March 19, 2012; Jupiter FL, USA; Miami Marlins left fielder Scott Cousins makes a catch in the third inning against the Houston Astros during a spring training game at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Miami Marlins 2012 Season Preview: Right Field

Here is a look back at the Miami Marlins 2012 season previews that we have done so far:

This is the position that I have been the most excited to preview. Over his first two seasons, Marlins fans have turned this man into a god in Miami. The obsession with him on MLB related shows, such as MLB Network and Baseball Tonight, have reached extreme levels.

Who am I talking about? None other then the starting right fielder for your Miami Marlins, Giancarlo Stanton!

Feb 27 2012, Jupiter, FL, USA: Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) during photo day at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE.

The club has reportedly had interest in extending Stanton and 2012 could be a major ingredient in getting that done. Michael Jong of Fish Stripes has a good idea of what a possible extension for Stanton should look like:

Just based on this group of five players and the precedent they set, we could have basis for a contract for Stanton. Indeed, my proposed contract is very similar to the one that could be offered to Stanton in this case. Assuming he qualifies for Super 2 and receives a $1.2 million payday in his third arbitration season, the team could sign him to a deal this offseason that, based on the precedent the above contracts set, would be worthseven years and $44.2 million, which is actually smaller than the seven-year, $64 million contract I proposed earlier this offseason. However, the pay scale I proposed actually looks similar, if a bit shifted, which could have something to do with the uncertainty of whether certain players were scheduled to receive Super 2 status or not. A seven-year deal that encompasses the possibility of a Super 2 status may actually look closer to seven years and $57.2 million, which seems more appropriate for Stanton.

Getting Stanton locked up should be priority number 1 for the Marlins. Then the Marlins should focus on Anibal Sanchez and Hanley Ramirez, but that is another idea for another day.

Here is a look at the right field depth chart:

  1. Giancarlo Stanton
  2. Bryan Petersen
  3. Austin Kearns
  4. Chris Coghlan

Minor League Depth: Scott Cousins

In 2011, the most important number for Stanton to improve on was his number of strikeouts. Stanton showed clear improvement on that last season. In his rookie season, Stanton struck out in just over 31 percent of his plate appearances. In 2011, he lowered that rate to 27.6 percent.

March 11, 2012; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) at the plate in the first inning of the spring training game against the New York Mets at Digital Domain Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

According to Michael, Stanton improved on his strikeout rate two ways:

  • He swung at more pitches inside the zone than he had in 2010. According to FanGraphs’s numbers based off Pitch F/X data, Stanton swung at 67 percent of pitches in the zone, compared to 60 percent last season.
  • Pitchers were more fearful of Stanton and avoided the zone more often. Though he essentially swung at the same percentage of out-of-zone pitches and actually made less contact on those balls, Stanton saw more of those pitches and that helped him to draw more walks. Only 42 percent of pitches taken by Stanton were located in the zone last year, compared to 47 percent in 2010.

That is great news for the Marlins. Stanton showed improved plate discipline and showed that with a proper hitting coach, Stanton will be further able to cut down his strikeouts as he matures and develops a better eye at the plate.

Along with an improving plate selection for Stanton, Marlins fans should expect plenty of fly balls for Stanton. That is good news for the Marlins. In his first two seasons, Stanton has hit home runs in 24 percent of his fly balls. Only one player since 2009 has more home runs per fly ball (with at least 1000 AB’s) and that would be Jim Thome.

For the Marlins, that means the more fly balls that Stanton hits, the more home runs that will leave the park for the young slugger.

Stanton places with some nice company when it comes to comes to home runs. Here is the list of players with more than 50 homers before they turned 22.

