NEW YORK -- Ozzie Guillen was only a couple months into his managerial career with the Marlins in 2012 when he told reporters he worried Giancarlo Stanton might actually kill somebody one day -- a pitcher or third baseman -- with one of the laser-shots that come flying off his bat.
Guillen, now working for ESPN and set to broadcast Monday night's Home Run Derby at Target Field in Spanish for ESPNDeportes, upgraded his prediction on Thursday to include shortstops, too.
"I don't want to know how many Giancarlo is going to hit. I want to see how far he's going to hit one," Guillen said during a teleconference with reporters Thursday to preview Monday's derby. "That's what I'm waiting for."
Guillen, who managed Stanton the first time he made the All-Star team but didn't go because he had to have knee surgery, said he's been impressed with what he has seen from Stanton from afar over the last two years particularly this season with Casey McGehee, Marcel Ozuna and others providing more protection in the lineup.
"He's matured a lot," Guillen said. "He's learning how to hit. Besides that, I think there's a little more protection now for him than when I was managing him. This kid is still learning the process of the strike zone. But this kid is so powerful even when he makes a mistake hitting he still hits the ball hard.
"If he learns how to strike out less and he learns what it takes not to chase bad pitches, little by little he's going to become one of the superstars in the game."
Like Guillen, ESPN analyst John Kruk, who was also on the conference call, said Stanton is the player he is most looking forward to seeing in the derby Monday. Guillen said he's never seen a batter in the game hit the ball as hard as Stanton does. Asked for a comparison to a previous great who hit the ball nearly as hard, Kruk could only come up with former Marlin Gary Sheffield as a distant comparison.
"Gary was a guy who hit the ball hard like that too, but he's not as big as Giancarlo," Kruk said. "Giancarlo is a tight end. He looks like Tony Gonzalez. He's built like Tony Gonzalez. He's just a huge man."
For as little attention as the Marlins receive nationally -- except when one of Stanton's mammoth blasts makes SportsCenter -- Monday night might be the first real opportunity many baseball fans get a real glimpse of Stanton up close and personal.
Although the Marlins have repeatedly said they are not shopping Stanton and are interested in signing him long term, a big night at the Home Run Derby and a complete, healthy MVP-caliber season this year is only going to continue to raise his trade stock and asking price.
I asked both analysts what they thought Stanton, who leads the National League in home runs and RBI, could net the Marlins right now if they wanted to trade him.
"Well, what it's going to take probably is a No. 1 starter and I don't think teams are ready to give up a No. 1 starter for a right fielder," Kruk said. "It can't be a No. 3 and a minor league prospect. It's going to take a No. 1. Hypothetical, if the Dodgers called and all of their outfielders were hurt again and they wanted Giancarlo, it would take someone like a Zack Grienke; not a Kershaw. But a Grienke and a a top prospect or two to get some one like him."
Said Guillen: "I think whoever they're going to make the trade with it wouldn't be for a top minor leaguer. It has to be a guy that's on the big league roster helping the team, playing everyday. I'm not saying they should trade him to New York or whatever. But if this kid played in New York or Boston or Texas he would be healthier, he would produce more. Marlins Park is so huge. If he got traded to one of those places he might hit 70 [homers]. Like John said, to make a trade, I don't think anybody is prepared to make a trade with the Marlins because they could get a lot of good players for him."