The Miami Marlins know they have a talented young slugger in Giancarlo Stanton, but there is still a lot of unknown that comes along with him. He’s having an excellent spring and has a proven track record for power hitting, but he’s missed time due to injury and has struggled with strikeouts and defense in the past.
Stanton has hit five home runs this spring, including a mammoth shot off Detroit Tigers‘ lefty Drew Smyly on Sunday which pierced a stiff wind and still had enough to leave the park. He leads his team in RBIs and runs, and has yet to commit an error this spring. He has looked confident in the outfield and appears to have cut down on the strikeouts for now. He’s showing the Marlins he’s capable of anchoring the lineup when healthy, but staying healthy hasn’t been easy for him lately.
Stanton is just 24 years old, but he has missed 85 games over the last two seasons. He has had consistent power when he’s been able to play. He hit 37 home runs in his first full season in 2011 and was on pace for a similar total last year but dealt with a couple different injuries that kept him sidelined. He has the makeup of a hitter who could lead MLB in home runs, but he has to play a full season if he’s going to contend for that title.
Strikeouts have always been a another problem area for Stanton, but he’s cut down on his strikeout rate a little bit this spring. Stanton has averaged just 3.05 at-bats per strikeout over his major league career but has gotten that number up to 4.36 in the Grapefruit League.
If he’s able to stay healthy, he’ll most likely have a big year. He hits arbitration in 2015, so this will be a key season for him heading into contract negotiations. Sometimes that has the power to keep a player healthier than usual.
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