Giancarlo Stanton? Who? In case you haven't heard, Marlins outfielder Mike Stanton now wants to go by his real first name, Giancarlo. For real. No really. Stanton is known for his power. He is just 22 years old and already has 56 home runs in his major league career, and I would not be surprised if he ends the 2012 season with right around 100 career home runs. That would mean 44 home runs from him this season, and I think he can do it. How the new Marlins ballpark plays will factor into the number of long balls he hits this season, along with his continued improvement in his plate discipline.
So, today, I want to take a look at 3 hitters who could be the next Giancarlo Stanton. Unlike my Craig Kimbrel piece, I will look at one player who had a cup of coffee in 2011, and two hitters who have zero major league experience, although one of them will be up in 2012.
My thoughts on the 3 hitting prospects who could be the next Giancarlo Stanton after the jump. The names will be pretty obvious, but I think it will be a fun exercise.
When he was still a prospect, Stanton was given the 80 power grade early in his minor league career. There are currently a few hitting prospects with the 80 power grade, lead by Nationals outfield prospect Bryce Harper. Then there is Twins corner infielder Miguel Sano who is one huge guy. The third candidate is a young hitter who was traded this offseason-Jesus Montero.
Miguel Sano, MIN
Sano played third base for the majority of his games played in the Appalachian rookie league, but at 6'3", 230 lbs, he probably won't be long for third base, and should head across the diamond or to an outfield corner in due time. He has grade 80 power according to some prospect experts, and Keith Law projects him to be a 35+ home run hitter when he makes it to the big leagues.
Here are his career minor league stats, courtesy of Baseball Reference:
Sano had a solid 2011 in the Appalachian league, hitting .292-.352-.637 with 45 extra base hits in 66 games. He was second in the Appy league in home runs, behind teammate Eddie Rosario who hit 21, and third in RBI, behind Rosario and Blue Jays prospect Art Charles. Sano needs to improve his plate discipline as he struck out in almost 29% of his at bats, while walking in just 8% of his at bats.
Here is what John had to say about him in his 2012 Baseball Prospect Book:
While he may have some growing pains, I’m not worried about his bat and expect he will become a very potent hitter in the majors. On defense, Sano split the year between shortstop and third base, but the hot corner is his long-term destination. He has the arm strength and athleticism to handle the position, but is still ironing out his footwork and throwing. Sano doesn’t turn 19 until May, and while he needs more refinement, he has the markers of a future star. Grade B+.
The Twins call Target Field home, and while it plays likes a pitchers park, it sounds like the park isn't big enough to hold back Sano's power potential. He will need at least 4 more years in the minors before he reaches the majors, but if his plate discipline should improve, Sano could force the issue before he turns 22 years of age.
Bryce Harper, WAS
There isn't much more one can say about Harper that hasn't been said before. What I will say is, Harper has his sights on making the Nationals 25 man roster out of spring training, and he has the backing of manager Davey Johnson. Johnson is well known for calling up a 19 year old Dwight Gooden when he was managing the Mets, so it wouldn't be the first time he promotes a prospect before he reaches his 20th birthday.
Here are his 2011 minor league stats, courtesy of Baseball Reference:
He has the best raw power in the minors, and he has the swing to unleash it. He controls the strike zone remarkably well for a young power hitter. Having seen him in person more than once now, I’m impressed with the way he makes adjustments, as he adapts to what the pitcher is doing more quickly than most major leaguers, let alone minor league prospects. His batting averages will be respectable, at a minimum, and his OBPs will be very high once he settles in. Harper is "intense" and plays with enough aggression and arrogance to annoy his opponents, but the same can be said for many superstars. He backs it up with his performance, and he works very hard. He’s going to be outstanding. Grade A.
|162 Game Avg.||162||621||549||81||180||36||0||36||108||63||153||.328||.406||.590||.996||159||324|
What he did in his 18-game major league trial, while at the upper bounds of expectation, was not a fluke; the guy can simply mash. Montero is a born DH, but there’s nothing wrong with that if you can hit like he does. He has nothing left to prove in the minors. The Yankees traded him and Hector Noesi to the Mariners in January for Michael Pineda and Jose Campos. I am very confident in his bat, obviously, giving him a Grade A even though his skills aren’t balanced.
Montero moves from a hitter's haven, Yankee Stadium, to a pitcher haven, Safeco Field in Seattle. He may not drive in a lot of runs initially, and the ballpark may depress his BA a bit, he should still hit for plenty of power. More important to fantasy owners is the fact that he should gain catcher eligibility this season, as the Mariners have indicated they will give him some looks behind the plate this season. If he can hit .275 with 18 HRs and 70 RBIs, he will be a top 5 catcher as soon as 2013.
So, who is the next Giancarlo Stanton of the 3 power hitters discussed in this article?