Mike Stanton knows when to put on a show. The Marlins' 20-year-old slugger was going through a home run drought—by his standards—having gone deep only once over his last eight games heading into last night. Along come Larry Beinfest, the Marlins' president of baseball operations, and assistant general manager Dan Jennings to pay Double-A Jacksonville a visit, and Stanton finds his power stroke once again.
Stanton promptly homered to the opposite field in his first at-bat, then added a second long ball in the fifth that was estimated to travel 480 feet, clearing the street outside the stadium. He finished the night 2-for-3 with a walk, pushing his numbers for the year up to .307/.436/.722 in 176 at-bats and his minor league-leading home run total to 20. As for whether this means a promotion is coming up soon …
"I'm here to look at everybody right before we start our draft meetings," Beinfest told the Florida Times-Union. "But the big guy, it was impressive, one to right, one to left and good at-bats. There's no timetable with Michael. Obviously, he's doing great, and he's working on all the things he needs to work on to be successful in the big leagues.
"It's only a matter of time. I'm not going to couch it any other way. We're just going to see. People have asked me if he's going to Triple-A or the big leagues. We do talk about him quite often. We'll make a decision as to what's the best thing for him."
Halman Up To His Old Tricks
That the Mariners' Greg Halman has loads of power has never been a question mark. The 22-year-old outfielder hit 29 home runs between two class A stops in 2008, then added 25 more last year with Double-A West Tenn. No, the problem for Halman has always been his approach and an inability to recognize breaking balls, leading to 191 strikeouts last year, which was enough to lead the minors even though he missed two weeks in June.
The Mariners bumped Halman up to Triple-A Tacoma this year despite his .210/.278/.420 showing with the Diamond Jaxx in 2009. Sure enough, he's still been demonstrating an ability to crush balls and whiff at an alarming rate. He was off to a .188/.328/.417 start through 48 at-bats before going down for three weeks with a strained oblique. He's been better since getting back in the Rainiers' lineup in mid-May, batting .279/.343/.639 in 61 at-bats. He added a pair of home runs last night in Tacoma's 12-3 romp at Sacramento, giving him nine for the season, which ties him with Mike Carp for Tacoma's team lead. He went 3-for-5 on the night and had a double as well. He also struck out once, giving him 48 in 109 at-bats.
“(Halman) had an impressive night,” Rainiers manager Daren Brown told the Tacoma News Tribune. “Both homers he hit pretty well, his double as well. We know he’s got that kind of power, and he had a big night.”
Long Night For Low A Hitters
A couple of young pitchers in low Class A had big evenings, starting with Hickory lefthander Robbie Ross. We wrote about Ross in last Monday's Daily Dish, but he hasn't slowed down in two starts since then. He threw seven innings against Delmarva last Thursday, yielding only one unearned run on seven hits, and then completely dominated Charleston last night. Ross gave up a leadoff single to RiverDogs shortstop Jimmy Paredes, but induced a double play from the next hitter and didn't allow another baserunner the rest of the night. Ross retired 23 consecutive hitters after Paredes' single, getting 16 of them on groundouts and striking out four. This was Ross' sixth win in his last even startshe hasn't allowed a single earned run in any of those winsand he improved his line to 7-4, 1.96 in 64 innings.
Cedar Rapids righthander Fabio Martinez also picked up a win with six strong innings, but he took a much different path to get there. The good news for Martinez was he gave up just one run on two hits while fanning eight. The bad news was he walked seven, including the leadoff man in an inning three times, but he benefited from picking one runner off and having three others get thrown out stealing. Martinez has shown top-shelf stuff with a plus fastball and a slider with plus potential, but he's been known to have his control abandon him at times. Tuesday's start was an extreme example, but he does lead the Midwest League in both strikeouts (79) and walks (41) in 54 innings. The 20-year-old improved to 3-1, 3.81 with the win.
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