Giancarlo Stanton Scouting Report (2009)
As the 2009 “Sally” season came to a close, baseball was still being played in Jacksonville as the AA Marlins affiliate made the Southern League playoffs. After seeing Mike Stanton not put a ball in play (3 walks, 1 strikeout) a month earlier, I felt compelled to take a second look. While I can not say Stanton’s power was on full display, what I did see was enough for me to firmly cement him as the best power hitting prospect I have ever seen.
Physique & Athleticism: Stanton’s listed height/weight of 6’5″, 205 lbs. seemed on the light side as I would have pegged him at 220 or so. An awesome physical specimen, his future physical projection is off the charts as he has the frame to add significant size with extremely long limbs to boot. He towered over his outfield counterparts during the “National Anthem”.
Athletically, Stanton is still growing into his body and his movements can be a bit stiff and awkward; especially in the outfield. As he continues to mature, I expect his baseball movements will become more compact which should help in a number of areas including his swing.
Offense: With 68 minor league home runs before his twentieth birthday, Mike Stanton’s power in the low minors is of historic proportion. As somebody who saw the quality of “Sally” pitching first hand, along with the number of 18-year old prospects who struggle mightily because of it, Stanton’s 39 home run 2008 was truly jaw-dropping. Yes, the strikeouts are a concern, but I am confident the length of his swing can be fixed by a couple of minor tweaks. Stanton’s would benefit from keeping his front elbow tighter to his body during his swing. This will help him better stay inside the baseball and make for more repeatable swing mechanics. He also has a slight hitch in his pre-swing load which can lead to other timing issues.
In game action, Stanton worked a number of deep counts as pitchers were careful in working him down and out leading to multiple free passes. He did show some difficulty when pitchers followed up a curveball low and out with a fastball up due to his swing length. With his strikeout total, I expected Stanton to have less of a two-strike approach than what he displayed. Hits with two-strikes included a ground ball single back up the middle and a 410-foot, one hop double off of the center field fence off of his front foot.
Maybe even more impressive were the pitches he missed badly. I have heard people talk about “big league fly balls” as a demonstration of power in their own right. Stanton’s swinging under the ball and making contact towards the handle resulted in two rain-makers to the opposite field which the right fielder caught at the base of the right-center field fence. In the playoff game alone, Stanton would have had three home runs with 15-20 pounds of additional muscle. It is one thing for a player to take a ball over the fence when he hits it on the sweet spot. It is quite unique when a player has the ability to badly hit a ball out to any field. His raw power is a true 80 on the 20-80 scale and his in-game power is also an 80 making him a very rare prospect.
Defense: In playoff action, Stanton served as the primary designated hitter. He was in right field the first game I attended and looked a bit stiff moving around the outfield. Between the single game sample and rain-soaked field, it is hard for me to make an assessment of his defense at this time. I hope to see him again in 2010 and should have more information then.
Speed: Stanton showed good base-running ability as he nabbed a couple of extra bases on batted balls I felt he would be held up on. With seven stolen bases in two plus minor league seasons, it is easy to completely dismiss his base-running ability, but he has a good feel for it which should keep him from becoming a true base-clogger for awhile.
In 1998, I was present for Mark McGwire‘s 57th, 58th, and 59th home runs at “Pro Player Stadium” in Miami, Florida. Never in my life did I think I would see such easy power from a baseball swing. It was truly awe inspiring. While Mike Stanton is not a polished product, he has the potential to be a power hitter in the Mark McGwire mold. However, his strikeout totals will determine whether he becomes a well-rounded hitter with the ability to chip in decent average/on base percentage totals, or just an all-or-nothing power threat.
24 Jan 2014 / Mike Newman /
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