- Full name Giancarlo Cruz-Michael Stanton
- Born 11/08/1989 in Panorama, CA
- Profile Ht.: 6'6" / Wt.: 245 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Notre Dame
- Debut 06/08/2010
Drafted in the 2nd round (76th overall) by the Miami Marlins in 2007 (signed for $475,000).
View Draft ReportOne of the top athletes in the draft class, Stanton was a three-sport star at Notre Dame Academy and widely regarded as the school's best such athlete since former big league outfielder Jorge Piedra. Stanton is considerably bigger than Piedra and was recruited by Southern California as a wide receiver/defensive back, as well as for his power-hitting ability. While UNLV offered Stanton a football scholarship and a chance to walk on to play baseball, USC wants him on a baseball ride, with a chance to walk on in football. For pro scouts, projection is the operative word with the raw Stanton. He was overmatched against most of the top arms he saw last summer in showcases, though he has shown improvement in pitch recognition. Stanton has a big swing with resulting big power thanks to leverage and bat speed. He profiles as a corner outfielder with an average arm that could be suited to right field with more polish. He's a fringe-average runner under way.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Notre Dame High has churned out a long list of accomplished athletes, with former No. 1 overall pick Tim Foli and Cy Young Award winner Jack McDowell its most distinguished baseball players. Stanton, a three sport star, was considered the school's best athlete in at least a decade. Southern California offered him a baseball scholarship and Pete Carroll extended an opportunity to walk on as a receiver/defensive back in football. Nevada-Las Vegas wanted Stanton to play two sports as well, but the Marlins stole him for $475,000, thanks in large part to the work of area scout Tim McDonnell. Stanton struggled in summer showcases before his senior year, which caused him to drop to the 76th overall pick. Born Giancarlo Cruz-Michael Stanton, he has Puerto Rican ancestry. Stanton's reputation took off after the Marlins refused to include him in a deal for Manny Ramirez in July 2008, even with the Red Sox willing to pay the entire $7 million remaining on the future Hall of Famer's contract. After blasting his way to a 39-homer season at low Class A Greensboro in his first full year, Stanton followed up by reaching Double-A Jacksonville and playing in the Futures Game midway through 2009. Stanton's power numbers predictably dropped off in the thick Florida air, but he again showed regular flashes of light-tower power. He has the ability to stay back on breaking balls and take them the other way with authority. He has a flat swing and keeps the barrel in the zone for a long time. His performance only brought more comparisons to a young Dave Winfield, while some liken his skill set to that of Jayson Werth or Jermaine Dye. All five tools are present, as his speed, right-field range and arm all grade as solid-average or better. Stanton's work ethic is tremendous, basically that of a far less talented player. Intelligent, inquisitive and driven, he never lets the hype go to his head. His pitch recognition is improving, though Stanton still gets caught guessing too much. He must cut down on his strikeouts--297 during the past two seasons--but that's not a huge concern considering his power production. Though he has the speed to swipe 20 or more bases a year, Stanton has yet to develop basestealing instincts. A bout of shoulder tendinitis affected his throwing for a short time early in 2009, but he has worked hard to improve his arm. He left the Arizona Fall League with a sore back in mid-October, though it's not a major worry and he should be 100 percent for spring training. The Marlins are determined not to rush Stanton, though some in the organization believe he could handle the jump to the majors sooner rather than later. An outfield featuring Cameron Maybin in center field and Stanton in right could become a reality by mid-2010, but Stanton should return to Double-A to start the season. Florida doesn't want him to experience the multiple big league failures that have dogged Maybin the past few seasons as he faced similar expectations.
Southern California offered Stanton a baseball scholarship and a walk-on opportunity as a receiver/defensive back at Southern California, while Nevada-Las Vegas wanted him to play football and walk-on in baseball. Instead, the Marlins stole him in the second round of the 2007 draft for $475,000. In his first full pro season, he ranked second in the minors in homers (39) and total bases (286) and fourth in slugging (.611). While low Class A Greensboro's NewBridge Bank Park is a bandbox, Stanton's homers weren't flukes. He hit 18 on the road and showed regular light-tower power, prompting comparisons to a young Dave Winfield. He has plus speed and runs out every ball, never letting opponents or the score get him off his game. He has a solid-average arm and played well in both center and right field in 2008. Stanton's strikeout totals remain high, but Florida insists he has no problem with pitch recognition. He has yet to develop basestealing instincts. He worked with Greensboro pitching coach John Duffy to improve his throwing mechanics and get more out of his arm strength. Even when he could have helped them acquire Manny Ramirez for the stretch drive, the Marlins deemed Stanton strictly off limits. They're already daydreaming about an outfield that includes Cameron Maybin in center and Stanton in right, but the latter probably won't arrive until 2010 at the earliest.