June 10, 2011; Miami, FL, USA; Florida Marlins right fielder Mike Stanton (27) hits a two run homer against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the sixth inning at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Lou Novick-US PRESSWIRE

 

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com : View Play Index Tool Used  Generated 3/22/2012.
That is some great company for Stanton to join. These are some of baseballs elite players. If Stanton can keep up at the pace he is going at, he is a viable threat to come close to breaking Barry Bonds‘ career home run mark, that is of course if Albert Pujols does not break that record first.
Stanton has immense power and with the Marlins getting more media attention in 2012 will soon be a household name. In fact, I predict by the seasons end, when you mention Miami sports, he will be right up there with the names of Dan Mariono, Dwyane Wade and Lebron James in terms of name recognition.
The big question is going to be in 2012, how many home runs can Stanton hit and what kind of numbers can we expect to see from him. For that, lets take a look at some projections for the 22-year old slugger in 2012:
Projection PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA WAR HR
Bill James 605 .273 .366 .568 .394 4.9 39
Roto Champ 605 .257 .355 .549 .385 4.7 38
Fans 658 .267 .354 .538 .379 5.5 39
All these projections have Stanton maintaining a similar batting approach that he has shown in his first two seasons and close to 40 home runs. Here is a look at a couple of other projections and the amount of home runs the predict for Stanton.
Proj System PA HR
ZiPS 643 37
Steamer 632 37
PECOTA 636 35
Marlins fans should feel comfortable with Stanton hitting anywhere between 35-40 home runs in 2012. Stanton is going to build on that home run total that is already amazing.
What about his defense. Well, depending on which defensive metric you are looking at, Stanton ranges from a well above average right fielder to a Gold-Glove caliber defender in right. Here are a look at some defensive metrics from 2011:
Def. Stat Runs Above Average, 2010-2011
UZR (FanGraphs) +12
DRS (FanGraphs, Baseball-Ref) +28
TotalZone (Baseball-Ref) +35
FRAA (Baseball Prospectus) +21
Regardless of what metric you want to believe, Marlins fans should feel good knowing that the defense out in right field will always be among the best in baseball!

Jul 31, 2011; Atlanta, GA, USA; Florida Marlins outfielder Mike Stanton (27) makes a diving catch during the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Josh D. Weiss-US PRESSWIRE

The scary thing is that as Stanton gains more experience out in right field, he will only get better. You have to remember, Stanton only started playing baseball full-time when he committed to the Marlins after being drafted in the second round in 2007.
Here is a look at my projections for Stanton in 2012:
Projection PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA WAR HR
658 .269 .354 .538 .380 5.7 39
My projections for Stanton fall right into line with the Fans at Fangraphs. With these projections for Stanton, I have him and Hanley Ramirez having about equal 2012 seasons. If the Marlins are able to get this type of seasons from their two best players, their chances of contending in 2012 are pretty good.
If you were curious about the odds of Stanton winning MVP in 2012, Bovada has Stanton as a 10/1 chance to take home the trophy. Stanton is tied with Justin Upton and behind only Joey Votto (7/1), Ryan Braun (8/1) and Matt Kemp (9/1). That is some really good company.
Stanton is just ahead of his teammates Jose Reyes (15/1) and Hanley Ramirez (25/1). Meanwhile Bovada has Josh Johnson at 15/1 chances of collecting a CY Young in 2012, which is tied with Ian Kennedy, Matt Cain, Yovani Gallardo and Zack Greinke. They are all trailing Clayton Kershaw (9/2), Roy Halladay (11/2), Cliff Lee (15/2), Tim Lincecum (15/2), Adam Wainwright (12/1) and Cole Hamels (12/10).

Backups:

As I was writing this post, the Marlins optioned Scott Cousins down to Triple-A. This leaves the competition of backup outfielder down to just 4 players vying for two spots. I will have more on this later.

Tags: Al Kaline Albert Pujols Alex Rodriguez Andruw Jones Anibal Sanchez Austin Kearns Barry Bonds Bob Horner Bryan Petersen Chris Coghlan Clayton Kershaw Cliff Lee Cole Hamels Dan Marino Dwyane Wade Eddie Matthews Frank Robinson Giancarlo Stanton Hanley Ramirez Ian Kennedy Jim Thome Joey Votto Jose Reyes Josh Johnson Justin Upton Ken Griffey LeBron James Matt Cain Matt Kemp Mel Ott Miami Marlins Mickey Mantle Orlando Cepeda Roy Halladay Ryan Braun Scott Cousins Ted Williams Tim Lincecum Tony Conigilaro Yovani Gallardo Zack Grienke

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