Giancarlo Stanton landed a ball in the center-field, upper-deck seats at Marlins Park during batting practice Wednesday, leaving his disbelieving teammates shaking their heads. The Marlins’ 22-year-old slugger will be putting his power on display for an entire country to see on July 9 when he takes part in the Home Run Derby in Kansas City.
Stanton confirmed that he was chosen to participate.
“We’re in there,” he said as he trotted off the field following batting practice.
The Home Run Derby is the main appetizer leading into the All-Star Game, which will be held a day later. Stanton would become the fifth Marlin to participate in the event.
“I love his chances,” said Marlins coach Joe Espada, who throws batting practice to Stanton before every game. “This guy has the best chance to win the Home Run Derby because he can mishit the ball and it’s going to go over the fence.”
Stanton hit his 17th home run of the season Tuesday, a 456-foot bomb off the batter’s eye in dead center at Marlins Park. He has already hit 73 home runs in his big-league career.
“Everybody’s waiting to see this kid on that kind of stage,” Espada said. “Everybody’s talking about it. I’m waiting for it. He’ll play to the crowd, the oohs and ahhs. He’ll get it going. It’ll be fun.”
Stanton was invited to participate by the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp, who was put in charge of choosing the National League’s four-man team.
Previous Marlins to take part in the Home Run Derby were Gary Sheffield (1996), Miguel Cabrera (2006), Dan Uggla (2008) and Hanley Ramirez (2010). No Marlin has won the event.
• The Marlins’ top baseball executives met Wednesday in Miami. Topping the discussion: the team’s June nose dive.
While one source said the meeting is common practice as the season approaches its halfway point, another said it was anything but as the front office scrambles for solutions to end the skid.
Brought in for the meeting were a handful of front office executives who spend most of their time roving the country, including assistant general manager Dan Jennings, vice president of player development Marty Scott and director of player development Brian Chattin.
• Jose Fernandez, the 19-year-old right-hander who was the Marlins’ top draft pick last year, is scheduled to make his debut for Single A Jupiter on Thursday at Roger Dean Stadium. Fernandez was recently promoted from Single A Greensboro (N.C.), where he went 7-0 with a 1.59 ERA in 14 starts and struck out 99 in 79 innings.
• Thursday: No game.
• Friday: Marlins RHP Josh Johnson (4-5, 3.96 ERA) vs. Philadelphia Phillies LHP Cliff Lee (0-4, 3.72), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
• Scouting report: The season turned south for the Marlins after they won two out of three in Philadelphia to start the month. The Phillies will be making their first visit to Marlins Park.