Giancarlo Stanton: Baseball's latest all-or-nothing slugger

Jacob R Misener
Giancarlo Stanton Literally Hit the Ball Out of the Park
Giancarlo Stanton Literally Hit the Ball Out of the Park

This past week, Bryce Harper and Giancarlo Stanton traded blows of the long-ball variety, with both players going yard in action on Tuesday. When the dust settled, Stanton had knocked two dingers and clung to a one-homer edge over theWashington Nationals outfielder, again drawing the attention of national media.

And yet, while Harper has the Nationals sitting atop the National League East at 31-28, Stanton's Marlins are barely relevant at 12 games under .500 only a week-and-a-half into the month of June.

Miami has already burned through a manager this season and currently has general manager Dan Jennings manning things both in the front office and in the dugout, an unorthodox move that has been questioned by many.

Meanwhile, Stanton is, once again, launching moon-shot homers with great regularity for a languishing Marlins ball club. Shocking, I know.

We're all well-aware of his tendency to hit towering home runs that wind up on SportsCenter, but until I took a closer look at his numbers this morning I had no idea how hit-or-miss the 25-year-old has become.

Sure he's hit 21 home runs this season. He may even break the 50-homer plateau for the first time in his career. But on the other side of the coin, he's tied for the league lead with 82 strikeouts and has just a .245 average to go along with his .332 on-base percentage.

Stanton has been a back-and-forth hitter, at least in terms of average, over the last few seasons, jumping up 28 points to .290 in 2012 before falling down to .249 the next season. In 2014, he rebounded to .288 in 145 contests before his season was cut short due to injury.

However, 2015 has once-again been a different story for the face of the Miami franchise, as he's struggled to make consistent contact. His strikeout-to-walk tally is incredibly lopsided, having already whiffed some 82 times in 59 games, compared to just 29 walks. As a team, Miami has struck out 463 times, which is tied for the tenth-worst mark in Major League Baseball. Furthermore, that means that Stanton alone accounts for nearly 18% of the team's punch-outs.

Needless to say, it's an alarming trend.

No matter if he strikes out at a high rate or not, Stanton is going to produce runs. It's what he does.

But more often than not, it's via the long-ball and those home runs come in low-leverage situations – another troubling sign for the Marlins given that the team signed Stanton to a record-breaking $325 million extension of-late.

According to Baseball Reference, when Stanton trails in the count, he's batting just .174/.172/.372 this year. With runners in scoring position, he's shown the ability to shorten up at least a little, given he's driven in 29 runs in such situations, while batting an .295.

However, the "all-or-nothing" approach that many have accused him of is on full display when he doesn't have to worry about runners. He's launched 15 of his league-leading 21 blasts without any ducks on the pond, but he's also posted a .240 average in the process.

Essentially, he hits it out or doesn't hit it at all.

You can't take away how impressive Giancarlo Stanton is at the dish. He has a skill set that allows him to do what few can – change an entire ballgame with just one swing.

But when you hit a home run in 10% of your at-bats and strike out in another 37 percent of the time, it's time to take a good, long look at things.

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