Slugger Stanton also a threat on the bases

NL home run leader knows value of steals, could be 40-20 player in 2015

Slugger Stanton also a threat on the bases

JUPITER, Fla. -- Home run power isn't the only threat Giancarlo Stanton presents. The slugger is also capable of swiping a base if the opportunity arises.

Stanton paced the National League in home runs with 37 last year, and he was second in the league in RBIs with 105. The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder also was second on the Marlins in stolen bases with 13.

"Take the opportunity when it's given," Stanton said.

Such a situation arose on Sunday against the Twins, when Stanton stole second base. Stanton, who was 13-of-14 in steal attempts in '14, has as many stolen bases this spring as home runs: one.

Stanton has the potential to be a 40-homer, 20-steal player. Although he isn't making any predictions, the slugger understands the importance of a stolen base.

"That's huge," he said. "It keeps you out of the double play. You're in scoring position."

Stanton has 30 steals in his career, with last season's 13 his most in one season. Only Christian Yelich (21) had more stolen bases among Marlins.

Having a power threat like Michael Morse behind Stanton should create running chances, with pitchers potentially more focused on not making a mistake to Morse.

"They're going to throw him more balls in the dirt," Stanton said of Morse. "That will obviously help. It creates situations where they will keep the ball low and may bounce some balls anyway.

"It's big. It's kind of one of those things that isn't really a stat. Steals with two outs and get a hit, boom."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.