Lee mentors Stanton on nuances of batting cleanup

Lee mentors Stanton on nuances of batting cleanup

Lee mentors Stanton on nuances of batting cleanup
MIAMI -- Becoming an accomplished cleanup hitter is a process, even for players who possess plenty of power.

Giancarlo Stanton, among the strongest in the game, is still picking up the finer points of batting in the fourth spot.

The Marlins' 22-year-old is getting some advice from veteran Carlos Lee, who had hit cleanup until the switch was made a few days ago.

"He will be fine," Lee said. "He's going to be a guy who puts up 40 [homers] and drives in 120 [runs] for a long period of time. He's still learning the game. It's part of the process. We talk a lot. I always try to help him."

Lee made a suggestion earlier in the homestand, when the Marlins faced Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals.

"I told him the other day, sometimes you've got two guys on base and you're facing a guy like Strasburg," Lee said. "It's a guy who probably won't give up a three-run homer, so you've got to find a way to get the one, the guy on third base in. Things like that. You're not always going to hit the three-run homer. Get that one in."

Lee puts a premium on RBIs. To him, a 0-for-3 day is fine if you drive in a run.

Unlike a player's batting average, which moves in either direction on every at-bat, the RBI number can only go up.

"Your RBIs never go down," Lee said.

A player like Stanton has the ability to belt a home run on any swing, which makes him one of the most dangerous players in the game. Stanton belted home run No. 30, while hitting cleanup, on Tuesday.

"He's going to be a run producer anyway," Lee said. "When you hit in the lineup with runners on base in scoring position, the idea is to drive them in."

With experience, Lee has learned to not let where he is batting in the order affect him.

"It all depends on how you take it," the first baseman said. "My idea is when I've got guys on base, the pitcher is in trouble, not me. He's in trouble. I'm OK. I've got an opportunity to drive in runs.

"[Stanton's] going to learn and figure it out a little bit more. When he does, he's going to be very dangerous. It's not like he's not dangerous right now, but there are still little things. Sometimes you've got to get one when you can't get that three."