Everyone knows that Marlins outfielder Mike Stanton has probably more power than almost any hitter in baseball. He has hit 42 home runs in his first 675 at bats in the major leagues, driving in 114 runs and stolen just 8 bases in 12 attempts. He has never stolen more than 5 bases at any one level, and that was last season after his call up to the big leagues.
That is why is came as a huge surprise when I read this yesterday afternoon. Here are comments from Marlins manager Jack McKeon on Mike Stanton, via the Miami Herald:
Mike Stanton put on a power display for 40,000 plus at Wrigley Field on Saturday, pounding his 19th and 20th home runs off Carlos Zambrano to confirm his status as a slugger. But Jack McKeon is intent on turning Stanton into a "complete player,"not just a one-dimensional ball crusher.
"I told him, 'You can be a 30/30 guy, easy,'" McKeon said. "I've just got to sell him on the idea that this is what you've got to do."
Despite his imposing frame, Stanton possesses natural speed. He was a wide receiver in high school. He's just never been asked to utilize his speed as a base-stealing threat.
Prior to this season, I predicted Stanton could steal around 10-15 bases, but after suffering a quad injury in spring training, he really hasn't run much this season. But, if McKeon wants to turn him loose on the base paths, maybe we will actually see him steal 10+ bases this season. But as for stealing 30 bases in a season? He could, especially since he had the speed to be recruited by USC to play wide receiver. But the question for fantasy owners is "when?".
We won't know for at least the next few weeks to month whether McKeon was serious about allowing Stanton to run more. As Stanton starts to hit for a better average, and hit for a bit more power, he will probably be walked more, so having him run more will improve the run scoring potential of the Marlins lineup. And, Stanton running more is music to fantasy owners ears, for sure.
Can you imagine if he were to steal even 20 bases in a season? Stanton has 40 home run power, so adding 20 SBs to the power would push him to the first round of many drafts. I'll be watching to see if Stanton does start running more this season. This news will certainly impact his 2012 fantasy value.