Giancarlo Stanton is off to a slow start. The Miami Marlins are, too, which is anything but a surprise. With the second lowest payroll in the Bigs, they are a rebuilding team, coming off a fire sale this offseason.
Stanton, by far the most talented player left on this team, ended 2012 in an impressive fashion. In the final 21 games of the season, he launched 8 home runs, 3 doubles, a triple, and notched 10 walks. The first 21 games of 2013 have been a much different story.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Stanton has played 15 times, and has stepped up to the plate on 66 occasions. During that time, he has compiled a whopping .200 batting average, a .255 slugging percentage, zero home runs, 3 RBIs, 21 strikeouts, and just 11 hits. He has walked 10 times, which may be the only “positive” part of his dismal start at the plate.
The right fielder, who was drafted in the 2nd round in 2007, is playing well below his career totals. Now in his fourth season, Stanton’s career averages are highlighted by a .541 slugging percentage, (.608 in 2012) and a .268 batting average. To put it simply, Stanton is underperforming this season. He was meant to be the young centerpiece of the Marlins organization, or else prime trade bait for Miami as the season progressed. Right now, though, his focus needs to be on getting out of this rut in order for the Marlins to find success.
Will he end this slump soon? The stats say "yes."
His career batting average, slugging percentage, home runs, and RBIs are all lowest in the month of April. Stanton starts slow. Every other month’s slugging percentage is nearly .100 points higher. His career home run total in April is 3. His next lowest, in June, is 12. Stanton starts slow.
Historically, Stanton also improves after the All Star break. During his career, his slugging is up .90 points in the second half, and his average is up .033 points. He hits more home runs after the All-Star break than before it (51 against 42).
The home runs and slugging percentage are the important metrics here. Stanton has batted third in all of his games this season, and his numbers with runners in scoring position are dismal, as is his home run total. After hitting 37 home runs in 123 games last season, Stanton is the Marlins' main source of power hitting and run production. The Marlins have 6 home runs and 54 runs this season. Both of those marks put them in dead last in the MLB in each category – by a long shot.
Now, this is not to say that Giancarlo Stanton will be responsible for a Marlins turn around. He won’t be. Also, the pieces that surround him don’t lend themselves to great run production and success. Nonetheless, Stanton himself is off to a poor start. He isn’t hitting the ball for power or average.
Historically, Stanton is weak in April, and for his sake, this needs to change. As great as it must be to become the future of the “Miami Marlins," Stanton's priority will be on producing a strong May – the Marlins need it. Luckily for Stanton and Marlins fans, based on past experience, this shouldn't be out of the question.
By: Sam Barder