At just 22 years old Mike Stanton has his entire career ahead of him and if what we’ve seen in his first two seasons is any indication of what we can expect the rest of the way it should be a pretty good one. Before his 22nd birthday he had already hit 56 home runs, only Ken Griffey, Jr. and Alex Rodriguez have equalled or done better in the last 40 years. In 150 games last season Stanton hit 34 HR (5th in the National League) with 87 runs batted in and a .262 average.
It’s a pretty safe bet that baseball fans, announcers, and writers will be referring to Stanton for the next 15+ years so we should all get used to his proper name.
Stanton was born Giancarlo Cruz-Michael Stanton – a name his mother chose. But by the fifth grade, he decided to go by “Mike’’ because teachers and students kept mispronouncing his birth name.
“It was just easier,” he said. “If you can’t pronounce that, then there’s something wrong with you.”
Stanton won’t mind if Marlins fans continue to call him ‘Mike.’ But he’ll be listed in the lineup cards, rosters and scoreboards from now on as “Giancarlo,’’ which he says starts out with a “z” sound –almost like “shhon-carlo.”
Hitting in a lineup with potentially Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez in front of him and Gaby Sanchez and Logan Morrison providing protection behind him should give Stanton plenty of opportunities to drive in runs and quality pitches to hit. Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols took their 38 and 37 home runs respectively to the American League, leaving only Matt Kemp (39) and Dan Uggla (36) as the only two players in the National League who hit more homers than Stanton did last year.
Kemp, who’s going to shoot for an unprecedented 50/50 season, will certainly be in the mix as will defending MVP Ryan Braun. Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies and Justin Upton from the Diamondbacks will probably be in the discussion as well so it may not happen this year. But don’t be surprised if at some point in the not-so-distant future Giancarlo Stanton appears on an NL Silver Slugger Award.