ST. LOUIS -- There was a method to the monstrous home runs Giancarlo Stanton showcased when he shattered the Home Run Derby record on Monday at Petco Park in San Diego.
Aware of the stories that the Derby can mess with a player's swing, Stanton actually came up with a plan to put on a good show while also not developing any bad habits. It's hard to argue with the results, because Stanton clubbed a record 61 homers to claim the T-Mobile Home Run Derby title.
Before arriving in San Diego, Stanton already knew what he was trying to accomplish.
"I think if you're trying to hit long, high and far home runs, with a dip, it will mess up your swing, for sure," Stanton said. "My approach with this, especially with the format, is that, if I'm going to make an out, make sure it's a ground ball or a low line drive, which were a majority of them. If you're going straight up and popping things up, then I agree it does."
Stanton is referring to dipping his back, or right shoulder, in order to elevate the ball.
The fact Miami's right fielder is so strong, he doesn't need to go too much out of his comfort zone to clear the wall. Still, occasionally, he really let it rip, and he had a Derby long of 497 feet, which is the longest blast tracked by Statcast™.
"Now, how do you monitor, when you're trying to hit it as far as you can, you have to find that happy medium," Stanton said. "But, I planned to go into the cage after the Derby, whether I won or lost, to make sure that I got back on top of [the ball]."
For Stanton, it was his second time competing in the Derby, with the first in 2014 at Target Field in Minnesota. That experience actually helped him come up with the approach he used at Petco.
"I feel like that's what I did the time before, was I just tried to lift and lift and let my shoulder go," Stanton said. "This time, I was like, win or lose, I'm going to go in the cage afterwards to make sure I'm where I want to be."
Actually, Stanton didn't take that extra round in the cage because he liked how he felt.
As impressive as Stanton was, he actually could have put more into his swings and driven the ball farther. However, he noted, because he went first in each of his three rounds, he was pacing himself.
"I knew if I were to keep advancing, I'd have to go first, meaning, I can't just hit until I catch up to a number," Stanton said. "I had to hit the most that I can, and I needed my endurance. The harder you swing, the less you're going to get out of it."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.