Where to bat Stanton?

Creating an easy transition for Mike Stanton is a primary objective of the Marlins as an organization and Fredi Gonzalez as manager.

For weeks, Gonzalez has said Stanton likely would start off batting seventh, or perhaps second.

stanton4a44.jpgThe recent offensive struggles may have prompted a change of thinking. Hanley Ramirez batted leadoff on Sunday in a 7-6 loss to the Mets at Citi Field.

Ramirez was hitless in two at-bats with three walks, including one intentionally. One of his outs was a crushed liner to deep right field that Jeff Francoeur made a terrific running catch.

Gonzalez noted that Ramirez leading off wasn’t a definite guarantee. But will the All-Star bat first on Tuesday night at Philadelphia? That may have now changed with Stanton officially called up.

Stanton batted third at Double-A Jacksonville. His numbers spoke loudly, 21 homers, 52 RBIs and a .311 average in 52 games.

Don’t be surprised is Stanton is batting sixth or second on Tuesday.

It was seem unlikely to put the 20-year-old in a prime power spot like No. 3 in his first big league game, especially since Dan Uggla belted his 13th homer while hitting third on Sunday.

If Stanton hits sixth in his big league debut, Ramirez would go back to batting third. A possible lineup that way, at least against right-handed starting pitching, would be Chris Coghlan, Gaby Sanchez, Ramirez, Jorge Cantu, Uggla, Stanton, Cody Ross, Ronny Paulino and Chris Volstad, Tuesday’s starter.

Ross already has produced batting seventh, while Uggla has been having a solid season batting mostly fifth.

Perhaps a better option is hitting Stanton second right away is Sanchez has already shown he has the discipline to bat eighth. Paulino is more of an aggressive hitter, and may not be best suited to hit in front of the pitcher.

One thing to consider about Ramirez batting second is if a base is open, like it was Sunday at New York, teams will likely intentionally walk him to get to Coghlan. The Mets did that with a runner on second and two outs. Then they brought in lefty Pedro Feliciano, who struck out the lefty hitting Coghlan. With Ramirez hitting third, he is protected by Cantu, a proven run producer, .

If Stanton were hitting second and Ramirez third, opposing teams couldn’t match their lefty reliever in those spots.

Earlier this season Gonzalez asked Bobby Cox why he put Jason Heyward, Atlanta’s 20-year-old sensation, second.

Cox said it was out of necessity because Yunel Escobar wasn’t hitting. Heyward has thrived batted second.

Perhaps that will be the best fit to start Stanton, and then see how the lineup comes together.

– Joe Frisaro

 

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