Giancarlo Stanton Is Hurting BaseballsBy
Earlier today, while I was having breakfast, I overheard a disturbing statement that immediately grabbed my attention. Speaking to his girlfriend, a twenty-something year old gentleman remarked, very matter-of-factly, “I wish it were legal to just beat the crap out of whoever you wanted to.”
I had many questions running through my head after hearing this, chief among them was how a blueberry bagel could extract so much anger out of a single individual. But that’s beside the point. Anyways, in what has to be the worst segue in history, Giancarlo Stanton happens to be beating the crap out of baseballs. Since the beginning of this month, he’s doing it with increasing regularity, and from what I can tell, Bud Selig has yet to outlaw this behavior.
Some were worried when Stanton got off to a sluggish start in April, hitting just one home run and slugging a paltry .342. Though the concerns about his slow start were nowhere near the level of one Albert Pujols, it raises at least a few eyebrows in and around an organization when the guy you’re counting on to mash baseballs over the fences just isn’t doing it.
Through 16 games in May, however, the artist formerly known as Mike has posted a 1.150 OPS and has already walked seven more times (two of them intentional) than he did in all of last month.
It’s tough to accurately pinpoint one specific reason for Stanton’s sluggish start, though it could have certainly had something to do with figuring out how the ball plays at new Marlins Park. Six of his eight home runs this season have come on the road, but as the weather begins to heat up, the home/road split will likely even out. Another reason could be that he’s a slow starter in general, as his April 2011 slash line of .235/.350/.426 looks somewhat similar to its 2012 counterpart.
Whatever the reason, what’s important for Ozzie Guillen is that once Stanton does heat up, he’s among the most venerable power threats in all of baseball. The inconsistency of Hanley Ramirez and recent injury of Emilio Bonifacio has added even more importance to Stanton’s presence in the lineup and it’s probably no coincidence that the Marlins are 13-4 in the month of May now that he has been carrying a majority of the weight on offense. Not bad for a guy that’s just 22 years of age.
The race for the NL East crown has been about as even as you can get, with first and fifth place being separated by just four games, and if the Marlins want to stay in the race until the very end, they’ll need Stanton to continue to build upon what he’s done this month.