Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – In a season full of misery, the Miami Marlins have one diamond in quite a bit of rough. Twenty-two-year-old right fielder Giancarlo Stanton has made a name for himself as not only the Marlins’ best player, but also a power hitter the entire league should be wary of facing.
Stanton has been on a torrid pace since coming off the disabled list and just tore through the NL West during a recently completed 11-game road trip. Stanton nailed eight homers during that streak including one in Colorado that still may have not landed. (It went 494 feet at Coors Field, which was the longest of the season)
For the season, Stanton is hitting .287 with 29 home runs and 69 RBI’s. Stanton’s 29 homers are second-best in the National League this season. In 2012, Stanton has a .358 OBP and a .601 slugging percentage for a .959 OPS.
With 33 games to go this season, Stanton has already joined some very elite company. According to SI.com, Stanton ranks 11th in terms of home runs hit through his age 22 season in Major League Baseball history.
If Stanton can hit seven more home runs between now and the end of the season, he would move up to sixth all-time behind Mel Ott, Eddie Matthews, Alex Rodriguez, Tony Conigliaro, and Frank Robinson. Currently, Stanton is ahead of Mickey Mantle, Al Kaline, and Joe DiMaggio to name a few.
SI.com reported Stanton is also ahead of Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Jim Thome, and Sammy Sosa in terms of home runs hit by age 22.
The best news for Marlins fans is that Stanton won’t be eligible for salary arbitration until the 2013 season and he won’t be eligible for free agency until the 2016 season. SI reported there have been internal discussions of signing Stanton long-term.
If the Marlins sign him long-term before 2016, he could be one of the youngest players ever to net a contract easily worth more than $100 million.