Tag: Giancarlo Stanton

Giancarlo Stanton Injury Update: Marlins Activate Star OF vs. Phillies

The Miami Marlins have gotten their biggest bat back.

The Marlins reinstated Giancarlo Stanton from the disabled list and classified him as active for Tuesday night’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies, which they announced via Twitter: 

According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, Miami will only use Stanton as a pinch hitter, and it’s unclear when he can fully return to the lineup. If he were to reach base, Stanton would not require a pinch runner, per Spencer

However, in the fifth inning on Tuesday, Stanton hit a pinch-hit single and was promptly lifted for a pinch runner, per Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. 

Stanton has been out since Aug. 13 because of a groin injury he suffered when sliding into second base:

Originally forecasted as a season-ending injury, Stanton missed just 22 games, though his absence had an adverse effect on the Marlins’ postseason hopes. 

Heading into Aug. 14, the Marlins were 60-56 and just .5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the second National League wild card spot. Entering play Tuesday, Miami had fallen to 68-70 on the season, sitting five games behind the Cardinals for the second wild card spot.

While Stanton wasn’t enjoying his best season prior to his injury—he had a .244 batting average along with 25 home runs and 70 RBIopposing pitchers still had to be wary of him. It was especially true when he was able to get ahold of a pitch, as his power can turn a game on its head: 

Since Stanton went on the disabled list, Miami has gone just 8-14 while losing nine of its past 10 games. With the Cardinals, New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates all ahead of the Marlins in the wild-card standings, they can only hope Stanton’s bat sparks a turnaround with 24 games remaining. 


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

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Another Lost Giancarlo Stanton Season Sends Playoff-Hopeful Marlins Reeling

With Giancarlo Stanton having suffered yet another significant injury, now’s a good time to repurpose the catchphrase for Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game.

This time, it counts.

After placing Stanton on the disabled list with a groin injury early Sunday, per the Miami Herald‘s Andre C. Fernandez, the Miami Marlins earned a brief reprieve from the bad vibes with a 5-4 win over the Chicago White Sox. Their 61-56 record ties them with the St. Louis Cardinals for the National League‘s second wild-card spot, giving them a shot at their first postseason berth since 2003.

Immediately after the game, however, the bad vibes came rushing back. Joe Frisaro of MLB.com passed along the crushing Stanton news from Marlins skipper Don Mattingly:

It’s not quite a given that Stanton’s groin injury, which he suffered trying to leg out a double in Saturday’s game against the White Sox, will cost him the rest of the season. But even in leaving the door ajar for the slugging right fielder to return, Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill was careful not to get anyone’s hopes up.

“It’s a Grade 3 strain of his groin,” he said, per Frisaro. “We’re going to rehab it, and best-case scenario is a six-week return. Obviously, there is still opportunity for ‘G’ to be back this season’s end. But obviously, it was a significant injury and we’ll see how rehab goes.”

That sound you hear is a distressingly familiar tune.

With Stanton’s 2016 season likely over after 103 games, this is the fourth season out of the past five in which he’s fallen short of 140 games. He may only be 26, but that track record should spur serious discussions within the Marlins about what can be done to keep him healthy. With the bulk of his injuries afflicting his legs, a move from right field to first base should be on the table.

But that’s something for the Marlins to worry about later. For now, the question that needs answering is more straightforward: How the heck are they going to survive this?

It’s impossible to dress up Stanton’s 2016 season as one of his best. No thanks to an extended slump in May and June that rendered him one of baseball’s worst hitters, his .826 OPS is the worst of his career.

However, this is no excuse to downplay the impact of Stanton’s injury.

He was good before he went into that slump, putting up a 1.023 OPS with 10 homers in 26 games. He was also good after it, with a .943 OPS and 13 home runs in 48 games. Included in the latter sample size is the longest home run ever measured by Statcast, as good a sign as any that his unmatched power was still, well, unmatched.

The thought of being without Stanton’s power in the final six weeks of 2016 is not a happy one for the Marlins.

They’ve had a hard enough time hitting for power with him in the lineup. Their 96 total home runs rank ahead of only the Atlanta Braves in all of baseball. With Stanton and his 25 homers now on the sidelines, 26 percent of Miami’s home run output has suddenly vanished.

To make matters worse, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported Friday that first baseman Justin Bour is unlikely to return from his own injury until September. That’s 15 more homers out of reach, leaving Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich as the only double-digit home run guys still standing.

