Friday, February 13, 2009

3. Michael Stanton

3. Michael Stanton - Outfield - 6'5 - 225lbs - Throws: Right - Bats: Right
(last year: 12)

Arguably the best athlete in the entire draft, Michael Stanton was a three sport start (baseball, football, basketball) at Notre Dame Academy. Recruited by Southern Cal as a wide receiver/defensive back, the Marlins inked him to a $475,000 signing bonus (about $60,000 over slot). The main issue with USC was that they wanted him to play baseball, and would allow him to walk-on to the football team. (UNLV offered him a full football ride with a chance to play baseball). Right away the Marlins thought they got an enormous steal being able to draft Stanton in the second round of the 2007 draft.

There wasn’t much to take from his 56 at bats between the Gulf Coast League and Jamestown in his professional debut. He struck out too many times, but atleast he did walk 4 times. In postseason minicamp, He hit a couple of mammoth homeruns and some compared him to Pat Burrell while others said he was a young Dave Winfield. Stanton is as raw as you can get in terms of where he is right now as a baseball player. He was overmatched in the 2006 summer showcases, even with improved pitch recognition throughout the year. The Marlins were a bit surprised with how well he ran, but considering he was going to play WR, they shouldn’t have been. The 6′5 monster projects as a corner outfielder with an average arm.

2008 was a massive coming out party for Stanton. In 468 at bats, he hit .293/.381/.611 with an astonishing 39 homeruns for the Low-A Greensboro Grasshoppers. Those numbers are amazing at any level, let alone for an 18 year old starting his first year of full season ball. While he walked 58 times, something to keep an eye on is the 153 strikeouts which is also a very large amount at any level. Even with the strikeouts, Stanton put himself in the top 50 prospects in all of baseball. Prospect guru John Sickels gave this analogy for Stanton’s high risk/high reward prospect status: His ceiling his very high, but there is a huge risk of a Soviet N-1 moon-rocket-style flameout at higher levels. To make a long story short of the N-1, it was potential unfulfilled once the Americans reached the moon.

Michael takes his 39 homeruns to the Florida State League, along with teammate and bash brother Matt Dominguez for 2009. The FSL and especially their home park in Jupiter has been known to be pitcher’s paradises. Stanton has to not press when his usual moonshots are just warning track flyouts. With the pitchers in the league being much better than the South Atlantic League, it will be interesting to see if he can do anything about the massive amount of strikeouts. We’ve seen players have huge years in Low-A, only to be knocked off their pedestal in High-A ball. Either way, it’s going to be an important season in the maturation of Michael Stanton.


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