 wOBA in 210 plate appearances in Advanced-A but this number dipped to .344 in 341 PA in Double-A. Despite his relative struggles after the promotion he still flashed his power by posting a .224 ISO
Stanton has power to all fields and several reports have him as an 80 power on the scouting scale. You can get a sense of how far he can hit the ball from these spray charts (2008 and 2009) courtesy of minor league splits.
His defense has also been improving. Although he is not a base stealer he does have pretty good speed and range in the outfield and his arm plays well in right field. Total Zone had him pegged as a +9 right fielder in ’09.
His frame is still thin and he could potentially add more muscle and power as he matures physically. The amazing thing about Stanton is that he is still so raw. He will become a more fluid and advanced hitter as he grows into his body. With more at bats in the minors he will be able to refine his swing and cut down his strikeouts. Florida always seems to develop young prospects nicely and I expect they will take caution in monitoring Stanton’s progress. He will likely start out 2010 in Double-A again and he may reach the majors by late 2011. He projects as a solid right fielder and middle of the order run producer for the Marlins.