Matt Snyder of CBSSports.com summed up this not-so-pretty picture succinctly: “Home runs aren’t everything and the Marlins are already proof of that by hanging in the wild-card race. They are game-changers, though, and the Marlins now are mostly stuck trying to manufacture runs or luckily enough to string together lots of singles in a row for big innings.”

This isn’t an entirely hopeless scenario. The Marlins still have a decent collection of good hitters even without Stanton and Bour. Ichiro Suzuki is one of them, and he figures to be a bigger part of Miami’s plans going forward.

But Ichiro isn’t the most secure Band-Aid. It looks great that he’s hitting .316, but the 42-year-old’s age is catching up with him. He’s hit well under .300 since the break. Plus, Stanton has hit more home runs in 2016 than Ichiro has in the last six seasons combined.

As such, this MLB.com report about the Marlins having Alex Rodriguez on their radar was probably inevitable:

“I think we’re going through that process right now,” Hill said about exploring various pick-up options, per Frisaro. “We’re putting our list together of options. [Rodriguez] is available, so he will be on that list. We’ll see where that goes.”

Because A-Rod is a baseball legend with 696 career home runs to his name, the idea of him joining the Marlins is indeed a tantalizing prospect.

But realistic? Not as much.

The Marlins could afford Rodriguez, but he can’t play right field and has no business even playing first base at this point. The best role for the 41-year-old would be as a pinch-hitter. And after putting up a .598 OPS before his release from the New York Yankees, he would probably do more pinching than hitting.

The Marlins would be better off checking in on Carlos Gomez, whom the Houston Astros recently designated for assignment. They could also look into waiver trades for small fish (Ryan Raburn, anyone?) and big fish (Yasiel Puig, anyone?) alike.

But whatever the Marlins do, they’re not going to replace a guy who was one of the best hitters in the game on either side of that nasty slump. They can only hope to mask his absence. A run of red-hot pitching would do the trick there. To that end, Jose Fernandez’s workload concerns and Andrew Cashner’s ongoing mediocrity won’t help.

Put another way: Their quest to end a 13-year playoff drought suddenly doesn’t look so good.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted/linked.

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Giancarlo Stanton Injury: Updates on Marlins Star’s Groin and Return

Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton suffered a left groin strain during Saturday’s game against the Chicago White Sox. He has been ruled out for the season. 

Continue for updates.

Stanton’s Season is Over

Sunday, Aug. 14

After the Marlins received Stanton’s MRI results, manager Don Mattingly revealed the 26-year-old would not be able to return this season, per Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. President of baseball operations Michael Hill announced the MRI showed a Grade 3 strain, per Sports Illustrated

“It didn’t look real good,” Mattingly said of the injury Saturday, per Frisaro. “If you’ve seen that replay, it looked like he kind of pulled something. He felt something in his groin area. They’re looking at him now. We’ll see what happens with that.”

Stanton’s Power is Irreplaceable for Marlins

Stanton is one of the league’s premier power threats and a cornerstone of the Marlins’ offensive attack. The slugger averaged better than 30 home runs per season across his first six years in the big leagues. His career high is 37, which he’s totaled twice.

Injuries have also been a story throughout his career, though. He’s played more than 130 games only twice. His 2015 season came to a premature end after he suffered a hand injury in June. And he dealt with a knee problem during the early stages of spring training this year.

The Marlins will probably use several different players in an attempt to fill the void. Ichiro Suzuki figures to get the first crack in right field, but Derek Dietrich could also see an uptick in playing time.

With that said, the Miami offense shouldn’t be expected to find much consistent success while its most potent hitter is in recovery.


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Home Run Derby 2016: Top Highlights from Giancarlo Stanton’s Performance

Sixty-one. It’s a huge number in most cases, but Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton didn’t seem to have many issues reaching it Monday night in San Diego when he blew away the competition in the 2016 MLB Home Run Derby.

Stanton was the slugger in a silly-deep field able to take advantage of the event’s new-look rules, not just crushing 61 homers, but sending them eye-popping distances that kept him at the plate longer and the competition at bay.

As the round recaps show below, Stanton only really got a major test in the second round:

The first round was more of a warm-up than anything for Stanton, as Robinson Cano simply didn’t have the juice to keep up.

Mark Trumbo of the Baltimore Orioles was one of the heavy favorites going into the event, so the second round was trickier. The outfielder entered with 28 homers to his name but couldn’t match Stanton in the distance game.

