Results tagged ‘ Giancarlo Stanton ’

LONG DISTANCE MEMORIES

Stanton at Cage

Just putting together some notes on Giancarlo Stanton’s 2014 home runs. Here’s some fun stuff (all info culled from ESPN Stats and Info Group’s Hittrackeronline.com):

Stanton’s average 2014 home run traveled 415.3 feet. No major leaguer who hit more than 20 homers had a longer average distance.

There were 50 home runs in all of Baseball that traveled at least 450 feet last season. Giancarlo hit 7 of them.

10 teams didn’t hit a single long ball that traveled at least 450 feet.

No other team had more than the Giants’ 5 and the Blue Jays’ 4.

The Angels, Dodgers, Cubs and Royals hit 3, and the Red Sox, Braves, D-Backs, Twins, Rockies, Brewers and Athletics hit 2.

Outside of Stanton’s 7, only 4 major leaguers hit as many as 2 homers of at least 450 feet: Michael Morse of the Giants, Edwin Encarnacion of the Blue Jays, Billy Butler of the Royals and Justin Upton of the Braves.

The only other Marlins to go 450 in 2014: Marcell Ozuna went 462 off Yovani Gallardo September 8 at Milwaukee, and Justin Bour went 450 on the nose with his first big league long ball September 19 vs. Washington off Doug Fister.

For more on the Marlins and Major League Baseball, follow me on Twitter at @GlennGeffner. To have new Fish Tales posts delivered directly to you via email, please click the “Follow” button and enter your email address. And tune in for all the Marlins action throughout the spring and all season long on 940 WINZ and the Marlins Radio Network.

FIRING UP THE HOT STOVE

KoehlerI’ve got a jam-packed 2 hours of Marlins Hot Stove talk for you from 7-9 tonight.

Over the course of the 2 hours, I’ll talk with Marlins first base coach and infield instructor extraordinaire Perry Hill (below) as well as Marlins righthander Tom Koehler (right).

I’ll discuss my outside-the-box proposal for a 2015 Marlins batting order, which you can read at http://glenngeffner.mlblogs.com/2015/01/10/shuffling-the-lineup-card/

Former Marlin and current MLB Network Analyst Cliff Floyd shares his thoughts on the moves the Marlins have made this winter.

Our coverage of the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2015 includes a Kyle Sielaff conversation with our own Hall of Famer, Dave Van Horne. Dave was the voice of the Montreal Expos when Hall of Fame electee Pedro Martinez broke through in the big leagues, and he’ll share some terrific memories of a young Pedro beginPerry Hillning on the road to Cooperstown.

And I’ll begin a series on the Marlins’ rivals in the National League East Division with a look at the New York Mets, talking with Mets radio broadcaster Josh Lewin.

Marlins Hot Stove airs every Monday night throughout the offseason on 940 WINZ. You can also listen live on iHeart Radio and at Marlins.com/HotStove.

If you want to get caught up on what you’ve missed to this point throughout the winter–guests like Michael Hill, Dan Jennings, Mike Redmond, Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Steve Cishek, Dee Gordon, Michael Morse, Mat Latos, Jack McKeon and more–all of our Marlins Hot Stove shows are archived at Marlins.com/HotStove, and they’re also available as free podcasts on the iTunes Store.

For more on the Marlins and Major League Baseball, follow me on Twitter at @GlennGeffner and friend me on Facebook at Facebook.com/GlennGeffner. To have new Fish Tales posts delivered directly to you via email, please click the “Follow” button and enter your email address. And join me for Marlins Hot Stove talk every Monday night from 7-9 p.m. on AM 940 WINZ, iHeart Radio and Marlins.com/HotStove.

SHUFFLING THE LINEUP CARD

Washington Nationals v. Miami Marlins

While I don’t pretend to have a thorough understanding of all the numbers, I find Baseball Analytics to be fascinating. 

