Mike Stanton on the verge of call-up to Marlins

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Marlins prospect Mike Stanton kept rolling last night with two more homers, giving the 20-year-old outfielder 20 long balls in 48 games at Double-A. He’s also hitting a career-high .307 with a .436 on-base percentage, .722 slugging percentage, and nearly as many walks (40) as strikeouts (50).
Joe Frisaro of MLB.com notes that Stanton could be on the verge of a call-up to the majors, as Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest and assistant general manager Dan Jennings were both on hand to see his latest power display yesterday and, like with Stephen Strasburg in Washington, any service time-related considerations are no longer a factor.
According to Frisaro the Marlins think Stanton is ready for the majors offensively despite being six months shy of his 21st birthday, but “defensively the team is still weighing if he can handle playing right field in the big leagues on a daily basis.” Stanton has also been playing some left field recently, leading to speculation that Chris Coghlan could be the odd man out.
Coghlan has been hot lately, however, collecting three hits in back-to-back games and batting nearly .300 over the past three weeks, so benching or demoting the struggling Cameron Maybin is also a possibility. In that scenario the Marlins would shift Cody Ross to center field, with Stanton in right and Coghlan in left.

Javier Baez: “This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it.”

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Infielder Javier Baez is back in camp with the Cubs after helping Puerto Rico to a second-place finish in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was the focal point of what was, to many, the most memorable play of the entire tournament: Baez pointed at catcher Yadier Molina, who was attempting to throw out a would-be base-stealer, before applying the tag for the final out of the eighth inning.

While Baez didn’t receive much criticism for his theatrics, aside from an insignificant handful of spoilsports, he is one of the players who most exemplifies the emotional, celebratory culture that foreign players bring to Major League Baseball. U.S. (and Tigers) second baseman Ian Kinsler is on the other side of that spectrum, as he said prior to the WBC final that he hopes kids mimic the solemn way U.S. players play the game rather than the emotional, passionate way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play the game.

Baez isn’t about to apologize for the way he and his teammates play the game. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney, Baez said, “We do a great job playing and having fun out there. That’s what it’s all about. This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it. but, you know, everybody’s got their style and their talent. I have a lot of fun.”

He continued, “It’s their choice to look at how we play, how excited we get. To us, it’s really huge what we did, even though we didn’t win. All of Puerto Rico got really together. We were going through a hard time over there and everything got fixed up for at least three weeks. Hopefully, they keep it like that.”

Mike Trout proposes change to spring training umpiring

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Angels outfielder Mike Trout came up with an idea that would allow less experienced umpires an opportunity to call some major league spring training action. As ESPN’s Buster Olney reports, Trout thinks the veteran umpires should only call five or six innings as they get back into regular season shape. The rest of the innings could be called by minor league umpires.

According to Olney, baseball officials loved Trout’s idea when they heard about it last week. One official said, “It makes a lot of sense for a lot of different reasons.” Another said, “That’s Trout — he’s always paying attention to stuff beyond what he’s doing.”

Of course, I have to agree that the suggestion is a great one. As Olney notes, the turnover rate for umpires every year is relatively low, so younger, less-experienced umpires have few opportunities to get a feel for what it’s like calling major league action. Even beyond the actual interpretation of the rules, interacting with big league personalities would also be helpful for minor league umpires.