Stanton celebrates two-year MLB anniversary

Stanton celebrates two-year MLB anniversary

Stanton celebrates two-year MLB anniversary
MIAMI -- Giancarlo Stanton celebrated an anniversary on Friday night.

Exactly two years ago, the slugger made his MLB debut.

On June 8, 2010, Stanton (then going by Mike) was a 20-year-old who took the field for the first time when the Marlins faced the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

In a relatively short big league career, Stanton is emerging into a force. He enters Friday night batting .296 with 14 home runs and 41 RBIs this season.

"Growth, maturity. I think he's getting a lot better every day," Marlins hitting coach Eduardo Perez said. "The beauty of it is, everybody talks about his home runs. I see him more as a line-drive hitter.

"I'm seeing him hit a lot more line-drive home runs. When he first came up, you'd see a lot of mammoth, high-fly ball shots. He's worked more on his line-drive skill. That's making him more of a dangerous hitter. You can tell by his average. You can tell by his approach with runners in scoring position. It's a lot better."

Since Stanton debuted, his 70 home runs is tied with Prince Fielder for the fifth most in the big leagues over that span.

Jose Bautista has hit the most in that timeframe (94). Curtis Granderson (79) follows, and Albert Pujols and Mark Teixeira each have 74.

Stanton stands in elite company in his relatively short time in the big leagues.

The pure power, of course, is there. But he's also standing among the best in the game in categories other than home runs. His .535 slugging percentage, for instance, ranks up there with Pujols' .538 since June 8, 2010.

"He's growing at a rapid pace," Perez said.