In recent years, I’ve incorporated some advanced metrics into our Marlins radio broadcasts. While stats like WAR (wins above replacement), BABIP (batting average on balls in play) and FIP (fielding independent pitching) can help add some context to the game, there are some statistics (defensive metrics for example) in which I have little confidence and reference rarely, if at all. And there are others that, while they definitely carry some weight, are virtually impossible to use in the context of a radio broadcast because it’s just not practical to dedicate the time necessary to give a thorough explanation of exactly what you’re talking about every time you want to reference wRC+ (weighted runs created plus for those of you who didn’t take a foreign language in high school). TV could use an on-screen graphic to provide a definition if it chose to without interfering with the game. On radio, it’s just not possible when nothing that a play-by-play man does is more important than describing what’s happening on the field at that second. 

The one area of Analytics that has particularly interested me is lineup construction. The point is this: There are ways to maximize the number of runs you score with the 9 players in your batting order. And it often boils down to hitting this player 3rd instead of 4th and that guy 5th instead of 7th. It’s about having the right hitters not just in the lineup but in the right spots in the lineup. 

That brings me to the 2015 Marlins. 

Barring injury or something else unforeseen, we know who the 8 position players will be in Mike Redmond’s Opening Day lineup. The question becomes how do you line them up in order to maximize the Marlins’ season-long offensive efficiency. 

I’ve got a radical proposal to make. 

At one point in the winter, immediately after the Michael Morse signing, it looked like there was one most logical way to make the pieces fit:

1. Dee Gordon, 2B

2. Christian Yelich, LF

3. Giancarlo Stanton, RF

4. Michael Morse, 1B

5. Casey McGehee, 3B

6. Marcell Ozuna, CF

7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C

8. Adeiny Hechavarria, SS

9. Pitcher

But then, for me, things changed. In separate trades consummated on the same December afternoon, the Marlins added Martin Prado and subtracted Casey McGehee. 

Could Prado, who would take over for Casey at third base, slot right in to the 5-hole McGehee would vacate? Sure. But he’s enjoyed most of his career success hitting 2nd, and he profiles as a prototypical #2 hitter. So now what?

Try this on for size:

1. Christian Yelich, LF

2. Martin Prado, 3B

3. Giancarlo Stanton, RF

4. Michael Morse, 1B

5. Marcell Ozuna, CF

6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C

7. Adeiny Hechavarria, SS

8. Pitcher 

9. Dee Gordon, 2B

Yes, I’m proposing the Marlins hit the pitcher 8th in 2015 with Dee Gordon batting 9th. 

Here’s my top-to-bottom rationale:

Christian Yelich flourished when pressed into service as Miami’s lead-off hitter in 2014. He’s a patient hitter, who ranked among league leaders in pitches seen per player appearance as a 22-year-old in his first full big league season. He did a good job getting on base. He’s got the ability to steal a base. And at this point in his career, he’s primarily shown himself to be a singles-doubles hitter. While many expect him to develop more power and become a middle-of-the-order force with age and experience, the fact is he’s not yet consistently driving the ball to his pull side. 

Martin Prado is, as stated earlier, your prototypical 2nd-place hitter. He’ll take a pitch to allow a base runner to steal. He can hit behind a runner to move him up. He’s always done a good job getting on base as evidenced by a .340 career OBP. He’s got, at least to this point in their respective careers, more doubles-homers pop than Yelich, having averaged 35 doubles and 12 long balls over the last 6 years. And as we discussed extensively last season, the ability of the 2 men ahead of Giancarlo to reach base consistently does as much to protect Miami’s biggest bat as having a big bat behind him. With runners on base ahead of him, it’s harder to walk Stanton. It’s harder to even pitch around him. The reigning National League home run champion is going to see more pitches to hit, maximizing his chance of doing damage. 

As for Stanton in the 3-hole, this is a no-brainer for me. Could you hit him 4th? No doubt. But the norm in Baseball has become to bat your best hitter 3rd for a few reasons. First, you’re guaranteed to get him an at-bat in the first inning every night, a chance to get on the scoreboard with one swing in inning number one. Second, research shows your 3-hole hitter bats with more base runners aboard over the course of the season than your clean-up man. More RBI chances for your best hitter is always a good thing. And finally, over the course of a full season, your #3 hitter will average about 2.5 percent more trips to the plate than your #4 hitter. Again, more chances for Stanton to crush is always a good thing. Any time Giancarlo comes to the plate, he is in scoring position. Getting him up more often and with more base runners makes all the sense in the world in trying to maximize the club’s offensive output.  

