Stanton fan of Heyward

In size and stature, they are similar.

One difference is Mike Stanton bats right-handed and Jason Heyward hits from the left side.

stanton2a.JPG“We’re the same size. People have said we’re the mirror image, because he bats lefty,” Stanton said. “We have the same attributes. Then again, we’re two different people.”

Another common bond the two right fielders share is they rank among the best prospects in baseball. Heyward rates first and Stanton third in MLB.com’s Top 50 prospect rankings by Jonathan Mayo.

“We are in the same Draft,” Stanton said.

The two 20-year-old phenoms are rising rapidly in their respective systems. Heyward is challenging for the Braves right field job, while Stanton has progressed to Double-A Jacksonville in Florida’s system.

heyward.jpgThe Braves picked Heyward with the 14th overall pick in 2007, while Stanton was a second round choice (76th overall) by Florida in the same class.

Stanton stands 6-foot-5, 230, compared to Heyward at 6-4, 220. The two project to be future big league superstars.

Their paths also have crossed in the Minor Leagues.

“We’ve had a few All-Star Games together,” Stanton said. “We played in the Futures Game, and played against each other a few times. He’s a great athlete. A great player. He deserves the No. 1 spot. He’s going to have a great future.”

The Marlins have made it clear that they don’t plan on rushing Stanton’s development.

Because he is just 20, and he hasn’t had a full season at Double-A, he may wind up spending the entire season in Jacksonville. Then again, if the slugger shows he is ready for the leap to the big leagues, don’t be surprised if Stanton gets called up, perhaps as early as the All-Star Break.

– Joe Frisaro

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