Stanton callup a possibility for next week
Marlins unlikely to debut prospect in New York this weekend
MIAMI -- The Mike Stanton watch is officially under way.
The Marlins' most anticipated prospect since Miguel Cabrera broke into the big leagues at age 20 in 2003, Stanton is powering his way closer to the big leagues.
With 20 home runs and 50 RBIs at Double-A Jacksonville, Stanton is making a strong case to be promoted. It is a matter of time before the Marlins pull the trigger, but strong indications are it won't be until at least next week.
Speculation has run rampant about Stanton after he belted two home runs on Tuesday night in Jacksonville. Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest was at the game. There was a thought that Stanton could join the Marlins, perhaps as early as Thursday in their series finale at home with the Brewers.
The Marlins open a nine-game road trip against the Mets at Citi Field on Friday. According to a source, the team isn't leaning toward having the 20-year-old slugger debut in New York. The earliest possible date could be at Philadelphia on June 8. Another scenario could be to promote him on June 11 at Tampa Bay, where he could be the designated hitter.
For now, the arrival date is purely speculation.
Stanton, a 20-year-old sensation who is No. 3 on MLB.com's Top 50 Prospects List, was a second-round Draft pick in 2007. A three-sport athlete at Notre Dame High School in Southern California, Stanton once turned down a football scholarship to play for Pete Carroll at USC.
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound outfielder has 60 career Minor League home runs in 604 at-bats.
Offensively, Stanton is ready. The team is questioning whether he is ready defensively. He has played right field a majority of the time at Jacksonville. Of late, he's seen some action in left field.
Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez recently said he would anticipate Stanton batting seventh when he joins the team.
Whenever Stanton gets brought up, the Marlins will have a decision on what to do with their outfield. Chris Coghlan got off to a slow start, but in the past two weeks, he has heated up in the leadoff spot. Center fielder Cameron Maybin also has been up and down. Cody Ross is the regular right fielder, but he could switch to center field to make room for Stanton in right field.
Fast start fuels RBI machine Cantu
MIAMI -- Consistently driving in runs is as much mental as physical to the Marlins' Jorge Cantu.
The slugger notes that he currently ranks among the National League RBI leaders because he got off to a fast start.
Cantu entered Wednesday with 40 RBIs, which was second only to Milwaukee's Casey McGehee in the NL. Troy Glaus of the Braves also had 40.
Cantu plated a pair of runs in Florida's 7-4 loss on Wednesday, while McGehee and Glaus were held without an RBI, moving Cantu into the NL lead.
Cantu is having an All-Star-caliber season at third base. Voting is under way for the Midsummer Classic on www.marlins.com.
Cantu opened the season with at least one RBI and one hit in each of Florida's first 10 games, which set a Major League record. The importance of the hot start is it helped the infielder have a steady approach.
"I think it's very hard if you put yourself in a hole early in the season," Cantu said. "When you leave guys in scoring position, that gets in your head. I have enough experience to realize if things are going bad, a lot of stuff goes through your head."
Hitting cleanup, Cantu has a determined focus to not give RBI chances away. In years past, he looked to drive the ball, which often meant he'd pull it to left field. This year, he is striving to stay back and spray the ball to all fields. He showed that on Tuesday with a flare RBI double in the seventh inning which gave the Marlins the lead.
A year ago, Cantu reached 100 RBIs by getting hot in the final month. Now he's on pace for 122, which would be his career high. He drove in 117 with the Rays in 2005.
"You've got to keep grinding every at-bat," Cantu said.
Coghlan singing new tune at the plate
MIAMI -- There remains a lot of rebel in Chris Coghlan.
A former All-American in college with the Ole Miss Rebels, Coghlan has a new introduction song when he comes to the plate. He's used it the past two games, and is 6-for-10 with a four runs scored and three RBIs since making the switch.
Coghlan now goes to the plate to a song called "Rebel Intro," by a Christian rapper named Lecrae.
Since his rookie season in 2009, Coghlan had stepped in to the country tune "Song of the South," by Alabama.
"I'm not a superstitious guy, but I definitely got a little tired of hearing 'Song of the South,'" Coghlan said. "I changed it to Lecrae, the 'Rebel Intro.' He's a Christian rapper. I love his ministry and he's a cool guy. I like the song a lot."
Whatever works. Coghlan has been hot in his past eight games, raising his batting average to .237 from .210 on May 23.
Coghlan has also been raising his on-base percentage. One reason, he says, is he is not chasing the outside pitch as much.
"I'm swinging at strikes and taking the balls," Coghlan said. "And not getting out of your zone, no matter who is throwing. I think that's the biggest thing.
"Before, I don't think it was that I wasn't able to hit the outside pitch. I was just chasing more."
Effective changeup affecting Nunez's results
MIAMI -- Leo Nunez is offering a change of pace that has hitters shaking their heads.
It happened on Tuesday night when Nunez flipped a changeup that froze Rickie Weeks for strike three. Weeks questioned the call with home-plate umpire Chad Fairchild.
Replays showed the pitch break from the outside part of the plate over to the inside.
"My changeup now is my best ever," Nunez said.
Nunez quietly is emerging as one of the most reliable closers in the National League. The right-hander has saved 11 of 13 chances, including seven in a row.
Armed with a 95-mph fastball, Nunez has a changeup that is a plus pitch. And his slider, his third-best pitch, is pretty effective.
If Nunez has a strong June, he could gain consideration for the All-Star Game. Matt Capps of the Nationals leads the NL with 19 saves. But his ERA is 2.88.
Nunez has a 1.99 ERA, and he is one of six NL relievers with a sub-2.00 ERA. The others are Heath Bell (1.17), Jonathan Broxton (1.16), Carlos Marmol (1.44), Ryan Franklin (1.85) and Billy Wagner (1.77).
"I have more of a feel now for my changeup," Nunez said. "I work hard on it every day."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.