After much thought and deliberation, I've decided that the TPC 2009 Top 10 Hitting Prospects list would not be complete if I left Michael Stanton off the list. At first, I felt like his strikeout rate was a deal breaker, but the more I looked at his 2008 stats and searched for comparable players, the more I realized that the Marlins are holding on to a very special player. Sure, he struck out a lot, but he was only 18, and I think if he were to stay at A ball for another 2 years, he'd be a 20 year old with a K% of 20% or less hitting 40 plus home runs a year (maybe 50) with an ISOP above .350.
I spent about an hour last night searching for any player in the past 20 years that has posted the types of power numbers at A ball that Stanton put up last year, and I haven't found a single one. In fact, the only player I've found that came close to comparing to Stanton's A level ISOP (.318) was Evan Longoria, who posted an ISOP of .333 between A- and A+ ball as a 20 year old. The next closest hitter was Jay Bruce, who posted an ISOP of .319 in 66 at-bats at AA at the age of 20 (Darryl Strawberry also posted an ISOP of .319 at 20 years old in AA ball, and Jose "Roids" Canseco put up a whopping .431 at the same age and level), followed by a .291 ISOP posted by Ken Griffey Jr. at the age of 18 in A ball. There are a few others that posted similar ISOPs, but they were all much older, so there really isn't much of a comparison. I'll admit up front that my search wasn't an exhaustive one, but I searched through several hundred players, including any prominent power hitter I could think of. So, to make sure I'm not mistaken about this one, I'm going to have a contest and everyone is free to enter.
If anyone can find any player that has posted an ISOP above .318 at the age of 18 years old at A ball in the past 25 years, I'll send you a 2007 Bowman Sterling Madison Bumgarner autographed card (at least 150 plate appearances is required)! Just post the player (if there is one) in the comments section, and if you're right, you win!
Anyways, now that I feel like Stanton is worthy of a top 10 position, I'm going to slide him in with Chris Carter at #6(b). If he's able to repeat his 2008 performance at AA ball this summer and keep his K% under 30%, I think he'll be a good candidate for a top 3 ranking next year.