Ditto for defending champion Todd Frazier in the finale, who won with the Cincinnati Reds last year and represented the Chicago White Sox on Monday. Frazier had survived the first two rounds by one home run apiece but also couldn’t match Stanton in the power department.

It’s not a knock—nobody could. Stanton belted a mind-boggling set of numbers and did so more consistently than anyone else, as ESPN Stats & Info broke down:

Look at a chart ESPN.com provided, detailing how many swings went yard:

Stanton took the second-most swings on the day, and half of them turned into homers. Insanity.

In charted form—it fits nicely—per MLB.com’s Daren Willman:

Oh, one needs wicked velocity to create these distances, right? Take a look at some details provided by #Statcast:

No, it wouldn’t be any fun to play infield against Stanton, folks.

Indeed, even someone like Oakland catcher Stephen Vogt made a comment after the contest about the folks in the field while Stanton was at the plate, according to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark:

I don’t think anybody understands what he just did. That’s superhuman. He was hitting every single ball well over 400 feet. I was actually scared for the kids in the field on some of the low line drives he was hitting. It’s not normal to be able to create that much bat speed and hit the ball that far. It was very impressive and incredible. The first three rows in the stands were not safe.

For Stanton, Tuesday was another career milestone and something he won’t soon forget, as Baseball Tonight captured:

The next step for Stanton is simple—repeat. Nobody expected Stanton to do much of anything in the first place. Folks knew he had power, but he had entered the event with just 19 homers, slotting him as a fifth seed. Even worse, he had put up a quiet performance in his only other appearance back in 2014.

How times have changed. Stanton is now the face of the Derby, the type of slugger who can excel under the new format even more so than Frazier. Interestingly enough, the man isn’t even part of the All-Star Game while much of this competition was.

It’s not meant to discredit the other participants, but Stanton was the highlight of Tuesday, an unexpected, record-breaking highlight who now personifies what the event is about and how batters can find success in it.

MLB isn’t changing the format anytime soon. And by the looks of it, Stanton has the distance and consistency in his swing to sit on this new throne for a quite a long time.

That’s an open challenge to the rest of the MLB.


All stats and info via ESPN.com unless otherwise specified.

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Giancarlo Stanton Became the 1st Marlins Player to Win Home Run Derby

On Monday, Giancarlo Stanton became the first player in Miami Marlins history to win the Home Run Derby.

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Home Run Derby King Giancarlo Stanton Stakes Claim as MLB’s Must-See Marvel

Maybe you forgot how good Giancarlo Stanton is at obliterating baseballs. The Miami Marlins masher played just 74 games in 2015 because of injury, after all, and hit a paltry .233 during the first half of this season.

Consider Monday’s All-Star Home Run Derby your reminder.

In a display that would make the creators of Backyard Baseball blush, Stanton cracked a combined 61 home runs in his three victorious rounds—a Derby record. 

He also dominated in the distance department, as MLB.com’s Mike Petriello highlighted:

After missing last year’s Derby because of a fractured hamate bone, Stanton rolled into the event as the favorite, according to the Odds Shark oddsmakers. But some, including yours truly, didn’t pick him to win. 


Say what you want about Stanton’s multiple trips to the disabled list and his uneven performance thus far in 2016. He is, with apologies to Michael Jackson, the undisputed “King of Pop.”

It’s not merely that Stanton sends the ball to places where it ought to carry a passport, though he certainly does that. It’s the way he looks: like the Platonic Ideal of a slugger—a man who was born (or possibly created in a super-secret bunker) to swing a wooden stick at a horsehide-covered projectile.

Baseball is a game of nuance as much as spectacle. True fans appreciate the subtle moments. But even in this pitching-dominated, post-steroid (or “post-steroid” if you’re feeling cynical) era, there’s something magical about a gargantuan home run arcing into the stratosphere.

We crane our necks. We hold our breath. We ooh; we aww. We marvel.

To win the 2016 Derby, Stanton dispatched the 2011 winner, Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners, with relative ease, bashing 24 homers to Cano’s seven. In the second round, he met stiffer competition in MLB home run leader Mark Trumbo of the Baltimore Orioles, but he prevailed 17-14.

Then came the final boss—defending Derby champ Todd Frazier. Last year, Frazier put on a clinic in front of his then-hometown Cincinnati Reds fans. This time, the Chicago White Sox third baseman ran out of mojo, dropping the championship bout to Stanton, 20-13, and giving ESPN play-by-play man Chris Berman the opportunity for an all-too-easy, “Down goes Frazier!”

