Mike Stanton hit 43 homers between the minors and majors last season, including 22 long balls in 100 games with the Marlins following his call-up in mid-June, which has Joe Frisaro of MLB.com wondering if he can break the franchise record for homers in his first full season.
Gary Sheffield owns that mark with 42 homers in 1996 and no other Marlins hitter has homered even 35 times in a season, so Stanton doing age 21 what only one other player in only one other season could do during the team’s 18-year history seems pretty unlikely regardless of his immense power potential.
Looking beyond the Marlins, here’s a list of the most homers by a 21-year-old in baseball history:
Eddie Mathews 47 1953
Albert Pujols 37 2001
Hal Trosky 35 1934
Miguel Cabrera 35 2004
Jose Canseco 33 1986
Bob Horner 33 1979
Jimmie Foxx 33 1929
Andruw Jones 31 1998
Ruben Sierra 30 1987
Of all the great young sluggers in baseball history Eddie Mathews is the only one to smack 40-plus homers as a 21-year-old, and Mathews and Albert Pujols are the only ones to top 35 long balls at age 21. Stanton definitely has the ability to join them in 2011, but Marlins fans shouldn’t be disappointed if he manages “only” 30 homers in his first full season.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.
Comments from an anonymous team official suggest that Rangers right-hander Tyson Ross will not be expected to join the rotation until May or June, per a report from Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Both Ross and GM Jon Daniels favor a conservative approach for the 29-year-old as he works his way back up to full health after undergoing surgery last October to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome.
The delay is reportedly being implemented so that Ross will be have the strength and stamina to contribute during the stretch run. Per Daniels:
We would rather err on a little extra time up front with the goal being to finish strong, pitching in big spots, meaningful games down the stretch and hopefully past 162.
Ross signed a one-year deal with the team on Thursday after pitching through an injury-riddled season with the Padres in 2016. If all goes according to plan, he’ll slot into a rotation that includes Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Andrew Cashner and Martin Perez. The Rangers are expected to narrow down their fifth starter alternatives in spring training.