Stanton named an All-Star for first time
Already heading to Derby, slugger to represent Miami in Midsummer Classic
MIAMI -- Power propelled Giancarlo Stanton to the big leagues at age 20 two years ago. Now, the Marlins right fielder has slugged his way into star status.
Major League Baseball announced the 2012 All-Star Game rosters on Sunday, and Stanton was selected as a reserve to represent the Marlins in the Midsummer Classic, which will be held at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City on July 10.
Stanton, 22, is one of the rising talents in the game, and he was picked by National League manager Tony La Russa.
"It's one of the most amazing things I've done in my life to this point," said the 6-foot-5, 246-pound Stanton. "Just sitting back and thinking about all the All-Star Games that I've watched -- baseball, football, basketball -- it's one of those things that seemed so far out there, and unrealistic until you sit here and it actually happens."
It had been widely speculated that Stanton would be the most logical Miami player to be selected. But official word came to the right fielder about two hours before Sunday afternoon's series finale against the Phillies at Marlins Park.
Shortly after the game began, it was revealed on TBS that Stanton was an NL reserve.
Stanton didn't disappoint after being honored, belting an opposite-field home run off Joe Blanton in the third inning in Miami's 5-2 victory.
"I'm still humbled and baffled by it," the Sherman Oaks, Calif., native said. "I'm still soaking it in."
After his blast on Sunday, Stanton now has 19 home runs and 50 RBIs, tops on the Marlins in both categories.
"It is great for this organization, and obviously for him," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "That's a personal goal that everybody would like to have. But for the organization, and baseball, you've got new blood, new kids. It's not the same guys all the time."
National League roster
|C||Buster Posey, SF|
|1B||Joey Votto, CIN|
|2B||Dan Uggla, ATL|
|SS||Rafael Furcal, STL|
|3B||Pablo Sandoval, SF|
|OF||Melky Cabrera, SF|
|OF||Carlos Beltran, STL|
|OF||Matt Kemp, LAD|
|RHP||Matt Cain, SF|
|LHP||Aroldis Chapman, CIN|
|RHP||R.A. Dickey, NYM|
|LHP||Gio Gonzalez, WAS|
|LHP||Cole Hamels, PHI|
|RHP||Joel Hanrahan, PIT|
|LHP||Clayton Kershaw, LAD|
|RHP||Craig Kimbrel, ATL|
|RHP||Lance Lynn, STL|
|LHP||Wade Miley, ARI|
|RHP||Jonathan Papelbon, PHI|
|RHP||Stephen Strasburg, WAS|
|RHP||Huston Street, SD|
|C||Yadier Molina, STL|
|C||Carlos Ruiz, PHI|
|1B||Bryan LaHair, CHC|
|2B||Jose Altuve, HOU|
|SS||Starlin Castro, CHC|
|SS||Ian Desmond, WAS|
|3B||David Wright, NYM|
|OF||Ryan Braun, MIL|
|OF||Jay Bruce, CIN|
|OF||Carlos Gonzalez, COL|
|OF||Andrew McCutchen, PIT|
|OF||Giancarlo Stanton, MIA|
A few days ago, the slugger confirmed he also will be part of the NL squad in the Home Run Derby. He showed his power to all fields with his blast to right on Sunday at spacious Marlins Park.
"I'm sure everybody knows that there is nobody in the league that has as much power as him," Marlins pitcher Ricky Nolasco said. "I'm sure he's going to have fun with it. He's going to open a lot of people's eyes when he starts hitting some 500-foot shots. It's going to be fun to watch."
The Home Run Derby can be seen on MLB.com and ESPN at 8 p.m. ET on July 9. The All-Star Game is on FOX at 8 p.m. on July 10.
The 83rd Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. Pregame ceremonies begin at 7:30 p.m. (EDT)/6:30 p.m. (CDT). ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.
Fans will also have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet via the 2012 MLB.com All-Star Game MVP Vote during the All-Star Game on MLB.com.
Known for his brute strength, Stanton paces the Marlins in home runs and RBIs (50), to go along with a .282 batting average. Since he was promoted from Double-A Jacksonville on June 8, 2010, Stanton's 75 home runs are the fifth most in the Major Leagues.
A year ago, he had 18 home runs before the All-Star break.
"The sky is the limit for him," said Miami pitcher Josh Johnson, previously a two-time All-Star. "He's a student of the game, likes to learn, likes the game. He's actually pretty raw for his age and his talent. He still has a long way to go, hopefully."
A three-sport athlete in high school, Stanton was also a basketball and football standout. He was offered a scholarship to play football at the University of Southern California, but opted to sign with the Marlins after being a second-round pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.
"I'm going to soak it all in," Stanton said. "It's something that I might even get emotional if I really think about how far I've come in this game, and to be able to do what I've done."
Still maturing, Stanton has shown what he is capable of when he gets hot.
In May, he batted .343 with 12 home runs and 30 RBIs, earning NL Player of the Month honors. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, since 1920, the only other player under the age of 23 who had that many home runs, RBIs and a batting average that high in a calendar month was Joe DiMaggio.
In July 1937, DiMaggio (then 22) batted .430 with 15 homers and 43 RBIs.
Stanton's first All-Star nod comes in his third big league season, and second full year. To his teammates, he has the talent to become a perennial star.
"I think he's real capable of being an All-Star, not just the Home Run Derby, but to be an outfielder out there," said Miami closer Heath Bell, previously a three-time All-Star. "He'd be one of those guys who should be starting in a couple of years. Maybe next year, people will start seeing who he really is, and people will start voting him in. And Miami fans will start voting him in for next year."
It will be a hectic few days for Stanton in Kansas City, because he will be on stage in the Home Run Derby. The notoriety Stanton is about to receive, he says, comes with the territory.
"If it's something you want to do, you've got to be prepared with everything that comes with it," he said.
With Stanton's ability to clear the way so easily, Guillen doesn't believe the Derby will mess up the slugger's swing.
"He doesn't need to change his swing to hit a home run," the manager said. "I think it's fun for him. I think it's great for the organization, and also for baseball. People talk about him and how powerful he is."