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Prospect Report: Mike Stanton’s 2010 Fantasy Value

Image courtesy of: M. Zeising

In addition to the hype surrounding the MLB draft on Monday night and Stephen Strasburg’s major-league debut on Tuesday night, fantasy owners now have Mike Stanton’s long-awaited arrival to look forward to.

Stanton’s absence from Double-A Jacksonville’s lineup on Sunday almost certainly confirms this, as the young outfielder is expected to join the Marlins on Tuesday in Philadelphia.

Fantasy managers have known about Stanton for a while, but his expected call up begs the question: What will his fantasy impact be in 2010?

Before we can answer this, it’s important to understand just how good the 2007 second-round pick has been:

2008 (High-A): 468 at-bats, 89 runs, 26 doubles, three triples, 39 homers, 97 RBI, 153 strikeouts, 58 walks, .293/.381/.611.

2009 (High-A and Double-A): 479 at-bats, 76 runs, 24 doubles, five triples, 28 homers, 92 RBI, 144 strikeouts, 59 walks, .255/.341/.501.

While his power stroke dominated minor-league pitching in ’08 and ’09, Stanton has actually exceeded expectations in 2010:

2010 (Double-A): 190 at-bats, 41 runs, 12 doubles, two triples, 21 homers, 52 RBI, 53 strikeouts, 44 walks, .311/.441/.726

Dave Winfield comparisons are plentiful, as all five of Stanton’s tools rate as solid-average or better. The 20-year-old has “light-tower power” and the ability to swipe 20 bases per season according to Baseball America, though he has yet to develop base-running instincts.

BA also notes his tremendous work ethic and modest personality.

If there’s any reason to doubt Stanton, it’d be due to his high strikeout totals. Though his pitch recognition has improved, “he still gets caught guessing too much.” This will likely hamper his fantasy value for the rest of 2010.

It’s important to note, however, that the Marlins plan to give Stanton regular at-bats. This means Chris Coghlan, Cameron Maybin, and Cody Ross are likely to split time among the remaining outfield positions.

Given Coghlan’s recent resurgence (six multi-hit games in his last seven contests), and Ross’s steady production (six HRs, 33 RBI, .300 average), Maybin (.225 average in 182 at-bats) likely stands to lose the most playing time in the near future.

Stanton is expected to bat seventh in Florida’s lineup, but could move up if his production warrants it.

Although Jason Heyward has become a top-50 player, you shouldn’t expect similar immediate success from the 20-year-old Stanton. He will undoubtedly display wicked power, but his batting average will likely limit his value.

In the long term, Stanton’s ceiling is higher than that of Ike Davis, but lower than Justin Smoak’s. Still, the Marlins outfielder has 40-HR potential, making him an exceptionally valuable commodity in all keeper/dynasty formats.

FBI Forecast: 325 at-bats, 40 runs, 13 HRs, 45 RBI, .260 batting average

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