Really, though, it was Stanton who went up. He won this event more than anyone else lost it.

“I had a great time,” Stanton told the Associated Press (via ESPN.com) moments after receiving the Derby trophy. “I had a blast.”

“Blast” being the operative word.

Here, let’s look at one of Stanton’s homers from the 61 on offer and gawk, courtesy of Fox Sports’ Dieter Kurtenbach:

There are other MLB spectacles that make for appointment viewing: Clayton Kershaw’s curveball, Bryce Harper’s swagger, a Noah Syndergaard heater. 

But right now, is there any other single act you’d rather witness than a signature Stanton bomb?

It’s tempting to say this Derby outburst will propel Stanton on a second-half surge. He showed signs of an onslaught recently, crushing five home runs in the final five games before the break, including four in four consecutive at-bats.

But even if he continues to scuffle in stretches, he’ll be a man whose at-bats delay a trip to the kitchen. You never know when he’s going to do that thing he does, but you know you want to be around when he does it.

Already, Stanton owns two of the season’s top five longest home runs, according to ESPN’s Home Run Tracker

And his 20 first-half homers traveled an average “true distance” of 421.8 feet, behind only Texas Rangers rookie Nomar Mazarawho has just 11 homers in alland the Colorado Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez, who plays his home games in the thin air of Coors Field and was knocked out by Frazier in the first round of the 2016 Derby. 

When you’re ranking the game’s top boppers, there’s Stanton, and then there’s everyone else. Oh, and he’s still just 26, meaning his prime power years are on the horizon.

He’s a freak of nature. A long-ball artist. And, now, a historically dominant Home Run Derby winner.

In other words: He’s Giancarlo Stanton, in case you forgot.


All statistics current as of July 11 and courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com, unless otherwise noted.

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Home Run Derby 2016: Breaking Down Bracket’s Top Participants

The first half of Major League Baseball’s 2016 season wrapped up Sunday, and the game’s top performers are now on their way to San Diego, California, for the 2016 MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday.

The Midsummer Classic’s festivities kick off Monday, highlighted by the Home Run Derby, which will air at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.

The Derby will follow the same bracket format MLB introduced in 2015. The eight participants are seeded according to their first-half home run totals.

The players have four minutes apiece to hit as many home runs as possible in the single-elimination tournament. Players can also gain extra time by blasting multiple home runs of at least 440 feet. 

MLB Communications recently released the bracket for Monday’s tournament:

Here’s a look at the field:

Chicago White Sox slugger Todd Frazier is the defending champ, having knocked off the Dodgers’ Joc Pederson in the championship round last season in Cincinnati. Frazier belted a combined 39 home runs during the tournament, reaching double digits in each round. 

Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners is another returning former champion, having won the Derby with 32 total home runs in 2011. Cano also competed in 2012 and 2013 but finished in last place both times with just four combined homers over the two years. 

The favorite in this year’s Derby might be the Miami Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton, who’s arguably the game’s most dangerous power hitter. 

This will be Stanton’s second appearance in the Derby. He first participated in 2014, advancing to the semifinals before being knocked out by Frazier and the New York Mets’ Yoenis Cespedes

Despite having a shaky first half, Stanton remains suited for the Home Run Derby. According to FanGraphs, he ranks fifth in the majors with a 25.7 percent home run-to-fly ball rate. Among this year’s participants, only the Baltimore Orioles’ Mark Trumbo (26.2 percent) has posted a higher rate than Stanton.

As ESPN Stats & Info demonstrated, Stanton is also the clear favorite to launch the deepest home runs in the Derby:

Trumbo enters the Derby as the No. 1 seed amid a career resurgence in Baltimore this season. With 28 first-half home runs, he has already surpassed his totals from the 2014 and 2015 seasons. 

The hitter-friendly Camden Yards may be slightly contributing to Trumbo‘s increased home run totals, but he’s managed an even split in the first half with 14 home runs apiece in Baltimore and on the road.

The sleeper in this year’s Derby could be Cincinnati Reds outfielder Adam Duvall. Eleven of Duvall‘s 23 first-half home runs traveled at least 400 feet, according to ESPN’s Home Run Tracker. 

Duvall also has an impressive 24.2 percent home run-to-fly ball rate, per FanGraphs, which ranks third among the participants in this year’s Derby.

