Miami Marlins Season Review: Giancarlo Stanton Struggles with Injury, again
If the Miami Marlins possessed one positional lock going into the 2015 campaign, it was right field, which laid ground to Miami’s $325 million superstar Giancarlo Stanton.
However, like most of the Marlins’ 2015 planned occurrences, this one didn’t come to fruition. Ichiro Suzuki led the Fish in right field appearances with 73, two above Big G’s total of 71.
Of course, Stanton began the year in right, quickly re-establishing his power and dominance of opposing pitchers. He batted .284 in April with six homers and 21 RBI, yielding a 162 wRC+ figure.
In May, Stanton struggled, batting .185, but still managed to knock nine home runs and 23 RBI. He exploded in June, when he slashed .344/.404/.800 with 12 homers and 23 RBI. He paced a homer every other game and an RBI every game, earning him June’s NL player of the month award.
But that month was cut short by a season-ending hand injury on June 26th. He finished the season with numbers equatable to a full season many in baseball would be satisfied with; .265 AVG, 27 HR, 67 RBI, 3.8 WAR in just 74 games.
Stanton would have been on pace for 59 homers and over 140 RBI.
So what happened when Miami’s superstar was sidelined?
Manager Dan Jennings mainly referred to Ichiro, who totaled 91 hits in 153 games this season. Ichiro often came off the bench, but still made the majority of starts in right field during Stanton’s absence.
When Ichiro wasn’t in right, Jennings turned to Marcell Ozuna and Cole Gillespie. Ozuna only played right (15 games) following his lengthy minor league stint. In the second half of the season, Ozuna batted .278 with six homers and 18 RBI in 42 games.
Cole Gillespie impressed throughout the year, slashing .290/.333/.428 in 67 games with Miami’s big league club. His outfield versatility helped during the injury stints of Stanton and Yelich, not to mention Ozuna’s time in Triple-A New Orleans.
In evaluation, the Marlins don’t necessarily need to change anything in right field. They would obviously like to keep Giancarlo Stanton, and he’ll be ready to return by Opening Day 2016. An injury is tough to plan around, making the possibility of another DL appearance by Big G crushing to this offense. That’s likely a key reason as to why Ichiro was re-signed.
Right field should be a strong suit for the Fish in 2016. In 2015, it was just one of the many pieces of disappointment for Miami. With everyone healthy coming into 2016, there’s no reason not to believe the Marlins’ outfield can rise to legitimacy.
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