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Stanton on pace for 54 HRs, 227 RBI in 2014; Slowey to start Sunday

Giancarlo Stanton earned himself $6.5 million in his first year of arbitration this past off-season.

It's hard to fathom what the Marlins are going to have to pay him if he keeps up his current pace.

After 15 games, the 24-year old former All-Star is hitting .317 with five homers, 12 runs scored and 21 RBI -- by far his best start to a season ever. The RBI total leads the majors.

At this rate, if he plays in all 162 games for the Marlins this season, Stanton will finish with 54 homers, 130 runs scored, 227 RBI and 20 stolen bases.

Of course, history has shown us Stanton has yet to get through a big league season completely healthy. He missed 85 combined games with injuries over the last two seasons after playing in 150 games in 2011. But a healthy Stanton sure is pretty scary to watch.

The first month of the season has usually been horrendous for Stanton. Between March and April in his first three full big league seasons (2011-2013), he combined to hit .236 with 27 RBI and six homers in 57 games. This season has obviously been different.

According to Fangraphs, Stanton is seeing more pitches in the strike zone (40.4 percent) compared to last season, when he finished second with the fewest strikes thrown to him (38.2 percent).

He's also being more aggressive than he was a year ago, swinging at 47.1 percent of the pitches thrown to him compared to 41.5. During his All-Star season of 2012, Stanton swung at 48.4 percent of the pitches thrown to him ,and saw 44.8 percent of those pitches thrown in the strike zone.


Skipper Mike Redmond said veteran right-hander Kevin Slowey will start Sunday's game against the Mariners. 

It might be the only time Slowey is needed in the rotation. The Marlins, off Thursday before opening a three-game series Friday at Marlins Park against the Seattle Mariners, have a day off between series next week in Atlanta and New York, and then another day of rest before they return home to face the Braves on April 29. 

Redmond said he and pitching coach Chuck Hernandez opted to not move Tuesday night winner Tom Koehler into Sunday's slot on five days rest because they wanted their staff to line up accordingly against the Braves next week and other teams down the road. Koehler is slated to start Monday night in Atlanta, followed by Jose Fernandez and Nathan Eovaldi.

By the time the Marlins get back from the road trip, right-hander Jacob Turner could be back from the disabled list. Turner, out with a strained right shoulder, played catch from 60 feet on Tuesday and played catch again Wednesday. Redmond said Turner will throw a bullpen Friday before being reevaluated.

Slowey went 1-6 with a 4.21 ERA in 14 starts for the Marlins last season. Redmond said left-hander Brad Hand, who had back-to-back starts that didn't make it past the fourth inning, will head back to the bullpen to serve as the long reliever.

> Redmond said he's hearing nothing but positive reports regarding second baseman Rafael Furcal, who is down on rehab assignment in Jupiter and isn't expected back until May 6th. "I've heard he's feeling great, doing good. He's running around really well. He's playing good defense. That part of it is very encouraging," Redmond said. 

> Stanton (21) and Casey McGehee (13) have combined to drive in 34 runs over the first 15 games of the season, the most RBI among any two teammates in the Majors. The duo has recorded the most combined RBI by a set of teammates over the first 15 games of any season in Marlins history, two better than Juan Encarnacio (17) and Miguel Cabrera (15) in 2005. The last set of teammates in the Majors to record 34+ RBI through the first 15 games of the season were Prince Fielder (19) and MIguel Cabrera (17) of Detroit, and John Buck (20) and David Wright (14) of the Mets, last season.


> Marlins (6-9): 1. Christian Yelich LF, 2. Marcell Ozuna CF, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Garrett Jones 1B, 5. Casey McGehee 3B, 6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia C, 7. Derek Dietrich 2B, 8. Adeiny Hechavarria SS, 9. Jose Fernandez RHP.

> Nationals (8-6): 1. Anthony Rendon 3B, 2. Bryce Haroer LF, 3. Jayson Werth RF, 4. Adam LaRoche 1B, 5. Ian Desmond SS, 6. Danny Espinosa 2B, 7. Nate McLouth CF, 8. Jose Lobaton C, 9. Tanner Roark RHP.