It’s only Monday, but here’s a pretty safe prediction. When our second Prospect Hot Sheet comes out on Friday, you’ll probably see Jupiter outfielder Mike Stanton’s name on it.
Stanton went 8-for-11 this weekend with as many home runs (3) as outs. He also walked three time, drove in eight runs and scored five. After going 1-for-3 on Friday night with a home run, he went 2-for-3 on Saturday with another homer, and followed it up by going 5-for-5 with a home run and a double on Sunday. At this rate, anything short of a home run every time up on Tuesday (the Hammerheads have Monday off) will rank as a disappointment.
Like most Florida State League parks, the ball doesn’t carry particularly well in Sarasota. But Stanton’s raw power can make any park play like Mile High Stadium when he gets a hold of one. He hit a home run to left center field this weekend that landed on the backfields at the complex.
A scout who saw Stanton this weekend was understandably impressed."I’ve never seen anyone like that," the scout said after seeing the tape-measure home run. "He has pure power combined with the ability to hit."
The only real knock on the 19-year-old is that he strikes out a lot (153 times in 468 at-bats last year), but he has shown improved pitch recognition this year, and has already walked five times in 41 plate appearances, which helps account for his .417/.488/.750 numbers for the season. The double he hit this weekend came on a breaking ball, and he also showed a willingness to drive the ball to the opposite field.
When Stanton hit 39 home runs last year at Greensboro, there was some talk of how the Grasshoppers Stadium is great park to hit home runs. It’s so early that any projections are relatively worthless, but it’s worth noting that Stanton’s on pace to hit 38 home runs this year.
Just A Flesh Wound
Orioles fans can breathe a little easier, as Norfolk catcher Matt Wieters’ leg injury that forced him to leave Friday night’s game is only a mild hamstring strain.
BA correspondent Roch Kubatko reported at his MASN Sports blog that Wieters is expected to miss a couple more days as he recovers from the hamstring pull, but the injury isn’t considered to be serious.
In other Orioles’ prospect news, righthander Brad Bergesen will be promoted to make his big league debut on Tuesday night when the Orioles face the White Sox. Bergesen will be replacing the injured Alfredo Simon. Bergesen was 1-1, 2.45 in two starts with Norfolk. He’s not considered as solid a prospect as fellow Norfolk starters David Hernandez and Chris Tillman, but he is already on the 40-man roster and he is the most seasoned Tides pitching prospect–he has nearly 500 minor league innings under his belt.
Still Swinging Away
He can get understandably lost in the attention that teammates Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman get, but Myrtle Beach outfielder Cody Johnson’s raw power compares favorably with his more highly regarded teammates. However his swing from the heels approach means that he’s too often an easy out when he doesn’t get a fastball to square up.
Two weeks into the 2009 season, Johnson is showing most of the same strengths and weaknesses he showed in low Class A Rome last year. He already has 15 strikeouts this year, which is right on pace with last year’s 177 strikeouts, which was second worst in the minors. But he also has six home runs, second best in the minors, and three doubles. When Johnson does connect with a pitch, it tends to go a long way–he has only one single in 40 at-bats, but his nine extra-base hits have given him a .775 slugging percentage to go with his .250 batting average and .302 on-base percentage.
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