In Michael Morse, the Marlins may not have signed a prototypical 35-home run clean-up hitter, but the new Miami first baseman does possess tremendous power. Morse has hit as many as 31 homers in a season. He hit 16 in the regular season for the Giants last year. And the 10-year vet, with a career .808 OPS, definitely gives pitchers something to think about hitting behind Giancarlo. (It’s worth noting that the Marlins got a major league-low 6 homers and just a .726 OPS from their clean-up hitters last season. In 2013, Logan Morrison and then-rookie Marcell Ozuna received the bulk of the team’s at-bats from the clean-up spot with the tandem totaling 4 home runs out of the 4-hole.)

In the 5th spot, Marcell Ozuna gets the nod in my lineup, entering his 2nd full major league season at age 24. The Miami center fielder slugged 23 homers and drove in 85 runs in 2014, hitting mostly in the 6-hole. In all of Baseball, only one player 23 or younger had more home runs and RBI than Ozuna: American League MVP Mike Trout. Improved plate discipline with more experience would be key to helping Ozuna build on those numbers as he climbs in the lineup. 

Switch-hitter Jarrod Saltalamacchia begins the season hitting 6th in my lineup, although a bounce-back season for Salty, putting up numbers more along the lines of what he produced as a Red Sox in 2013, could move him up a spot if Ozuna were to struggle or in match-ups against certain tough righthanders. More doubles and fewer K’s will be key for Salty in 2015.

And now this is where I’ll really deviate from the probable norm. 

I propose Adeiny Hechavarria bats 7th. While the 25-year-old shortstop raised his OPS 99 points from 2013 to 2014, he still has room for improvement. He did take several positive steps in 2014, however, particularly in shortening his stroke and going the other way, improving his bunting game under the tutelage of Brett Butler and hitting more line drives, more ground balls and fewer fly balls. 

Now the fun really begins as I propose the Marlins hit their pitcher 8th in 2015. 

The key here is, if an NL team is going to bat a position player 9th, you need the right personnel to make it work. And I think the Marlins have just that grouping. 

With Dee Gordon batting 9th, you get the 2nd lead-off hitter effect with him and Yelich batting back-to-back once Gordon comes to the plate for the first time in a game. You now have the benefit of 3 consecutive on-base threats (Gordon, Yelich and Prado) batting directly ahead of your best RBI man Stanton without pushing Stanton to the 4th spot and costing him ABs over the course of the year. I’d also argue that you free up Gordon, the 2014 major league stolen base leader, to run even more if he hits out of the 9 spot. If Gordon leads off, no matter who hits 2nd, when Dee is at first base with Stanton on deck, you find yourself in that spot where you fear the risk of Gordon getting thrown out attempting to steal, costing yourself a base runner with your best hitter lurking next. I’d further argue that a stolen base from Gordon is more valuable when he is hitting in front of both Yelich and Prado–as they’re more likely to single Gordon in from second base, whereas Stanton’s propensity to hit doubles and home runs means that Gordon often wouldn’t need to steal a base to have a good chance to score with Giancarlo coming up. Taking it a step further, Gordon on base ahead of them means more fastballs for Yelich and Prado, even in breaking ball counts, leading to potentially more production from 2 of the bats the Marlins will count on to lift some of the offensive burden off Giancarlo’s shoulders in 2015. 

One downside to this possible batting order is you’d have your only 2 pure left-handed hitters in the lineup (Gordon and Yelich) hitting back-to-back, making it easier for opposing bullpens to match up in later innings. That said, both Gordon and Yelich posted reverse splits a season ago, enjoying more success against lefty pitchers than they did against righthanders. Yelich hit .317 with an .819 OPS against lefties in 2014 as opposed to .273 with a .747 OPS against righties, while Gordon posted a .295 average with a .719 OPS against lefties as opposed to a .287 average and a .699 OPS vs. righthanders. (You could potentially remove this concern by batting Prado first and Yelich 2nd although we’ve already explained Yelich’s 2014 success at the top of the order and Prado’s career-long track record in the 2 spot.)

