Miami News & Search
The Most Valuable Player conversation is starting to heat up with just over a week left in the regular season.
The Marlins are on their final road trip, and they’re visiting two cities with deserving MVP players as well.
Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt is a front-runner. Goldschmidt and Stanton, perhaps, are the two front-runners.
“I haven’t really looked at everybody’s numbers, but there are a ton of guys you can look at,” Mattingly said.
Miami’s manager, however, has seen enough of Ozuna to know he’s stacking up with the best in the NL in a number of offensive categories — entering Saturday batting .309 with 36 home runs and 118 RBIs.
Stanton has 56 homers, and on Friday drove in his 121st run, which ties him with Preston Wilson (2000) for the season high in Marlins history. Ozuna also is likely to top 121 RBIs.
“Marcell has been consistent all year long, day in, day out,” Mattingly said.
As for Stanton, Mattingly added: “He’s a guy who is capable of hitting two [home runs] every night, pretty much.”
Ozuna was voted by the fans to start for the NL in the 2017 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, and Stanton started as the designated hitter.
Throughout Marlins history, having players top 35 home runs and drive in more than 115 runs has been rare.
If Ozuna reaches 38 homers, he will move into third place in club history for a season. Stanton holds the mark with 56, and Gary Sheffield is second with 42 in 1996.
The Marlins’ season RBI leaders behind Stanton/Wilson are Sheffield at 120 (1996), Miguel Cabrera at 119 (2007) and Ozuna at 118.
“It’s a matter of just having a consistent approach,” Mattingly said of driving in runs. “It doesn’t really matter that a guy is on second, if they get their hits, they drive in runs. Most important thing is to stay the same. Keep understanding what you want to do with that pitcher. If he’s not trying to attack, he’s going to go after the next guy. Understand that. Just hit.”
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Miami News & Search