Giancarlo Stanton is homer-less on the year — is that an issue?By
In a nutshell, the answer is no.
This past week, when the ever-so-famous Bill Baer exchanged questions for the Marlins/Phillies series with yours truly he asked me an especially intriguing question. Despite, at the time, the season only being four games old Bill wanted to know if there was any reason in particular as to why Mike Stanton hadn’t yet gone deep. It’s true; Mike Stanton is easily one of the game’s most feared sluggers and, after seven games through the season he hasn’t yet hit a home run.
Only six games have been played so far this year. The fact that Stanton is homer-less, at least to me, isn’t a huge concern because he’ll obviously heat up. Additionally, he’s not the only slugger who’s yet to blast a round-tripper (Andrew McCutchen, Carlos Gonzalez, Paul Konerko & Lance Berkman are others in that category). And I’m sure Stanton has gone through stretches in the past when he played six straight games (or more) without hitting a homer. But there is some reason to believe that something could possibly be wrong with the slugger, especially considering his fly ball rate sits close to the bottom of the league.
Of course, Stanton’s recent knee injury is sure to be a prime reason for his lack of power this year. It could also be a reason for his lack of offense as a whole, but his K, 27.6% isn’t too alarming. Generally, you can tell the difference between “lack of power” and “luck” based on a hitter’s fly ball rate. If he’s consistently hitting the ball to the deepest parts of the outfield only to see them fall and get caught on the warning track, it’s not entirely his fault. It would be unusual, even at the early stages of the season, to see Stanton’s name toward the bottom of the fly ball rate list, but he’s definitely there. At 29.4%, Stanton sits in between Marco Scutaro and Dee Gordon (same fly ball percentage), who are obviously in the lower half as well.
Stanton will hit his fair share of home runs. After all, few hitters are as offensively capable as him. However, Stanton needs to get this knee problem sorted out because the last thing he or the Marlins need is another lingering injury. It is surprising that his fly ball rate is so low, but I assume it has some relation to the fact that his knee isn’t 100% at the moment. If he’s still homer less a few weeks from now, then that might warrant some reason to worry, but right now is certainly way too early.