Breaking down the top 7 hitting prospects: #1 Mike Stanton


This prospect series is going to be a bit different from your normal, everyday prospect listing.

I went over earlier about the projections I’m going to be posting up, and now you’ll see exactly what I mean in action.

This series is going to break down the top seven hitting prospects the Marlins have, and ranking them based off their projected WAR.  Some massive things to keep in mind: like I said before, the projection system isn’t meant to be an exact result but rather a rough estimation.  The stat WAR is basically the same thing.  So it’s the end result is a rough estimation of a rough estimation; far from prefect but still better than nothing.

Secondly, this is in essence based off what they have done.  Not their ceiling, nor their floor, but rather more or less what to expect based off what they have done so far.  Sometimes a hitter changes his approach, sacrifices enough virgins, changes his batting swing, so on and so forth that then allows the player to become better (or worse).

Not only will this list be different because of how the players are ranked, but you’ll also see a couple things that are quite different from what other lists say.

Now then, time to go to the list.  The #1 prospect is far from being one of the surprises. Michael Stanton was drafted in the second round in the 2007 draft, which has probably been the best draft by the current Marlins’ front office.  By now you should know the story on him, after the jump I’m going to look more in depth in his numbers.

Those numbers, from a teenager in advanced leagues, are just draw dropping.  The strikeouts stick out like a sore thumb, but those numbers man.

The amazing thing about Stanton is that you can say he’s going to hit 30 home runs in the major league level.  Regardless of how many times he strikes out, he’s going to hit 30 home runs.  Some people might look at the total home run drop (39 to 28) and say hey, maybe he’s not that legit.  But looking at his park adjusted numbers, he would have hit 33 last year and 30 this year.  Not only that, but his adjusted HR/FB numbers have been the same at every stop:

Team HR/FB%
Greensboro 27.22%
Jupter 26.76%
Jacksonville 26.5%

Just how legit is Stanton’s power?  I can only find one player in all of pro ball that beat his adjusted HR/FB% in 2009: Adrian Gonzalez, who blasted 40 HRs while playing half his game in PetCO (A park adjusted HR total of 55).

Alex Rodriguez, Andruw Jones, Russell Branyan, Ken Griffey Jr, just a few comparable names in terms of power at such a young age; when you hit for that kind of power as a teenager, the sky is the limit. One question remains, howerver. Will he be like Andruw, whose power plateaued instead of growing?  Or will he become like Griffey, A-Rod, and to a lesser extent Branyan, a perennial 40+ HR hitter?

If his power stagnates, which is the conservative thing to expect and is what I try and preach, we are still looking at a very, very good player.

As we can see, the strike outs are certainly going to hold him back.  But we’re still talking about a good hitter, putting him at a .359 wOBA and about Russell Branyan offensively.  Unlike Branyan, he also gets a lot of value from his defense.  His TZ/150 in the minors currently sits at +15 runs in RF, +5 in CF.  Certainly, his defense will go down as he ages, but we are talking about a very good defensive player here.  His total 3.66 WAR would again make him a top-30 position player in the NL.

But what happens if his power improves, and we’re now talking about a 45 HR hitter?  We’re basically talking about a Ryan Howard bat playing above average defense in RF if this happens.  He becomes around a .386 wOBA and 5+ WAR, top 10 player in the NL.

The scariest thing is imagining if he’s able to build off his Jupiter performance.  He struck out only a couple percentage points above league average for FSL (19%), while walking over 5% more (8.2%).  His BB/K improving to that territory, we’re now talking about a .396 wOBA and ~5.7 WAR player.  His power improves to 45 HRs on top of that?  We’re now talking about one of the greatest hitters playing at the major league level, with a .423 wOBA and 7+ WAR.

Now that should not be expected, and if Stanton doesn’t become anything more than a .359 wOBA we should still be happy to get that performance from RF. And the reason why Stanton’s such an amazing prospect is that his floor is so high.  The chances of Stanton being worse than a 2.5 WAR player are very minimal because of his power.  Even if his strike out rates deteriorate, he’s still going to hit well enough, he’s still going to field.  He’s a very special prospect.

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Tags: Miami Marlins Mike Stanton

  • Joe

    This is one of the best prospect articles I have read in a long time. Some people not familiar with the Marlins don’t see why we are so high on Stanton. This was a perfect explanation. Thanks

    • Michael Jong

      Joe,

      First off, thanks for dropping by Marlin Maniac!

      Secondly, I agree with you, John did a very good job with the Stanton. The other pieces will be as good as this one, I reckon. I did want to ask John whether this was a projection for when he arrives to the bigs or whether this is a 2010 projection.

  • John Herold

    More of sophomore plus. Something I’d like to do in the future is look at how players like Stanton (Teenagers who show massive amounts of power in the minors) do their rookie year, so that we can get a feel for what to expect. But as of now, collecting the data would be very hard.

    And thank you for the positive feedback, Joe.

  • JoeA.

    John,

    Great series on the top hitters. How do you think Stanton compares to Jason Heyward? I certainly hope the Marlins are careful and don’t rush him because like you said, he has a chance to be a generational talent. IMHO he should have a full year at Jacksonville this year, a full year in NOLA in 2011, and be our starting RF to open the new ballpark.

  • John Herold

    I think Heyward’s power is probably being a bit overrated – he’s battled ball data is very similar to Logan Morrison in that hit hits a lot of GB and LD but very few FBs. And like I covered with Logan, that means he probably won’t break 30 HRs in a year. But Heyward has been hitting more HRs than Logan, and will likely sit in the 20-25 range compared to Logan’s 15-20. And if one were to break 30 HRs, I’d definitely bet on Heyward.

    That also means he has an amazing BABIP skill set (A lot better than Logan’s, considering Heyward supperior speed). And Heyward plays great defense, likely in the +10-+15 range.

    I think Stanton has a better ceiling and if one is to break into the 7-8+ WAR category, it’d be Stanton. But Heyward is a lot better prospect. His BB/K makes him incredibly safe, and he’s shown a very good BABIP skill set while still hitting for power. He is undoubtedly the #1 prospect in baseball and I think the gap between him and Stanton is pretty decent.