Stanton Emerges As One Of Game's Best Power Hitters
Stanton Putting It All Together In 2014
Giancarlo Stanton has always been one of Major League Baseball's most prolific power hitters, not to mention the biggest threat to hit a ball 400+ feet at any point in time, but he is finally putting it all together in 2014.
However, Stanton has been the best power hitter of the three as of late. Both Abreu and Cruz had 25 home runs through the month of June, Stanton had 21. Over the last month in change, Stanton has ten home run's to Abreu's and Cruz's six.
Better yet, Stanton has hit eight longballs over his last eighteen games played, while Cruz has three and Abreu has two over that same span.
Prior to this season, Stanton had 117 home runs in 489 career games played, an average of just over four games per home run, but he has 31 home runs through 118 games played this season, an average of 3.8 games per home run.
No big deal right? That's not a major change for the 24-year-old, so what's Stanton doing better this year than he has done in every other year in his career?
For one, some credit has to go to Casey McGehee who has hit .302/.371./383 with 60 RBIs behind him in the lineup. Without his clutch bat hitting cleanup, 2014 would likely be a different story for Stanton.
Another factor that has worked in favor of Stanton this season has been his ability to take more pitches and lay off more pitches outside of the zone.
Stanton knows he can hit just about any baseball out of any park that has probably ever been built, heck everyone in baseball knows that, but year after year we've watched him chase pitches he shouldn't have in an effort to make something happen for the team.
This year, although he is one pace to set a new career-high in strikeouts with 185, he has struck out less to this point in the season than in his other seasons. Stanton has 135 strikeouts through 118 games in 2014, but he had 123 strikeouts through 100 games in his rookie year and 140 strikeouts through 116 games last season.
Rather than trying to clobber every pitch he gets to left field, Stanton is also letting pitches get deeper in the zone and hitting them where they are supposed to be hit. He has 14 home runs to left or left-center, five home runs to dead center and 12 home run to right or right-center field.
Stanton is also on pace for 43 HRs and 113 RBIs, meaning he could break Gary Sheffield's single-season home run record for the Marlins, as he hit 42 home runs in the 1996 season.
He is also set to become the Marlins all-time home run leader this season, as his two blasts last night tied him with Hanley Ramirez for second on the Marlins all-time list (148). Dan Uggla is first all-tme with 154.
However, it took Uggla 776 games to hit his 154 home runs and Hanley 943 games to hit his 148 home runs with Miami, while it has taken Stanton only 607 games to reach his 148 career longballs.
Stanton is also posting a career-high AVG (.292) and OBP (.393) to this point in the season. His previous career-high in OBP was last season, when he got on base at a .365 clip.
All of this adds up to Stanton's best all-around season to this point in his young career. He leads the National League in home runs (31), RBIs (82) and walks (71), is second in SLG (.568) and OPS (.961), and third in runs scored (76).
It's crazy to think this guy is just 24-years-old and still going to get better. Watch out Major League Baseball.