For one of the most promising young power hitters in the game, it is going to be his greatest challenge yet. Considering he’s only 23, it could also prove to be what shapes his future as a hitter and factors into where he ultimately lands in this game.
Giancarlo Stanton has tremendous power and ability. Some have argued he is the Marlins’ greatest power hitter to date and have stated that he only fails one young hitter in Marlins history by comparison – that of Miguel Cabrera. He may never win a batting title like Cabrera, or be able to hit for as great of an average, but he has more power and will definitely deliver enough balls into the seats to propel Red Groom’s sculpture in left center. How long that will be remains to be seen as the front office and Stanton will have to decide on contract details later.
For now, with a fan base still reeling from the sting of an offseason of shredding payroll, the word will be “patience”. Not only are the fans being told to be patient to let this team take root and grow, but also the Marlins themselves have to groom Stanton to become a patient hitter – he is not going to see a lot of pitches with no “named” protection behind him.
New skipper, and former Marlin champion Mike Redmond, has devised an interesting strategy – move Stanton into the #3 spot so he is guaranteed to bat in the first inning. This means, worst case scenario, Stanton could be the end of the first inning, or the beginning of an early game rally. Either way, Stanton is going to have to maintain perspective and approach each bat with an even-keeled temperament.
Stanton’s personality, however, is one of intensity and competition. He wants to win, and he wants to compete – as evidenced by his now famous tweet after the November deal to trade Jose Reyes, Mark Buerhle, John Buck, Josh Johnson, and Emilio Bonifacio to the Blue Jays. Stanton may very well come up in the first with a runner in scoring position, and be walked. He has to be willing to wait for his pitch and do with it what he can.
Stanton’s situation is an illustration of where this team is now. They have to maximize every opportunity they are given to be successful, but they also have to wait for those moments to strike. They cannot dictate to other teams how a game will be played, but instead will have to wait their turn. For Giancarlo, he, too, is going to have to wait his turn and exhibit tremendous discipline, focus, and patience during this season. He has to wait for his pitch, and then make the most of it. He has to wait for a contract offer, and then make the most of it. The Marlins are depending on his ability to decipher both situations as this team ventures forward into its future – which we are all partaking of, willingly or not. And we, too, must exhibit patience.