Thursday, March 10, 2016


Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is expected to return to spring games on Sunday after dealing with some soreness in his knee that raised some eyebrows given his recent string of ill health.  However all signs point to this being not much of an issue for Stanton and should not in any way threaten his availability for the start of the 2016 season.  With all that said, let's take another close look at Stanton and see what he could provide his owners going forward.

Just like prior to 2015, Stanton carries a first round grade in fantasy baseball but at a slightly lower spot.  Stanton was a near top five guy overall last season but he can be had in the very late portion of Round 1 so far in 2016 and even into Round 2.  That is based solely on the fact Stanton missed a huge chunk of games for the second year in a row which undermined his counting stats and chance of reaching 40 home runs for the first time in his career.  When on the field, there is no doubt that Stanton is arguably the very best pure home run hitter in the game and 40 home runs is a lock if he can just get the at-bats.  Unfortunately that has been a big challenge for Stanton who suffered a gruesome HBP to his face that cost him most of September of 2014 and then saw him suffer a fracture from another HBP that allowed him to play in just 74 games last season.  Still in those 74 games, Stanton was a monster with the bat as he hit 27 home runs and collected 67 RBI in such limited at-bats.  Projected for a full season or plate appearances, Stanton would have approached 50 home runs and 120 RBI.  That is what Stanton's prospective 2016 owners are looking for from the hulking slugger this season but again the health has to cooperate.

Now in terms of health, it is not like Stanton can be called injury-prone.  Getting hit by pitches is more bad luck and Stanton has not suffered rampant leg or oblique problems to make him a health liability in terms of his fitness or body type.  Instead Stanton just needs to dodge pitches better and the numbers will explode.  The easy call here is that Stanton is a lock for 40 home runs and 100 RBI if he gets 500 at-bats and likely more numbers will come the higher he goes with his plate appearances.  Stanton also can easily score between 85 and 95 runs as well.  From there the numbers get a bit shaky as Stanton doesn't run much (although he has stolen 17 bases total the last two years to not make him a complete zero there) and his batting average is always a dicey proposition due to his extremely high K rates (29.9 percent in 2015).  Thus Stanton's average should be projected around the .265 mark and with some BABIP luck it can hopefully go higher.

Overall, Giancarlo Stanton should put forth first round numbers if he again can stay healthy.  The guy is as imposing a slugger as one can get in fantasy baseball and he will challenge Chris Davis in terms of being the best at hitting home runs this season if all goes right with his ability to stay in one piece.

2016 PROJECTION:  .275 43 HR 116 RBI 95 R 7 SB  

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