At the age of 30 and 3300 minor league at bats, Justin Ruggiano has exploded on the National League with a vengeance - Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE
It is August 10th, and this will be the first time we get a look at the revamped Miami Marlins team. They made some big splashes this winter bringing in top SS FA Jose Reyes, top pitching free agent Mark Buehrle, top closer FA Heath Bell, and one-time World Championship manager Ozzie Guillen. They also added a dinger machine to the new stadium,and with great expectations started the 2012 season.
The starting lineup looked like it could unseat the Phillies
1st - Gaby Sanchez
2nd - Omar Infante
SS- - Jose Reyes
3rd - Hanley Ramirez
LF - Logan Morrison
CF - Emilio Bonifacio
RF - Giancarlo Stanton
With a rotation of Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Anibal Sanchez, Zambrano, and Ricky Nolasco they looked ready and by all account they were. The team peaked on June 3rd, with a 31- 23 record and tied for 1st place. From there they went 3 - 17 and kissed the season good-bye.
Only one thing went right for the. They were indeed better then the Phillies. The bad news was the fact the Phillies were a last place team.
Gaby Sanchez - Now a Pirate after an awful 1st half
Omar Infante - Now a Tiger
Hanley Ramirez - Now a Dodger
Logan Morrison - quickly becoming the next Nick Johnson
Emilio Bonifacio - now a second baseman
The only constants have been Stanton and Reyes.
So what will we see this weekend?
1st base is now manned by Carlos Lee who is hitting alot of singles for the Marlins. He comes into this game courting a 14 game hitting streak (21 / 50) but with only three doubles out of those 21 hits. Carlos Lee is a Marlin because it was not that long ago the Marlins thought they were competing for a postseason berth.
2nd baseman Emilio Bonifacio is hurt again so the likes of Nick Green, Donavan Solano, or Donnie Murphy will be manning 2nd base.
SS - Jose Reyes
3rd Base - Same three as second base along with Greg Dobbs
LF - 10 different players have taken at least an inning in left field for the Marlins. I'm going to guess that Bryan Peterson will be seen most of the time this weekend. Austin Kearns might get some play as well as Scott Cousins. It would be like watching the Dodger left field group before Shane showed up.
CF - The biggest surprise in baseball just might be the continued success of one Justin Ruggiano. Ruggiano spent a bazillion years in the Tampa Bay system after being part of a trade from the Dodgers in 2006. He got about three callups and around 200 major league appearances in six years. They cut him loose and the Marlins signed him for minor league depth. On May 27th he got his first National League at bat and has not looked back. He's 30 years old. Never say never
RF - Giancarlo Stanton - continues to be one of the best power hitting kids in history
Player HR From To Age PA OPS Mel Ott 115 1926 1931 17-22 2644 .975 Eddie Mathews 112 1952 1954 20-22 1874 .944 Alex Rodriguez 106 1994 1998 18-22 2271 .906 Tony Conigliaro 104 1964 1967 19-22 2046 .849 Frank Robinson 98 1956 1958 20-22 1967 .899 Bob Horner 91 1978 1980 20-22 1369 .864 Ted Williams 91 1939 1941 20-22 1942 1.114 Ken Griffey 87 1989 1992 19-22 2422 .860 Johnny Bench 87 1967 1970 19-22 1963 .823 Jimmie Foxx 86 1925 1930 17-22 1976 1.033 Mickey Mantle 84 1951 1954 19-22 2201 .896 Al Kaline 82 1953 1957 18-22 2575 .846 Andruw Jones 80 1996 1999 19-22 1890 .811 Boog Powell 79 1961 1964 19-22 1508 .833 Miguel Cabrera 78 2003 2005 20-22 1716 .889 Giancarlo Stanton 77 2010 2012 20-22 1327 .887 Orlando Cepeda 76 1958 1960 20-22 1906 .858 Juan Gonzalez 75 1989 1992 19-22 1390 .802 Joe DiMaggio 75 1936 1937 21-22 1361 1.006
I'm counting eight current HOF and three probable HOF above him. Leaving only the Kid, Boog, Andruw, and Bob Horner as players who have hit more home runs at his age who did not go on to be some of the greatest home run hitters in history.