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Stanton heads down, but leaves impression

FORT MYERS -- The Marlins sent ultra-talented 20-year old outfielder Mike Stanton back down to Double A Jacksonville Wednesday. But the question isn't why the organization's top prospect is heading back to the minors. Rather, it's how long will Marlins fans have to wait to see him in the bigs.

If you go off manager Fredi Gonzalez's remarks from this morning, it might not be very long at all. 

Mike Stanton "We sent him down, but he'll let us know when he's ready," Gonzalez said Wednesday before his team began warming up to take on the Minnesota Twins at Hammond Stadium. "It's just a matter of him getting some at-bats and putting up some numbers or decapitating somebody down there. Maybe the league president will say get this guy out of here before he hurts somebody."

Stanton hurt a few big league pitchers in his second spring with the big league club. In 24 at-bats, he showed the raw power that made him Baseball American's third best prospect in the game, slugging three home runs and driving in eight RBI while hitting .333 in seven games played. He also made an impression on Gonzalez with his defense and his work ethic.

"Big strides," Gonzalez said comparing Stanton's first spring to this spring performance. "This guy has great recognition of the strike zone. He's gotten so much better in the outfield from last year. It's just a matter now of getting some at-bats, more game time, more experience because he is close to being a major leaguer, real close."

> BAKER IN NEED OF AT-BATS: Catcher John Baker will get four much-needed at-bats this afternoon against the Twins as a designated hitter before getting a start at catcher up the road Thursday against the Red Sox. Baker, hampered by a right forearm strain for most of the spring, has only caught two games to date -- the exhibition opener against the University of Miami and a game against the Washington Nationals Saturday. A few hours after his return, he came down with a strong stomach virus late Saturday night that caused him to drop between 10 to 15 pounds and left him weak when he returned to camp Tuesday.

John Baker "My stomach feels much better today than yesterday," Baker said Wednesday. "Yesterday I was having a tough time just sitting on the bench, my stomach was bothering me.

"I'm definitely ready to feel healthy and play baseball. This spring training has sucked for me... I've been really frustrated. This is what I love to do and I haven't been able to play."

Baker estimates between simulated games and a few in the minors he's been able to put together 17 at-bats. According to his Grapefruit League stats, he's two for four. He said he'd like to play in six to seven of the Marlins final spring games so he can get to about 50 at-bats, the same number he had a year ago.

"It's more about getting your timing down," Baker said. "I spent three days a week in the offseason catching with Tim Cousins. It's not like I showed up not having played since the season ended. I feel comfortable behind the plate... And it's just all about making sure I'm ready to play nine innings. That's where I want to be, not frustrated, out on the field, playing pain free baseball that's my goal."

Comments

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Hector

garbage! im going to the game on sunday in jupiter...wanted to see stanton...why wouldnt you do this at the end of spring training....great now i get to see the marlins starters for 2 innings and then the back ups for rest of game. at least we got BC to watch.

emerio

the marlins are afraid of having Stanton be too good and then not be able to afford him. he is not going to be the best kept secret of the marlins for much longer. every major league team knows that this guy exists. it is only a matter of time before the marlins get rid of him.

downandot

Emerio they own this guy for next 5-6 years and most likely if he hits like like Cabrera or Hanley then they will ink him in 2nd season to 5 or 6 year deal. Similar to what may be done with Maybin and Coughlin some time this year. Marlins spending for new ballpark talent will most likely be on core of their young talent similar to Oakland, Minnesota and Tampa Bay. Remember once you have a dome with air more people will attend and more you can expect more out of town guests following their teams to South Florida than in past because of year round party atmosphere of South Florida. The hardest thing to gage with this ownership group is long term contracts and pitching. At some point your will need to sign Nolasco or Anabal Sanchez if you view them as top shelp pitching. Because as we see all out young pitchers are highly inconsistent.

stefan

thank you for that reasonable analysis, downadot. People like Emerio are so quick to talk about how the Marlins "ship off anyone good". Talk about not being able to let go! You are exactly right that if Stanton plays well they will sign him before he ever hits arbitration (Emerio are you even at all aware with the arbitration proces???! And have you not noticed that we signed Hanley and JJ???).

Downadot, I think they will definitely sign Nolasco to a 3 year contract if he performs this year (not 4 like JJ - they'll use that as a barganing chip saying Nolasco isn't quite JJ material). Anibal, however will need to put in 2 consistent years in order to be considered long term. He just hasn't earned it yet.

eric

Here's to hoping that Stanton decapitates someone in Double A soon so we can see him in the majors.

Best Fredi quote ever.

James

i think stanton comes back up in late june, early july just to make sure he is commanding the strike zone and not swinging at bad pitches

funny about the decapitating thing though since he almost did it to my little cousin...he hit the ball with his glove before it hit him the face...the center fielder caught the ball...thats what we call powerful folks

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