Mike Stanton smacking it for Marlins’ Jacksonville Suns

Stanton, Suns finish up strong

Mike Stanton(Greensboro Grasshoppers 2008), the Florida Marlins’ second-round pick in 2007, belted a go-ahead grand slam and a two-run homer in Monday’s regular-season finale as playoff-bound Double A Jacksonville topped Huntsville, 9-5.

The Suns clinched the Southern League’s South Division second-half title Sunday.

Mike Stanton hit .231 with 16 homers and 53 RBIs in 79 games with the Suns this year.

more on Stanton’s game from www.mlb..com:

Stanton and the Suns jumped on a bus to Birmingham, Ala. after the game, where they will take on the Barons in the first round of the Southern League playoffs on Thursday.

“Having that last game as a ‘W’ helps us going to Birmingham,” said Stanton, who was ranked third on MLB.com’s most recent list of top prospects. “We’re all ready, but were not overanxious at all.”

A career-high six-RBI performance will ease the tension of any slugger, especially Stanton, whose average has dipped well below the numbers he posted earlier this season with Class A Advanced Jupiter. He finishes the regular season hitting .231 at Double-A, but with the playoffs looming, he has a chance to start over again.

“It’s a new season now. Hopefully we’re going to come back and come out with some hardware,” he said.

Stanton, the Marlins’ second-round pick in the 2007 Draft, made a huge impact as an 18-year-old last summer Greensboro, pounding out 97 RBIs to match his .293 average. He hit .297 with Jupiter, but has been challenged at Double-A — he batted .210 in August and was hitting just .118 in five games this month before Monday.

“Any level is going to be harder going up. It’s just a long adjustment process, and it’s taken me a little longer than expected to get used to,” Stanton said of Double-A. “But this was great for me. It’s a learning process for the three months I’ve been here, and it’s been a jump-start for me next year.”

Stanton showed off Monday the raw power that has the Marlins so excited. He finished 2-for-4 with a walk and wrapped up his first Double-A stint with 53 RBIs in 73 games.

“I’m not happy with my performance [this season], but I’m happy with what I’ve learned and what’s going to help me in the long run going through not such a great season here,” he said. “When I’m older and more mature.”

Monday marked the most productive game of Stanton’s brief career — his previous high-water mark came Aug. 13, 2008 when he slugged a grand slam and knocked home five runs in Greensboro’s 17-11 win over Hickory.

The Panorama, Calif. native has six career multi-homer games — he last did it July 1 with a pair of solo shots against Montgomery. He managed the feat four times with Greensboro in 2008.

The 6-foot-5, 240-pound outfielder said the big game helps him personally as the playoffs draw near.

[At Double-A,] you have guys playing like it’s their last game. You’ve got to be batting like it’s your last at-bat,” said Stanton. “We’re going to enjoy these two days off, rest a bit, and we’ll come back Thursday ready to go.”