The young player most likely to emerge as a MVP candidate in 2012 is Mike Stanton of the Miami Marlins. With two years of Major League Baseball experience behind him, this young bopper already has accumulated 56 homeruns and 146 RBI while sporting a respectable batting average of .261. Mike is sure to improve on those numbers with the Marlins moving into a new ballpark and the team bolstering its lineup this winter. The Marlins were very active in the free agent market acquiring 2011 NL batting champion Jose Reyes who will provide Mike with RBI opportunities by getting on base in front of him.
Last season Stanton led all National League batters with 15 no-doubt homeruns (according to HitTrackerOnline) and hit the longest home runs of the season in Nationals Park, Coors Field and Citi Field as well as his home park Sun Life Stadium. As a result of his prodigious tape-measure blasts, he earned the nicknames “Moonshot” and “The Unnatural”. The move to the exciting new Marlins Park and its retractable dome should only increase Stanton’s power numbers this year and for years to come.
The Marlins were the most talked-about team at this year’s winter meetings in Dallas Texas. They were “in the hunt” for Albert Pujols right down to the wire before he eventually signed with the Angels. I mention this because it is the writers who vote for the MVP and Cy Young awards so many have already got their interests peaked with that free-agent frenzy and the signing of colorful manager Ozzie Guillen. Having the outspoken manager can only propel the Marlins into the limelight thus allowing them to witness Mike Stanton’s prowess throughout the 2012 Major League season.
The sky is the limit for this 22 year old outfielder if he can stay healthy this year. Last year he suffered eye and leg injuries which undoubtedly curbed his bid to reach the 40 home run mark. He has shown improvement in just about all the measurable offensive statistical categories from his first year in the bigs to his second. He improved his OBP from .326 to .356, his SLG from .507 to .537, his OPS from .833 to .893 as well drawing more walks and cutting down on his strikeouts.
There are many reasons a case can be made as to why Mike Stanton will be in the running for Most Valuable Player in 2012. Remember, Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder switched leagues and Ryan Braun might have to serve a fifty game suspension. Addition by subtraction for sure, but those transactions give Stanton less perennial NL MVP candidates to go against in the upcoming season. It can also be said that playing for a winner increases a players chances to win the MVP award. With the Marlins additions of pitchers Heath Bell, Mark Buehrle, and Carlos Zambrano to go with Josh Johnson the Marlins should compete, thus making Mike Stanton’s chances to win the MVP that much better.