Stanton, Dominguez eyeing ring

They’ve been on the fast track since reaching pro ball, and now they are trying to win a ring.

Mike Stanton and Matt Dominguez, two of the top prospects in all of baseball, are gaining valuable experience playing for Double-A Jacksonville in the Southern League playoffs.

After winning the first two games in the best-of-five series at Birmingham, the Suns can clinch the Southern League championship on Saturday in Jacksonville.

Stanton and Dominguez are playing big parts in the title run. The two opened the season at Class A Jupiter, but have made the jump in midseason to Double-A.

Once the playoffs are completed, next month Stanton and Dominguez will representing the Marlins in the Arizona Fall League.

“we’re looking at it like it’s extending Double-A a little bit longer for them,” said Jim Fleming, the Marlins vice president of player development and scouting. “It’s more at-bats against the caliber of pitching they’ve seen at Double-A.”

Dominguez and Stanton are two prize picks from the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. Dominguez, a third baseman who has been compared to Mike Lowell, was taking in the first round. Stanton, an outfielder who has been mentioned as a Dave Winfield-caliber player, went in the second round.

Predictably, both have struggled a bit at Double-A.

“They’ve had some ups and downs,” Fleming said. “The jump from Jupiter to Double-A is a pretty good one.”
 
Stanton played in 79 games at Jacksonville and he hit .231 with 16 homers and 53 RBIs.

Counting his Class A numbers, Stanton finished witha .255 average with 24 doubles, five triples, 28 home runs and 92 RBIs.

Dominguez, meanwhile, played in 31 games at Double-A, and he had 97 at-bats, batting .186 with two homers and nine RBIs.

Yet in Friday’s 8-1 win at Birmingham, Stanton was 2-for-4 as the designated hitter, while Dominguez was 2-for-5.

Overall this year, Dominguez hit .247 with 13 homers and 62 RBIs.

Since Stanton is still 19 and Dominguez turned 20 a few weeks ago, the Marlins organization expected both to have some rough stretches.

“That’s what you want to do. You want to challenge them,” Fleming said. “You want them to have some tough spots in the Minor Leagues, and see them get through it. It’s not something you want to have them to have to first experience at the big league level. It’s part of the process, to keep them challenged, and push them a little bit.”

– Joe Frisaro

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