MIAMI -- The Mike Stanton watch is officially under way.
The Marlins' most anticipated prospect since Miguel Cabrera broke into the big leagues at age 20 in 2003, Stanton is powering his way closer to the big leagues.
With 20 home runs and 50 RBIs at Double-A Jacksonville, Stanton is making a strong case to be promoted. It is a matter of time before the Marlins pull the trigger, but strong indications are it won't be until at least next week.
Speculation has run rampant about Stanton after he belted two home runs on Tuesday night in Jacksonville. Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest was at the game. There was a thought that Stanton could join the Marlins, perhaps as early as Thursday in their series finale at home with the Brewers.
The Marlins open a nine-game road trip against the Mets at Citi Field on Friday. According to a source, the team isn't leaning toward having the 20-year-old slugger debut in New York. The earliest possible date could be at Philadelphia on June 8. Another scenario could be to promote him on June 11 at Tampa Bay, where he could be the designated hitter.
For now, the arrival date is purely speculation.
Stanton, a 20-year-old sensation who is No. 3 on MLB.com's Top 50 Prospects List, was a second-round Draft pick in 2007. A three-sport athlete at Notre Dame High School in Southern California, Stanton once turned down a football scholarship to play for Pete Carroll at USC.
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound outfielder has 60 career Minor League home runs in 604 at-bats.
Offensively, Stanton is ready. The team is questioning whether he is ready defensively. He has played right field a majority of the time at Jacksonville. Of late, he's seen some action in left field.
Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez recently said he would anticipate Stanton batting seventh when he joins the team.
Whenever Stanton gets brought up, the Marlins will have a decision on what to do with their outfield. Chris Coghlan got off to a slow start, but in the past two weeks, he has heated up in the leadoff spot. Center fielder Cameron Maybin also has been up and down. Cody Ross is the regular right fielder, but he could switch to center field to make room for Stanton in right field.