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Giancarlo Stanton: 1st Player in Marlins History to Hit 200 Career HRs

Fact: On Wednesday, Giancarlo Stanton became the first player in Miami Marlins history to hit 200 career home runs with the franchise. 

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Giancarlo Stanton’s Awakening Could Be Major Boost for Upstart Marlins

The Miami Marlins have virtually the same winning percentage as the New York Mets. They’ve been flying, er, swimming under the radar, but they have some swagger going.

And now it looks like they may finally have their slugger going too.

Giancarlo Stanton, known to all as a very muscly man who mashes many homers, has spent most of the 2016 season in the kind of slump that could crush a less muscly man. It was only about a week ago that he was hitting just .193 through his first 55 games.

But now, things are looking up. Stanton found his bearings in a recent four-game set against the Colorado Rockies at Marlins Park, and he kept the good times rolling in a 4-2 win over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday. 

The Marlins’ right fielder began his day by clouting a mighty clout, his 14th, off lefty ace Jon Lester in the fourth inning, knotting the score at 1-1:

Later, in the eighth inning, Stanton finished his day by poking an RBI single to right field that gave the Marlins a 3-2 lead. They wouldn’t have won without him, which is basically saying the Marlins got a taste of the way things are supposed to be in Thursday’s game.

The way Stanton is going, there could be more of that on the way. He’s hit .400 with a couple of home runs over his last six games. That’s a small sample size, of course, but it’s a reminder this is the same guy who OPS’d .921 and averaged 32 homers a season over the previous five years.

By contrast, the Stanton the Marlins were seeing over the previous few weeks looked like a hitter who was completely lost. In addition to struggling to reach the Mendoza Line, he was striking out in 34.8 percent of his plate appearances. For a couple of weeks in May, he was mired in a 4-for-48 slump.

“I have to keep working at it,” Stanton told George Richards of the Miami Herald late last month. “I have to keep moving, progress. Don’t worry about the [numbers], worry about the work you’re doing and the process of that.”

One thing Stanton was powerless to control, though, was how he was being pitched. Dayn Perry of CBS Sports noticed the 26-year-old was seeing an unusually high number of sliders in 2016. As Brooks Baseball can show, his percentage of all breaking balls has shot up:

With this being the case, it’s hard to blame Stanton either for making contact on only a third of his swings at pitches outside the strike zone or, in a related story, his career-high 16.5 percent swinging-strike rate.

On the bright side, it never hurts to have one of the most dominant hitters of all time in your corner. And in this case, he was more than happy to help.

“He wanted to get out and work on some things, just tracking the ball and doing some little things,” Marlins hitting coach/legendary slugger of yore Barry Bonds said last month of his work with Stanton, per the Associated Press, via ESPN. “I just stepped in there to give him couple of breaks.”

It’s hard to tell if Stanton’s work with Bonds has resulted in any mechanical changes. But working on tracking the ball could translate into trying to see the ball longer. And the deeper a hitter lets the ball get into the hitting zone, the more likely he is to whack it to the opposite field.

Lo and behold, check out the righty swinger’s before and after usage of right field:

  • First 55 G: 17.8%
  • Next 5 G: 31.3%

In knocking both his home run and his go-ahead single to right field, Stanton continued this trend Thursday. This isn’t likely to be his M.O. the rest of the year, but it could be just what he needs to get comfortable again and ultimately find himself back atop baseball’s list of most feared sluggers.

For the Marlins, there’s no overstating how huge that would be.

They’re already good, as their 39-34 record puts them a mere percentage point behind the New York Mets (38-33) in the NL East standings. They are where they are partially because of a pitching staff that owns one of the 10 best ERAs in baseball, and partially because their collective .737 OPS arguably underrates their offense.

When the Marlins awoke Thursday morning, their cast of regulars included just two hitters who weren’t rating as above-average players in the eyes of adjusted OPS, where an even 100 denotes league average. Look toward the bottom here, and you’ll see one was Adeiny Hechavarria and the other was you-know-who:

It’s impressive that Stanton was rating as a league-average hitter despite all his struggles with consistency. Behold, the powerful effect that lots of power can have.

It’s even more impressive, however, that the Marlins pushed their record above .500 despite the fact the guy who should be their best hitter has been one of their worst. If they could get that far basically without him, the prospect of how far they might get with him is obviously enticing.

Because Stanton’s awakening has taken place over such a small sample size, there’s a limit to how much it can be trusted. Indeed, we’ve already had a similar discussion about Stanton this year. He fell into a slump soon after, which now feels strangely like a warning. 

