Stanton Wows Trader Jack

Outfielder shows amazing power




FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. —With nearly six decades in Organized Baseball, Jack McKeon isn't easily impressed.

But the former Marlins manager, now a special advisor to team owner Jeffrey Loria, has taken note of Mike Stanton.

In addition to high Class A Jupiter lefthander Sean West, the Marlins have apparently placed Stanton off limits, as shown by their unwillingness to part with the 2007 second-rounder in a deadline deal for Manny Ramirez.

"God almighty, can he hit," said McKeon, who sees Stanton frequently at low Class A Greensboro, close to the former skipper's Elon College home.

Granted, First Horizon Park is a hitter's paradise, but not many of Stanton's 33 homers so far this year have been cheapies.

Stanton doesn't turn 19 until November, so he might yet grow beyond his current 6-feet-5 and 205 pounds. That hasn't stopped him from playing center field since the recent promotion of Bryan Peterson to Jupiter.

"We couldn't be any happier with Mike," said Jim Fleming, who oversees player development and scouting for the Marlins. "Obviously you see the results, the home runs and RBI, but he's also played a pretty good center field."

Greensboro manager Edwin Rodriguez recently noted Stanton turned in the team's best defensive play of the year. Stanton will probably return to a corner spot, but the team is intrigued by his athleticism.

"We're just playing with it," Fleming said. "If he has to go back to right, this makes him better. It's a good time to experiment and expand who he is. He can run, so it's good to keep those options open."

At the plate, Stanton was batting .289/.367/.600 with 81 RBIs He also had 132 strikeouts and 43 walks in 418 at-bats.

"It's funny, he recognizes pitches, he's just very aggressive," Fleming said. "He'll chase out of the zone. I think that will get better as he gets older."

FISH BAIT

• Three former position players have made the switch to pitching and were having varying degrees of success in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. Kris Harvey and Jon Fulton, both 24, had moved to the mound, as had 20-year-old former third baseman Ketnold Noel.

• Righthanded reliever Corey Madden was promoted to Jupiter after striking out 14.3 batters per nine innings at Greensboro.