Stanton Back To Old SelfBy
Giancarlo is back. After starting this April with only one home run and a serious dip in his power numbers across the board, Stanton has returned to his regular self in May. So far he’s knocked out 11 homers to go along with a .324/.410/.735 (BA/OBP/SLG) slash line, and the month isn’t over yet. Although it took him longer than expected, Stanton has finally gotten going this year, and he appears to be back on track to hit somewhere around 40 home runs this year.
The main reason for Stanton’s recent success has been the uptick in HR/FB%. In April, only 6% if the fly balls he hit were home runs, while 30.3% have ended up as home runs in May. Stanton’s career HR/FB rate is 23.9%, and he was due for some positive regression towards his true skill level–some regression which he’s clearly taking advantage of.
The change in Stanton has not only been in home runs, however. He has also hit more than twice the amount of doubles in May (9) than he had in April (4), and his Isolated Slugging is up from .096 to .398.
Thanks to the data at TexasLeaguers, we can see visually the difference between the two months for Stanton.
With this graph, what becomes clear is not only did Stanton hit but one home run, but he really didn’t hit for very much power at all. Most of his hits here were singles (either to center or left), and only a few were even threatening fly balls. While not terrible, April was definitely below standard for Stanton, given what we’ve seen and come to expect from him.
Here Stanton is pulling the ball much more, and pulling the ball for power. The majority of his hits are no longer in shallow center, but in the left field gap and in deep left field. Also noteworthy is the re-emergence of opposite field power for Stanton. Although he has yet to hit a home run the other way, in May he’s had multiple well driven balls to right field for extra bases.
As Dave pointed out a few weeks ago, Stanton’s lack of power to start the season had not yet reached the point of concern, given the small number of plate appearances. And, while Marlins fans would have liked him to get off to a better start, Stanton did eventually heat up. In doing so, he also effectively erased any lingering doubts or questions regarding his slow start.
Data from Fangraphs, Baseball-Reference, and TexasLeaguers