Mike Stanton making history at just 20 years old


Mike Stanton connected for two solo home runs in Friday’s 7-2 loss to the Reds. At 20 years and 278 days old, he became the youngest player to homer twice in a game since Jose Reyes did it in 2003.

It continued a torrid week for the rookie outfielder, as Stanton is 11-for-16 with four homers, four doubles and eight RBI over the first four games of the team’s current road trip. I shudder to think what he could have done if he wasn’t battling a cold.

After terrorizing the Southern League to begin the year, Stanton made his major league debut back on June 8. He struggled to a .231/.299/.481 batting line to go along with a scary 61/16 K/BB ratio over his first 160 at-bats in the big leagues. Some thought Stanton just wasn’t ready to face major league pitching, but he has quickly made some adjustments this month, batting a ridiculous .444 (16-for-36) with five homers, four doubles, nine RBI and a 7/7 K/BB ratio, improving his overall batting line to .270/.345/.571 on the year.

Stanton now has an incredible 14 homers and 15 doubles through his first 196 at-bats in the majors. Granted, his numbers are a bit inflated by virtue of his recent hot streak, but he’ll enter Saturday’s action with a .917 OPS.

This struck me as something pretty special, so I tried to track down the all-time single-season OPS leaders among 20 year olds with at least 200 plate appearances (Stanton has 220 plate appearances thus far). Here’s what I found:

1) Mel Ott – 1.084 (1929)
2) Alex Rodriguez – 1.045 (1996)
3) Ted Williams – 1.045 (1939)
4) Al Kaline – .967 (1955)
5) Jimmie Foxx – .964 (1928)
6) Frank Robinson – .936 (1956)
7) Mickey Mantle – .924 (1952)
8) Mike Stanton – .917 (2010)
9) Vada Pinson – .880 (1959)
10) Orlando Cepeda – .854 (1958)

We’ll see how he finishes the year, but this is some astoundingly impressive company.

While Stanton ranks eighth, it’s worth noting that Jason Heyward is 13th (.818) and Starlin Castro is 19th (.812). Just the latest evidence that we’re witnessing one of the best rookie classes in recent memory.