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McKeon: Stanton could become 30/30 threat with speed and power

     CHICAGO -- Mike Stanton put on a power display for 40,000 plus at Wrigley Field on Saturday, pounding his 19th and 20th home runs off Carlos Zambrano to confirm his status as a slugger. But Jack McKeon is intent on turning Stanton into a "complete player,"not just a one-dimensional ball crusher.

      "I told him, 'You can be a 30/30 guy, easy,'" McKeon said. "I've just got to sell him on the idea that this is what you've got to do."

       Despite his imposing frame, Stanton possesses natural speed. He was a wide receiver in high school. He's just never been asked to utilize his speed as a base-stealing threat.

       Stanton was slowed by a quad injury at the start of the season and never attempted a stolen base under Rodriguez. Since McKeon took over, though, he has been successful on three of five stolen base attempts.

        "Once  learn how to steal bases, I think I can (steal more)," Stanton said. "I just need to learn."

        Said McKeon: "He needs a little polish on the bases. But that’s because he has not had that much experience. I gave him the steal sign one night a while back and he stood there standing up. I was like, 'Get in position to steal.' All of a sudden, 'Boom!' He steals it easy. This guy has so much explosive speed. His first step, you can’t believe."

        But McKeon said he wants Stanton to become more consistent as a hitter, too.

       "I'd like to see him put the ball in play, because when he puts the ball in play, he hits it hard," McKeon said. "Just have to cut down on some of strikeouts, become a little more selective. Like today he was great. And some other day he'll be terrible. Some other time you'll see him strike out four times. Looks like he's lost."

Comments

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Nacional

I agree with jack. Sometimes he looks lost, but 30-30 no way.

andy

keep buck on bench hes a rally killer

Samsons Boyfriend

Jacks smoking something other than cigars if he believes Stanton will be a 30/30 guy..

laurelbowie

Not sure why you guys think 30/30 is out of the question for Stanton. He'll hit 30 homers by accident. Once he starts hitting for average and taking a walk now and then, 30 steals isn't out of the question. He's going to need a good teacher and it won't happen next year, but it'll come. He's been running way too timidly this year, I think, because Conine lectured him that good players have to get out there even with nagging injuries and learn to play within themselves to keep from aggravating their problems. But when he's healthy, he's got enough speed to steal some bases — and 30 isn't really that many when you think about it.

Stan M

I'm not big on this whole 30/30 thing. To me it fits in the same statistical category as the "save situation." Darryl Strawberry ran the Mets out of more than one rally going for meaningless stolen bases to get to 30/30. I think some base stealers are stealing for the stat and not necessarily for the game situation. Vince Coleman used to hit what could have been doubles but stoped at first base; then stole second. If Stanton steals because we need a steal...fine. If he starts to go for a stat, no good. Frankly, to date, I don't think he's that "type" of ballplayer.

Sanford Hall

He's got power and speed. Jack knows baseball.

Samsons Boyfriend

Stanton stealing 30 bases in a season is laughable at this point..anybody seen him go from 1st to 3rd or run down a fly ball in the gap and say, Wow, he's really fast...Me neither,and Ive seen him play,in person, over 60 plus times.By the way,Hanley did it once,in 08,when he it lead-off..

'witz

A lot of times, though it may seem like stealing for the stats, it can have a greater strategic and psychological value. You keep the pitcher throwing to first base to keep you close, the first baseman is playing close when he should be wide, the shortstop and second baseman are leaving holes in the infield for the next batter and finally the pitcher makes a wild throw to first. The runner's now on third base, the pitcher's arm is tiring, the bullpen's in a hurry, etc.

laurelbowie

Samson,
I agree that it looks like Stanton has been running at about three-quarter speed all year, and I've assumed he had a lingering quad problem. Maybe he needs McKeon to kick-start him. I saw him play a lot last year and he looked pretty damn fast to me.

rbleigh

Sorry, have zero desire in Stanton being a 30 steal guy. I'd rather him pull a hammy on a freak incident home run trot than jam a wrist or an ankle sliding into second. This guy is not meant to steal bases and it would be a horrible managerial decision to turn him into a steals guy.

Samsons Boyfriend

In Stantons' entire Pro career,going on 5 years..512 games...16 stolen bases..caught stealing 9 times...Dont think ,at the Big League level, its now time to teach him to become a Conseco on the base paths...

laurelbowie

Stanton's 21 years old. A lot of guys are still swinging aluminum bats at his age. The fact is, they shouldn't be teaching him to hit at the Big League level, either, but that's the way they've decided to play it. He should still be in the minors, learning his craft — including the art of baserunning. He's got a lot of years left (not with the Marlins, of course) and if they can turn a one-dimensional player into a two-dimensional or three-dimensional player, I say go for it. That way, they may get more for him when they trade him away to save a buck.

laurelbowie

You'll note that I said they MAY get more for him.

Mark

There hasn't been a player that has really "shocked" his way to 30 steals over the last decade. You'd have to go back to Jeff Bagwell to find a player that had the record that Stanton did as far as stealing bases so early in his career and then went on to steal 30 bases. Click on the link to my name for an article I wrote in response to this on my blog.

laurelbowie

Mark,
Interesting stuff. I'll be a regular reader from now on.

Stan M

'witz,
Just got to read your post. I would differentiate between trying to make a player like Stanton into a 30/30 man and a player like Bono who not only can steal, but has the power to disrupt. Furthermore, they bat in different places in the order. Joe Morgan, that horrible announcer, stole many bases and I bet Clark can verify that they were accomplished for a strategic reason rather than to just pump up his stats. Incidently, Jackie Robinson never stole as many as 40 bases, yet he was by many multiples, the most disruptive man on the bases that I ever saw. He put more fear in the opposition than any of those 100+ SB guys. Also someone above mentioned Stanton's leg problems and that's also a major factor. I say let the guy concentrate on hitting and if he steals a base once in a while...fine

oneatatime

between the leg and vision problems we have only seen Stanton scratch the surface of his amazing talents. If you check his stats, they are remarkably similar to last year, but again he is only 21 and seems to possess the maturity to get to the level that Jack is talking about.

Will he ever get to 30/30? I would be thrilled with 40/20, which would suggest that he is slugger first, but teams would be less likely to pitch around him if it meant a walk would likely put him on second base.

Stan M

40-20 makes more sense than 30-30. But It seems to me that if we split up that 60, it would look a lot better at 45-15 or even 50-10. We also must remember that sliding can lead to broken fingers or strained wrists if head first, or twisted ankles if feet first. He's on the team to hit with power; the manager shouldn't be putting such thoughts in his head. At least not in my opinion.

Clark

I'm not sure Jack really believes Stanton is a 30/30 guy. Heck, Jack could care less about stats. 40/20 is probably more realistic. But I think the point McKeon is really making here is that he wants Stanton to at least start THINKING about the stolen base a little more often. And 'witz is right. If Stanton starts stealing bases, even occasionally, it'll have a trickle-down effect on the way it's handled by opponents. They'll no longer be able to simply ignore him on the bases, the way they've been doing.

-- Clark

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