Marlins set to promote Stanton in Philly
Double-A sensation getting his callup at ripe age of 20
NEW YORK -- Not since Miguel Cabrera was a 20-year-old Minor League sensation have the Marlins had a prospect as highly touted as Mike Stanton.
Like Cabrera in 2003, Stanton is going to make his big league debut at age 20.
The Marlins announced on Sunday that, effective on Tuesday, they will select the contract of Stanton from Double-A Jacksonville. A buzz about Stanton's arrival came early Sunday afternoon when he wasn't in the Suns' lineup at Montgomery.
With the Marlins coming off a sweep at the hands off the Mets at Citi Field, they are looking to re-energize their season. The power-hitting outfielder enters the picture as one of the hyped prospects the organization has had.
Wearing No. 27 in the big leagues, Stanton will make his debut Tuesday when the Marlins open a three-game series with the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
Tempering large expectations for the 6-foot-5, 235-pounder will be one of manager Fredi Gonzalez's challenges.
"I'm happy for him. He did what we asked him to do, which was go down there to Double-A and dominate, and he did that," Gonzalez said. "Now I'm happy for the young man to come out and be part of this team and help us. Not to carry us. Not to be the Roy Hobbs, but to help us as a Major Leaguer."
For months, Stanton's bat has spoken loudly at Jacksonville. In 52 games with the Suns, he belted 21 homers and drove in 52 runs while batting .311.
The Marlins haven't officially said how Stanton's presence impacts their outfield. But since he primarily played right field at Jacksonville, he is projected to stay there with Cody Ross sliding over to center field and Chris Coghlan in left field.
Cameron Maybin, who is batting .225, is expected to see his time in center field limited. Stanton also can play left field.
Stanton is the No. 3-ranked prospect in the game, according to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo's survey, which was announced in January on the MLB Network.
Also on Sunday, the Marlins announced they are recalling infielder Emilio Bonifacio and right-handed pitcher Rick VandenHurk from Triple-A New Orleans. VandenHurk, a starter in the Minor Leagues, will be used out of the bullpen.
Outfielder Brett Carroll and reliever Tim Wood were optioned to Triple-A.
To clear a 40-man roster spot for Stanton, Mike Lamb, who had been the lefty bat off the bench, was designated for assignment.
Stanton, like Cabrera, was promoted from Double-A in June. On June 20, 2003, Cabrera belted a walk-off home run in his first MLB game.
As a prospect, Stanton isn't the pure overall hitter as is Cabrera. But he may have more natural power potential.
The Marlins' players are familiar with Stanton, because he has been to big league camp in Spring Training the past two seasons. This spring, he showed flashes of his power, belting three home runs in Grapefruit League games.
"He might ignite a little intensity and a little fire in us," Ross said. "We've been hearing a lot about him. You don't want to put too much pressure on him. You're not expecting him to come up here and do what he did down in Double-A for two months.
"You want him to come up and help us out any way he can. We all believe that he can. He's a great talent. He's going to be a big addition to our lineup. He's going to be fun to watch play ... finally."
A three-sport athlete at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Calif., Stanton once was offered a football scholarship at USC. Pete Carroll personally recruited him as a wide receiver or tight end. He also was a basketball standout, but the Marlins were able to convince him to play baseball.
Florida selected Stanton in the second round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. Signed for a $475,000 bonus, he potentially could be one of the biggest bargains in franchise history.
"There is a lot of hype around him," Dan Uggla said. "I think he's going to be fine. He's a very humble kid with a huge amount of talent. He's going to work hard and hopefully be able to help us out."
In recent weeks, Gonzalez said he projects Stanton will start off hitting seventh, or possibly second. That may change, however, especially if Hanley Ramirez hits leadoff.
After batting third all season, Ramirez was in the leadoff spot in Sunday's 7-6 loss to the Mets at Citi Field.
If Ramirez bats first on Tuesday, Stanton perhaps would bat sixth in his big league debut.
When Cabrera was promoted in 2003, he batted eighth in his first big league game.
At Jacksonville, Stanton hit third.
Wherever the slugger fits in, his teammates are just wanting him to be himself.
"He's got his own expectations for himself," Uggla said. " You [media] guys are going to create your own expectations for him. The world of media. Everyone is going to expect him to hit a home run in every at-bat. We don't expect that."
Such optimism is understandable because Stanton has hit a home run -- on average -- every 9.05 at-bats at Jacksonville. Throughout his Minor League career, he has hit monstrous home runs.
In 714 career Minor League at-bats, Stanton has 61 homers, or a home run every 11.7 at-bats.
"We hope he picks up. Makes the adjustment and plays hard. That's all we're going to ask of him."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.