22-year-old right fielder Giancarlo Stanton is set to headline for the Miami Marlins in 2013. Stanton is coming off a surprising .290/.361/.608 line from 2012, in which he shot off 37 home runs for Miami. All of the above were career-highs in Stanton’s three-year MLB career. With a solid crop of high-end outfielders available for fantasy baseball owners, many are curious as to which to draft when. Let’s see where Stanton should fall for 2013.
Let’s face it, the major draw to Giancarlo Stanton is the major power he possesses, as demonstrated by his .608 slugging percentage, which was best in the National League in 2012. Stanton finished second in the National League in home runs in 2012 with 37, just four behind Ryan Braun. Other than Braun, only Curtis Granderson, Adam Dunn, Josh Hamilton, Edwin Encarnacion and Miguel Cabrera hit more home runs than Stanton. Cabrera hit 44 home runs, for the first rung in his 2012 Triple Crown.
Interestingly enough, Stanton played in only 123 games in 2012. This was 25 less games than Hamilton who tied for second most home runs in the majors (and played the least games of the above home run leaders), and 38 less games than Cabrera. If Stanton played in 25 more games, he would’ve hit 7.5 more home runs based on the averages, leaving him with 44 home runs on the year.
Shifting away from the power numbers, and over to the .290 batting average. Stanton took a huge leap in average last season, up from .262 in 2011, and .259 in 2010. His strikeout rate did drop, though not dramatically, from 2011 to 2012. The true indicator was his BABIP, jumping from .314 in 2011 to .344 in 2012. That’s a healthy 30-point increase, turning what were outs in 2011 into hits in 2012.
Marlins manager Mike Redmond is not yet settled on Stanton’s spot in the Marlins batting order, but it will be either third or fourth. What is all-but confirmed, is the presence of left fielder Juan Pierre and third baseman Placido Polanco atop the Marlins lineup. Polanco, a career .299 hitter, and Pierre, who hit .307 last season, are solid hitters to bat in front of Stanton, which will set the slugger up nicely to drive in runs.
Stanton’s major combatant this year, will be exactly what it has been throughout his three-year MLB career so far, which is his health.
If Stanton stays healthy, he will lead the majors in home runs.
Combine that with his progression at the plate, and overall growth as a player, his fourth MLB season should be a memorable one at the least. Keep in mind, Stanton turns only 21 years old this coming June. He’s by far, the youngest player mentioned in this article.
My projection for Giancarlo Stanton in 2013: .279/.354/.705 with 85 runs, 48 home runs and 104 RBI
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