Yesterday we discussed the position that was least solidified in center field. Today we look at the position that the Marlins are certainly the strongest at, right field. It is no secret that the last 12 months have been challenging for Giancarlo Stanton. When the Marlins decided to get rid of any player that could bring in a decent prospect haul, many thought that the writing was on the wall for the massive slugger. After all, no one on the roster was more coveted than Stanton himself.
Reports seemed to surface daily about teams calling Miami to question about the availability of Stanton. Repeatedly those calls were rebuffed, as the Marlins chose to keep him. The Marlins apparently views Stanton as a big part of the future in Miami, the real question is whether Stanton views himself as a part of that future. Regardless of what that future holds, we know that on opening day Stanton will be in right field, barring injury.
This is good news for a Marlins lineup that struggled desperately last year. Of course, some of that struggle can be traced to Stanton himself. In 2013 Stanton was coming off of a season in which he led the National League in slugging percentage at .608. The expectations were high, but Stanton was injured, and when he finally made it back to the field, opposing pitchers quickly realized that they didn’t need to throw strikes to Stanton to beat the Marlins. This seemingly led Stanton to press even harder to help his team, and his slugging dropped to the worst of his career at .480.
A big key for the success of the Marlins this season is to keep Stanton healthy. Giancarlo is subject to some of the most extreme streakiness in all of baseball. He can go on tears where outfield walls beg for mercy due to the abuse that Stanton shells out to them, and other times he can look as lost at the plate as any major leaguers in the game today. To counteract this, Stanton needs to play in as many games as possible. It will help his confidence and allow him to find a groove at the dish.
I believe Stanton will move back a spot in the lineup this year and resume his clean-up duties. I think he is more comfortable there, and he strikes out too often to hit in the 3 spot. I am looking for a rebound year for Giancarlo. He has more protection in the lineup around him, and many of the players that are still in Miami underachieved last year. With even some marginal improvements out of them, Stanton could see a couple of more good pitches a game, which may be all that he needs.
Even though we haven’t released our bold predictions yet for the Marlins 2014 season, I am going to release one of my own today and say that Stanton breaks the 40 home run barrier this year. He is only 24-years-old and is still learning. After going through a frustrating season, I believe the competitor in him will spur him on to a great season this year.
What do you think? Is Stanton going to rebound this year? Or will he even be a Marlin through the whole season? Let us know in the comments below, and Go Fish!