A former three-sport star at Notre Dame Academy, Stanton was offered a baseball scholarship by Southern California and a chance to walk on in football as a receiver/defensive back. Nevada-Las Vegas wanted him to play two sports as well, but the Marlins signed him for $475,000 as a second-round pick in 2007. Stanton wasted little time showing his raw power. He hit a couple of homers that traveled close to 500 feet in a postseason minicamp, reminding some of a young Pat Burrell. Others saw Dave Winfield in his setup and loose swing. He shows good intelligence and work ethic. He ran better than the Marlins expected, flashing plus speed and arm strength. Though he shows the ability to put the barrel of the bat on the ball, Stanton is still raw. He struck out 21 times in 56 pro at-bats, though he should be able to make quicker adjustments now that he's focusing on baseball full-time. More repetitions also should help him improve as a right fielder. Despite struggling badly in his debut, Stanton still should begin 2008 at low Class A. He likely will need a year at each level for his first few pro seasons, but his ceiling is as high as any position player in the system.
Minor League Top Prospects
Stanton finished second in the SL in home runs--despite playing just 53 Double-A games before the Marlins called him up on June 6. At the time, his 21 homers led the minors. But pop never has been an issue for Stanton, who has 80 power on the 20-80 scale. He refined his approach even more in 2010, chasing fewer pitches out of the zone. Stanton still strikes out about once a game, but scouts say that's more a function of his long arms and swing than his strike-zone awareness, which has improved. Not only are his hands well positioned and his stroke full of leverage and torque, but Stanton has learned to study pitchers' plans of attack. Stanton also made big strides with his reads, jumps and throwing accuracy in right field. His speed and arm strength are average, and he's an aggressive defender with plus range.
Still just 19, Stanton has as much raw power as anyone in the minors and potentially could hit 40-plus homers in a big league season. He generates power to all fields with outstanding leverage and torque in his swing. He's strong enough that he can get caught leaning out front and still hit balls over the fence. Despite his strength and imposing frame, Stanton isn't physically maxed out yet. He has a live, athletic body with flexibility. Scouts differ as to why Stanton has a high strikeout rate--some say he swings over or under pitches, while others say he's prone to chasing breaking balls out of the zone--but generally agree that there aren't any major issues with his swing. He has good hand-eye coordination and makes adjustments. "He keeps his hands in a great spot for so many of his swings, and the results speak for themselves," an American League scout said. "His average on balls in play on a down year might be .340 because he just punishes the ball." Some scouts felt Stanton still needs to polish his defense, but he's a 55 runner who tracks the ball well in right field and shows a 55 arm. He likely will slow down a tick as he continues to fill out, but he should be at least an average defender.
Managers loved to talk about Stanton's power, which allows him to hit the ball out to all parts of the park. They discussed his physicality and his ability to make adjustments, but more than anything they liked to talk about his work ethic. Many noted Stanton's willingness to improve and put in his work on humid Florida afternoons. He showed the eagerness to learn of a struggling utility infielder despite having the ability to get by on his sheer talent. Stanton doesn't have to cheat to hit for power, instead staying back and trusting his hands. He'll always strike out frequently because his long arms and power-oriented swing creates holes, but he makes adjustments well. He has plus speed, above-average range for an outfielder and a strong arm.
The ball may fly out of Greensboro's NewBridge Bank Park, but most of the 21 homers that the sculptured Stanton crushed there would have cleared the fences in any ballpark. He also added 18 on the road to rank second overall in the minors, easily leading the SAL in homers, extra-base hits (68), total bases (286) and slugging percentage (.611). He was overmatched in his pro debut last year and most observers believe his numbers will improve once he smoothes some of the rough edges to his game. A three-sport standout in high school, Stanton has succeeded with his raw strength and should make even more progress as he learns to use his hands at the plate. He also moved from right field to center during the season and showed plus range, speed and arm strength to go with solid instincts and an outstanding work ethic. More than a few managers said Stanton reminded them of Dave Winfield. "After watching his Scouting Bureau tape to where he is now, the progress is incredible," Greenville manager Kevin Boles said. "He has tremendous upside, particularly with his body and his athleticism. The improvements he made from the beginning of the season to the end of the year, boy, the Marlins have the most exciting everyday player in the league. He is fun to watch."
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Power Hitter in the National League in 2014
- Rated Best Power Hitter in the National League in 2012
- Rated Best Power Prospect in the Southern League in 2010
- Rated Best Batting Prospect in the Southern League in 2010
- Rated Best Athlete in the Miami Marlins in 2010
- Rated Best Power Hitter in the Miami Marlins in 2010
- Rated Best Power Prospect in the Florida State League in 2009
- Rated Best Power Prospect in the Southern League in 2009
- Rated Best Athlete in the Miami Marlins in 2009
- Rated Best Power Hitter in the Miami Marlins in 2009
- Rated Best Power Prospect in the South Atlantic League in 2008
- Rated Best Athlete in the Miami Marlins in 2008
- Rated Best Power Hitter in the Miami Marlins in 2008