First off, I’d like to wish Giancarlo Stanton a Happy Birthday – he’s all of 25 now. Which means that he’s still a couple of years from what many people view as their athletic prime… which should give a lot of starting pitchers nightmares. He surely would have had more than 40 homers had a pitch not hit him in the face in September.
The thing about Stanton, besides his otherworldly power, is that he’s also a very good right fielder. He makes all the regular plays, but he is also known for making some rather difficult catches as well. He’s definitely not a risk to embarrass himself in the field. While the Miami Marlins showed some improvement early on in the season and some people think that the pieces that they received in the Jose Reyes trade, among others, will help make them contenders sooner than later, it still feels like Stanton is possibly going to be stuck in a place that doesn’t truly appreciate him – the Marlins have a nice shiny new stadium (well, relatively), and the attendance STILL isn’t that great. If he played in a place like.. oh… Citi Field, his efforts would be appreciated even more.
That’s why I’m actually glad to hear some rumblings that Boston might get him. I’d also love to see him take aim at the Green Monster – though I think he might kill the parking situation in the lot behind the Monster. Would YOU want to take the risk that you might walk back to your car after the game and find a shattered windshield? Yeah, I wouldn’t want to either.
The beauty of Stanton is that virtually any team could trade for him and not have to worry about the dimensions of their park. The guy plays in Miami’s cavernous park now and he’s made it look like a Little League field sometimes. I shudder to think about what would happen if he played in Philadelphia, which has a bandbox of a park. He could have 80 homers… by the All-Star Break. I’m only partly kidding there.
Of course, having Stanton is also a risk. He’s so large and musclebound that he’s always an injury risk. Also, there’s also concern about how he’ll be towards any pitch that’s inside now. He’s a mentally strong guy, but he also may have a subconscious fear after that ball hit him in the face. David Wright, who got a ball flush in the head from a Matt Cain fastball still noticeably turns away from some inside pitches.. and that incident occurred in 2009.
Spring Training is still some months away and there will be time for him to heal. The true test will be in his first Spring Training games in 2015. He can stand in at batting practice all he wants, but having that first inside pitch hiss its way at him will show what his mindset is. If he’s mentally fine, I forsee a 45-homer 2015 season.
Stanton would provide so much more reward than any risk though.. which is why I hope he gets traded from the Marlins. As long as it’s not to any other National League East team besides the Mets…