Everyone has been drooling over Josh Hamilton, lately. Don’t get me wrong his month of May has been pretty incredible. The thing most people may not know is that Giancarlo Stanton has been just as good this month, as their May numbers have been almost identical. The Marlins’ slugger struggled out of the gate in April, but wrist injuries kept him out for much of spring training. April became a quasi-spring training for him, but unfortunately the statistics/games actually counted.
Check out the massive improvement in Stanton’s numbers in May in comparison to April:
|Stanton’s Splits|| |
His lack of home runs/production in general during April caused some people to become seriously concerned. Stanton launched 34 home runs in 2011, but he did not homer this season until April 29th. Mike Axisa wrote, on Fangraphs, about how Stanton’s sore left knee may have been affecting his power numbers just as much as the transition to the cavernous Marlins Park was. Axisa refers a good deal to Stanton’s batted ball numbers which were well off his career averages, especially in terms of the number of ground balls coming off his bat. He’s not hitting the ball on the ground more than usual anymore, and the change in his batted ball numbers for May show that the 23 year-old with 67 career homer runs is going to be just fine.
Stanton has been hitting more balls into the night sky and they’ve been flying out of the park at levels that match his career rates. Giancarlo’s May numbers are pretty mind blowing, but they still don’t deliver the same wow factor of watching an actual Stanton bomb. He’s hit two grand slams in the month, one was of the walk-off variety, while the other broke the scoreboard at Marlins Park. But check out this one that he hit into the unreachable beer garden in left-centerfield.
It’s scary how far he hit that ball with such a non-violent swing. Every time I see Stanton go deep Kanye West’s line, “No one man should have all that power,” instantly pops into my mind. Because quite honestly, Stanton has as much power as any when swinging a bat in the world right now, and that’s a fact.
So what should Miami do with a 23 year-old budding star who plays good defense and has oodles of power? Persuade him to sign a team-friendly contract extension, of course.
After 2012, Stanton will have compiled just two years of “service time” in the majors. With such little experience it may seem like it’s too early for the Marlins to attempt to lock Giancarlo up long-term, as he’ll be eligible to play next season for the dirt cheap major league minimum salary ($480k). However, in the baseball’s current climate signing young outfielder after just two years of service is the thing to do.
The Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen, the Reds’ Jay Bruce and the Diamondbacks’ Justin Upton all signed nearly identical extensions after they had accumulated just two years of service. I listed their contract details below:
McCutchen: 6 years/$51.5 million, with $13.5 million club option for year 7
Bruce: 6 years/$51 million, with club option for $13 million for year 7
Upton: 6 years/$51.25 million
It’s hard to find three outfielders in baseball who are more comparable to Stanton, in terms of power and potential, than these three stars. These extensions cover the hitters’ last pre-arbitration season, their three arbitration seasons, and then two season in which they’d be eligible for free agency. Thus, the average annual salaries increase in the manner that they would over those two transitions, but at a team-friendly rate. The Marlins would be getting a steal if they could convince Stanton to sign a similar extension after his 2012 campaign concludes. The contracts that would be offer to Stanton on the open market it four seasons would be extremely high in value, and that type of bidding war is not something the Marlins’ franchise would like to get involved in.
Miami may have to pay him a slightly higher total amount, say $55-65 million, because their front office has shown they are willing to spend with the big boys after building Marlins Park. Also, before that park was built the Marlins signed franchise cornerstones Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson to large extensions, which also could lead to Stanton’s agent negotiating an extension at a higher cost. But even with a slight increase over the three extensions I referenced, securing Stanton’s services for such a low-rate would be a seriously good bargain for the Marlins.
It still remains to be seen whether or not Stanton will ink such an extension, but until then we’ll all be entertained by more moonshot home runs that get launched of the slugger’s bat as this exciting 2012 season rolls on.
All statistics as of Sunday May 27th and courtesy of the lovely people over at Fangraphs