Stanton puts on a show in batting practice

Stanton puts on a show in batting practice

JUPITER, Fla. - When Mike Stanton steps to the plate in batting practice, it is must-see-BP.

The Marlins' 22-year-old slugger didn't disappoint on Thursday.

On a back field at the Roger Dean Stadium complex, Stanton went up against a pitching machine. It was no contest.

Stanton's ability to hit home runs is well documented. He had 34 last year, and has 56 in 250 MLB games.

What Stanton did on Thursday was remind you that he is a candidate to lead the league in home runs.

Stanton worked on hitting the ball to the opposite field, and he repeatedly blistered the ball, either driving smashes off the wall in right-center or depositing them over the fence.

During one round, he hit three consecutive opposite-field home runs. And he completed the round with two in a row to right field.

The one ball he pulled to left easily cleared the fence.

Manager Ozzie Guillen knows the 6-foot-5, 250-pound Stanton can connect on long home runs. What the manager wants are many homers, not a few tape-measured.

"I keep telling people, I don't want the long ones, I want a lot," the manager said. "That's the difference between a home run, 500 feet. How about 390 [feet], give me 40 at 390 or 310. That's what we need."

Stanton's ability to crush a baseball is expected.

"He's only 22 years old," Guillen said. "This kid has a future, and he's going to have those three guys [Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio or Omar Infante, and Hanley Ramirez] hitting in front of him. How about when a guy is on third base, get that RBI. That's how you win."