Can Miami Still Make the Playoffs Without Giancarlo Stanton?
Before the 2015 season, the Miami Marlins agreed to a 13-year, $325 million contract with their hulking, slugging outfielder, the mighty Giancarlo Stanton.
And it's easy to see why. There is no player in baseball who can match Stanton's herculean power at home plate.
Still watching @Giancarlo818’s 504-foot homer.
Still not sure it’s real.
Very sure... https://t.co/rtHMXXWC2u by @MLB via @c0nvey
— WILLIAM HOWARD (@WILLYWILD84) August 7, 2016
He's also not a bad defender.
Who can hit a ball 500 feet, and make plays like this? @Giancarlo818 can. https://t.co/kfBuHQQy61 #OUTstandingshttps://t.co/1vW8l6rpph
— MLB (@MLB) August 9, 2016
And he has a cannon for an arm.
Giancarlo Stanton can do anything he wants to on a baseball field. Except stay healthy.
Stanton suffered a torn groin muscle on this play, ending his 2016 season. The injury is a killer for Miami who, at 62-56, is tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for the final wild card spot in the National League.
A Crushing Blow
Prior to getting hurt, Stanton's 2016 season hadn't been quite as good as seasons past. He batted .244/.329/.496 for an .826 OPS and a wRC+ of 116, both of which were career lows. However, he did lead the team with 25 home runs and had 70 RBI's to go with it, production that is difficult to replace.
Even with Stanton in the lineup, the Marlins had accumulated the second-fewest dingers in baseball with 98. Only three other Marlins are in double figures in homers, Marcell Ozuna (20), Justin Bour (15) and Christian Yelich (12). In fact, only six other Marlins players have just a single long ball this season, and Bour has been out with an injury since July and isn't expected back until sometime in September.
So that's 40 of the team's 98 homers from players who aren't playing for what could be another month. Losing Stanton's power makes a power-starved Miami offense even more feeble.
There were rumors that the Marlins would consider adding the recently "retired" Alex Rodriguez to help provide some pop, however, A-Rod's publicist said his client would not be playing with another team this year, so that's out. Ichiro Suzuki can step in and get some more playing time, but he is not an answer to the team's power drain.
A Laundry List of Injuries
Losing Stanton is devastating for Miami, no question about it. But it also raises questions about Stanton's long-term ability to stay on the field.
This is not a career-threatening injury, but there is a pattern here. Stanton just can't make it through a season healthy. His body continues to betray him. He has played at least 150 games in a season just once, and at least 145 games only twice. This is a list of his numerous injuries in his young career so far.
|2012||Left Knee, Right Knee, Oblique||39|
|2013||Shoulder, Hamstring, Ankle||46|
|2014||Broken Facial Bone||17|
|2015||Broken Hamate Bone||88|
In 2014, Stanton was well on his way to an MVP season when he was hit in the face by a fastball. That was a freak injury that could happen to any player. But the rest of the injuries are a symptom of Stanton's own body betraying him, and it is a worrying trend for a player who is still just 26.
Our current projections give Miami a 39.3% chance of reaching the postseason, and there is a chance the team could make a move to bring some power into their lineup through the waiver deadline.
But losing the Mighty Giancarlo is a huge body blow to a young team fighting to reach the postseason for the first time in 13 years.