And for those who worry about the pitcher’s spot coming up more often when he hits 8th, remember that, in a typical game, a National League starting pitcher would rarely bat more than twice before often leaving for a pinch hitter or as part of a double switch. If he’s batting much more than twice, you’re either having a big game offensively or he’s pitching exceptionally well, shutting down the opposition and working deep into the game. Finally, statistical analysis indicates any loss of production out of the 8-hole in this scenario would be more than compensated for by the benefits of lengthening the top of the order with more production out of the 9-spot. 

So there you have it, my proposal to attempt to maximize production out of the Marlins’ 2015 lineup. 

While there’s no guarantee this lineup outscores any other that may be considered, I think there are compelling arguments that it likely would. 

What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. 

A QUICK CASE FOR GIANCARLO

San Francisco Giants v Miami Marlins

It takes something big to bring Fish Tales out of its winter hibernation, but today’s a big day.

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America will announce its selections for the 2014 American League and National League Most Valuable Player awards tonight. Conventional wisdom seems to have Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw as the NL MVP favorite after he took home his 3rd career Cy Young Award last night, but I’m here to make a very quick case for why I think Giancarlo Stanton should be the first Marlin ever to receive Baseball’s most prestigious on-field honor.

I think this point is critical, and I don’t think it’s gotten much attention:

While both Stanton and Kershaw had amazing seasons, Giancarlo had his at the plate in a season dominated by pitchers (with offense at its lowest levels in about 30 years) while playing half his games in a pitcher’s park. Kershaw had his remarkable season at a time when pitchers across both leagues are dominating the sport, while also having the advantage of pitching in a pitcher’s park and in a largely pitcher-friendly division.

In a season in which offense was harder to come by and should be MORE VALUED than it has been in 3 decades, Giancarlo Stanton was clearly the most productive offensive player in the National League for the most improved team in the league. The context of the season and the circumstances in which he—and Kershaw–put up their numbers should not be ignored.

To take it a step further, while there is no doubt Kershaw was brilliant over his 27 starts and deserved the Cy Young Award he received last night, the fact is he pitched in exactly 1/6 of his team’s games as opposed to Stanton, who played in every Marlins game of the season before his September beaning and led his club to the biggest increase in wins of any National League club from 2013 to 2014. One season after 100 losses, Stanton had the Marlins playing meaningful games in September despite not having their ace pitcher after early May.

When his season was cut 17 games short by the gruesome injury on September 11, Giancarlo led the league in nearly every major offensive category. Additionally, he was recognized for his defensive excellence as a Rawlings Gold Glove Award finalist.

No National League player impacted more games in more ways more dramatically in 2014. To me, THAT is the definition of Most Valuable.

For more on the Marlins and Major League Baseball, follow me on Twitter at @GlennGeffner and friend me on Facebook at Facebook.com/GlennGeffner. To have new Fish Tales blogs delivered to you directly via email, please click the “Follow” button and enter your email address. Throughout the offseason, join me for my Marlins Hot Stove radio show Monday nights at 7 on 940 WINZ and iHeartRadio. And we’ll be back with all the 2015 play-by-play action on 940 WINZ and the Marlins Radio Network on Opening Day, April 6.

DRUMROLL PLEASE

Thanks to all who cast their votes during the season’s final weeks for the 2014 Marlins Fish Tales Award winners.

We are pleased to announce the results, now that they have been verified by an independent accounting firm:

You selected Giancarlo Stanton as the 2014 Marlins Most Valuable Player with 93% of the vote. Others receiving votes included Casey McGehee, Steve Cishek and Christian Yelich.

You selected Henderson Alvarez as 2014 Marlins Pitcher of the Year with 68% of the vote. Steve Cishek finished second with 16%. Also receiving votes: Bryan Morris, Tom Koehler, A.J. Ramos, Mike Dunn and Dan Jennings.

And, in our most hotly contested race, you chose Casey McGehee as your Favorite 2014 Marlins Newcomer with 56 percent of the vote. Jarred Cosart came in second with 36 percent, while Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Jeff Baker, Reed Johnson and Bryan Morris also received votes.

Thanks for voting and congratulations to our Fishies winners!

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