Last season, Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton didn’t chase many offerings out of the strike zone, swinging at just 28 percent of bad pitches. This year, he is being more aggressive.
“He’s more aggressive at pitches that he knows that he can handle,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said earlier this week. “Pitches up in the zone, last year, maybe he took some of those pitches, whereas this year he seems to be right on them all the time.”
Stanton is swinging at 36.2 percent of pitches out of the zone – a career high. You would think that would reduce his effectiveness, but instead, he making more contact (50.0 percent contact rate) than ever.
Conversely, he is not making as much contact on pitches in the zone (78.6 percent contact rate vs. 82.9 percent last season), but when he does he is clobbering the ball.
Four of his seven homers have been on pitches straight down the middle, including this two-run, opposite-field home run off Mets’ pitcher Jenrry Mejia.
These aren’t “lucky”home runs by Stanton either, most are bona-fide moon shots, as measured by ESPN’s True Distance Home Run Tracker:
“He’s a force,” Seattle Mariners Manager Lloyd McClendon said.