MLB RBI leader Stanton closing in on Marlins records

MLB RBI leader Stanton closing in on Marlins records

MIAMI -- Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton is becoming more than just a power hitter. His fast start has also placed him in the category of run producer.

Stanton paced the Majors with 44 RBIs entering Thursday. He added his 45th RBI with a single in the sixth inning of Miami's 4-3 walk-off win.

At age 24, the imposing right fielder is figuring out how to knock in runs without necessarily knocking the ball over the wall. Another example came on Wednesday night in Miami's 14-5 win over the Phillies at Marlins Park.

Stanton went hitless in four at-bats, yet he knocked in a run with a groundout to second base. Thus far, Stanton is off to his best start in finding ways to produce runs.

"That's what is going to separate you," the slugger said. "Are you just going to get RBIs with homers or are you going to be an all-around threat?"

Stanton's best slugging season came in 2012, when he belted 37 homers and drove in 86 runs. His .608 slugging percentage was the best in the Majors.

A year ago, Stanton endured an injury-plagued season, which limited him to just 116 games. He finished with 24 homers and 62 RBIs.

In Marlins history, no player has reached 50 RBIs before June 1. With time running out in May, Stanton has a shot to reach that mark. According to STATS LLC, Mike Lowell in 2001 reached 50 RBIs faster than any player in club history. It took 57 games for the former All-Star third baseman to reach the mark.

The Marlins record for RBIs before the All-Star break also is held by Lowell, who had 76 in 2003.

Stanton has a chance to move up the RBI ladder.

The power-hitting right fielder also knows that he doesn't have to carry the offense by himself. Casey McGehee, who regularly bats behind Stanton, has 30 RBIs.

"I've got this guy hitting behind me," Stanton said. "He can knock them in if I don't."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter