With Jason Heyward eating medium leverage situations for breakfast in the big leagues, and Jesus Montero still trying to find his way as a 20-year-old in Triple, the Marlins’ Mike Stanton has grabbed the crown as the “best hitter in the minor leagues” and run away with it. The 20-year-old outfielder smacked three homeruns yesterday afternoon, giving him five within the last 30 hours or so. His ISO stands at .462 this morning, and his walk rate has risen up to match his usually high strikeout rate in the early going. Obviously, small sample size warnings apply.
After a 341 plate appearance cameo with Florida’s Double-A affiliate last year (.344 wOBA), they sent him back there this year, but if he keeps doing what he’s doing now (.495 wOBA by my calculation), it’s won’t be long before they bump him up to Triple-A. Once that happens, it’s only a matter of time before he surfaces with the big league team.
Chris Coghlan has yet to find the BABIP magic he had during his Rookie of the Year campaign last season, and his wOBA sits at just .182. Cameron Maybin is a bit iffy with concussion-like symptoms after colliding with teammate Gaby Sanchez, though he did suit up last night. The Marlins certainly have some need for another outfielder, but whether or not they decide to promote their best prospect will probably end up being a matter of future payroll.
Since the season is already more than two weeks old, Stanton’s free agency has already been pushed back bya year. However, if the Marlins wanted to push back his arbitration years before calling him up, they would have to wait until the end of May, which doesn’t help us fantasy owners any.
If there’s any prospect in the game that could come up and have a Ryan Braun-like impact in the second half as a rookie, it’s Stanton. He might not hit for average right away (or ever), but the power is off the charts (.283 ISO in the minors), and the RBI opportunities will be there with guys like Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, and Sanchez (.399 combined OBP) in the lineup. Stanton is still available in all most leagues, and if you have a particularly deep bench, or are willing to carry a dead spot for a month, then by all means go out and grab him before the rush. Otherwise, keep an Florida’s outfield situation over the next few weeks, and get ready to pounce once they appear to have a need. He’s an option in all leagues.
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