Aside from a brief (but ugly) respite during the San Diego Padres series, the Marlins have been on a relative roll, winning 13 of 21 in the month of July, including two of three from the New York Mets over the weekend. The Fish competed this weekend via offense rather than pitching, scoring five or more runs in each of the three games and outscoring the Mets by three runs by the end of the series. It may be a seemingly small step, but it is yet again a step in the right direction for a struggling franchise.
This is what is supposedly about to happen according to Strip Club With Stanton, and this weekend only helped to add to that growing, er, bulge. Stanton hit two more homers this weekend, putting him at 22 dingers on the year. The first homer did not travel far, with ESPN’s Home Run Tracker estimating a true distance of 383 feet, the third shortest homer of Stanton’s season so far. However, what was nice to see was the opposite field nature of the shot once again; Stanton took two homers to right or right-center field in Chicago against the Chicago Cubs in a previous series last weekend, so it was good to see Stanton continuing to hit homers the other way. Silliness ensued as Stanton stumbled past first base and had to come back to the bag so as to not get called out, but other than that, it was a clean solo shot.
The second one? Well, it was a line shot to say the least. Here it is on ESPN Home Run Tracker.
As mentioned, it was a blue seater that was launched into left field and maybe stayed in the air for about one second before landing in the seats. It was not one of those blasts that you admire, because it got out so quickly there was no time to take a good look.
The Stanton Home Run Count (TM) is now officially at 22, and he is at 388 PA into the season. Last year, Stanton hit 22 homers in 396 PA, so he is launching a few more shots this season than last. Combine that with an improved walk rate that appears in part due to absolute fear by opposing pitchers (his called strike rate is down to 24.8 percent from 32.0 percent in 2010) and you are looking at a guy who has combined mammoth power with a decent .257/.332 AVG/OBP line. Stanton’s discipline was on display in this series, as he whiffed only once and walked three times along with those two homers. A great series that may be the beginning of the end of baseball as we know it for opposing teams.
LoMo can hit too!
Logan Morrison has been struggling of late, but he got on his groove this weekend as well. He collected four hits in 12 PA, including two home runs, putting him at 15 on the season. Morrison’s continued home run surge is confusing, since he showed almost no inclination for power last season. I mentioned that Morrison should develop power as he grows older, since he is pretty young and has a doubles or gap stroke that could lead to additional home runs, but I never expected him to suddenly start hitting 17 percent of his fly balls for jacks. As far as the balls that have gone out, they seem to be pretty legitimate; the two homers that he hit over the weekend were judged as “Plenty” by ESPN Home Run Tracker, meaning they had enough to get out in most ballparks. Beyond that, his average true home run distance is at 401.2 feet, well above the National League average.
Still, those results are biased for balls that left the park; we still don’t know anything about the fly balls that didn’t leave the stadium. However, there are some good signs regarding that potential problem in analysis; Morrison has hit 21 doubles or triples this season, a rate of 6.1 percent of PA. The league average rate is at 4.9 percent this season, meaning he has hit them at an above average rate. Beyond that, the number of doubles coming on ground balls (two of his 21 doubles or triples) is not out of the league norm (12.6 percent), meaning that Morrison’s doubles have mostly been legitimate drives.
Don’t forget about Gaby!
The best thing about the Marlins this weekend was Gaby Sanchez, who actually outdid both of his 2010 rookie counterparts by hitting three homers this weekend versus the Mets. His fourth and final hit was a double, only sweetening the extra-base hit pot. Of the three hitters mentioned here, Sanchez’s homers are the typically the least impressive, with an average true distance of 388.7 feet, a bit below the league average. Even the ones he hit this weekend, as two of them went just 350 or so feet around the Wall Formerly Known as the Teal Monster and Alex Gonzalez land. But man, were they heavy-impact homers. In the second game, Sanchez hit a pair of two-run jacks following Omar Infante hits, totaling 0.268 WPA. Additionally, his sixth inning shot in the first game of the series tied the game and added 0.188 WPA as well.