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Andy Behrens

Florida's outfield prepares for the Mike Stanton era

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Until Monday, I believed myself to be Cameron Maybin's(notes) greatest (and possibly last) supporter, but that's clearly not the case. The sign-holder pictured over on the right has me beat, easily.

After Maybin hit an inside-the-park homer in the seventh inning of Florida's 13-5 win over Milwaukee, she received a little TV time, and deservedly so. That woman brought a fine-looking placard to the ballpark. Note the bold lettering, the charming images of hats, bats and … well, whatever those little yellow squiggles are. That's just a quality sign. It has a certain fractal elegance.

Of course it also says something completely ridiculous. Maybin is hitting .230/.301/.352 at the moment, and he's at risk of becoming either a part-timer or a minor leaguer when Florida finally promotes outfield prospect Michael Stanton(notes).

Various Marlins beat writers have been offering June 5 as a potential Stanton call-up date — here's MLB.com, here's the Sun Sentinel — which suggests that Maybin and Chris Coghlan(notes) have very little time remaining to settle their outfield/leadoff battle. Neither player has been particularly useful thus far. Coghlan is batting just .227, and he's only walked 13 times in 201 plate appearances. Stanton has spent time in left-field lately for Double-A Jacksonville, which hardly seems like a vote of confidence in reigning N.L. Rookie of the Year.

When asked about Stanton's seemingly inevitable promotion, Coghlan had this to say to the Miami Herald:

"It's not on my radar," Coghlan said. "You focus on things you can control. A lot comes down to 'what have you done for me lately?' It's very cutthroat."

That's no doubt the right thing to tell reporters, but it's tough to believe that the potential loss of his starting job isn't on Coghlan's radar.

In the same Herald feature, Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez had a few interesting comments about Maybin:

"We see a guy who's getting better," Gonzalez said. "He will have some great weeks and three or four days of struggle. He's a young player. You have to be patient, have confidence in him. He needs to get bumps and bruises and earn his stripes here. There's no Triple A-and-a-half to send him to."

Asked by a radio reporter if he might platoon Coghlan and Maybin when Stanton arrives, Gonzalez said, "Save that question for when he comes up. That's a little more fair."

Early indications are that when Stanton arrives, he'll initially bat seventh for Florida. "I don't want him feeling he is the savior," Gonzalez has said. But Stanton presently leads all of professional baseball in home runs (18), so he's going to have immediate savior status, no matter what his manager would prefer. He's still only eight percent owned in Yahoo! leagues.

There's very little chance that Stanton will deliver a respectable average for the Fish — he's whiffed 50 times in 216 PAs at Double-A — but he's a lottery ticket in the power categories. Sorry, sign lady. He's the future. Maybin is beginning to look like an alternate universe all-star.

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