But after all the Marlins have been through with Stanton this year, even subtle signs of progress are welcome. And in the last week or so, his signs haven’t been subtle.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted/linked.

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Giancarlo Stanton Rounding Back into Elite Form for Surging Marlins

Be careful out there. ‘Tis the season when you never know if a Giancarlo Stanton home run ball might come falling out of the sky.

The Miami Marlins right fielder went into Wednesday with five home runs in his last eight games. The Marlins won all but one of those, bringing themselves from well under .500 to a nice, respectable 13-12.

And against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Marlins Park, more of the same happened. Stanton contributed a pair of RBI to back Jose Fernandez in the Marlins’ 4-3 win, pushing their hot streak to nine wins in 10 games. One of his steaks came on an RBI double. The other, naturally, came on a dinger.

Here, feast thine eyes:

Via Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, Statcast tracked that ball at 111 miles per hour off the bat and measured its final resting place at 436 feet from home plate. In plain terms, it was your basic Stantonian dinger.

And he suddenly has a lot of those. The 26-year-old’s stretch of six home runs in his last nine games has bumped his total for the season up to nine, putting him behind only Nolan Arenado, Bryce Harper and Trevor Story for the major league lead.

I just checked with Stanton’s reputation, and it confirmed this is about where he’s supposed to be. This is, after all, perhaps the only guy in Major League Baseball big enough to pass as a believable Chewbacca. Slightly more to the point, Stanton is also a guy who led the National League in home runs in 2014 and who is baseball’s best overall power hitter since 2011.

Of course, the power wasn’t there for Stanton in the first couple of weeks of 2016. He cranked only two home runs in his first 10 games, also posting a decidedly unimpressive slash line of .205/.319/.359. The Marlins were unable to pick him up, losing seven of those 10 games.

As such, Marlins manager Don Mattingly might have had the right idea for what was eating his resident obliterator of baseballs.

“Just pressing a little bit, I think,” Mattingly said before a mid-April game against the Washington Nationals, per Craig Davis of the Sun Sentinel. “He was really swinging the bat pretty good, and then all of a sudden the other night, he got out of sorts a little bit.”

It wasn’t just Stanton’s surface numbers that characterized him as a hitter who was out of sorts. He was striking out in 31.9 percent of his plate appearances in his first 10 games, a high mark even for a whiff-happy slugger like himself. He was also putting 52 percent of his batted balls on the ground, otherwise known as the last place power hitters ever want to put the ball.

But since then, things have been different.

Stanton broke out of his slump with a long ball April 18, which looks like the opening salvo for the stretch he’s in now. He’s hit .300/.417/.780 over his last 14 games and has corrected the two big problems plaguing him early on. He’s struck out 26.7 percent of the time, and his batted-ball profile now bears a much-closer resemblance to what it was like last season:

The ground ball-to-fly ball ratio Stanton posted last year was a career low, and it helped him hit 27 home runs in just 74 games. I wrote in March how this was a case of him going all-in on his god-like power potential and that he would be in for a career year in 2016 if he picked up where he left off.

It took a couple of weeks, but this is essentially what Stanton has done. If he keeps combining his immense natural power with a steady stream of balls in the air, only the injury bug may be able to prevent him from shattering his single-season high of 37 home runs. ESPN.com’s projection of 56 home runs, for example, could actually be doable.

And let’s not forget Stanton can do more than just hit dingers. He’s also traditionally rated as an above-average defender, and he showed with a nifty throw Wednesday he can still handle himself in right field.

“He’s a well-rounded player, not just a home run hitter,” Mattingly told Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. “Everybody wants to [know] all about the home runs because it’s fun to see balls go that far. But from a manager’s standpoint, you like the fact he plays both sides.”

He’s right, and it should surprise nobody that the Marlins have been at their best when Stanton has been at his best. Even with his tremendous power and solid glove, they’re not one of the league’s more powerful teams or, according to Baseball Prospectus, one of the league’s more efficient defensive teams. Without Stanton propping up even one of those departments early on, the Marlins stumbled to a 5-11 start.

This is not to say the Marlins are going to continue winning games at a .900 clip for the rest of the season. That’s just silly, and the tough competition in the NL East and Dee Gordon’s lengthy absence aren’t going to help matters in the long run.

But anytime the Marlins have Stanton in a groove, they’re not going to be a fun team to play. And right now, he’s very much in a groove.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted/linked.

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