Stanton prioritizing consistency, staying on field

Marlins slugger hopes injuries behind him

Stanton prioritizing consistency, staying on field

JUPITER, Fla. -- When it comes to expectations, Giancarlo Stanton sticks to the basics. The Marlins right fielder's primary objectives for 2017 are to stay healthy and show consistency.

It's really that simple for the three-time All-Star who has yet to have that signature season where everything comes together. There's always been something that arises to derail even his most promising years.

In 2014, for instance, Stanton paced the National League in home runs with 37, and was second in the Most Valuable Player balloting, but that All-Star year was shortened when he was struck on the face by a pitch at Milwaukee in mid-September. In 2015, he crushed 27 home runs in 74 games, but suffered a season-ending broken left hamate bone in late June. And last year, he was limited to 119 games due to a Grade 3 left groin strain.

With all that's gone wrong in the past, Stanton doesn't get ahead of himself when it comes to his primary focus.

"Stay on the field," the slugger said.

Next objective?

"Don't give away at-bats," Stanton said. "And have productive at-bats for the situation, always. No matter what."

Stanton on Marlins' goals in '17

Stanton's track record shows, when healthy, he is a force. He showed on Sunday in the first drills where hitters faced pitchers. Stanton belted two home runs during live BP, a drive to left off Junichi Tazawa, and an opposite-field blast off lefty Hunter Cervenka.

"For me, G's had years when he's been on the road to hitting .300, too," manager Don Mattingly said. "So I think that's there. I don't think we necessarily have to say he's going to swing and miss a ton, and maybe he is. But there's also a guy in there that's a .270, .280, .290, .300-type guy."

Entering his eighth big league season, the 27-year-old still has plenty to prove. Injuries have made it difficult to find consistency.

In 2016, his production dipped, as he posted a slash line of .240/.326/.489 with 27 home runs and 74 RBIs.

Those numbers are off his career marks of .266/.357/.539.

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For all the ups and downs of his career, the fact remains Stanton is incredibly impactful when he simply makes contact.

Few match his pure power.

Stanton's 504-foot home run at Colorado on Aug. 16 was the longest home run ever tracked by Statcast™. Also, his average exit velocity on balls in play was 95.94 mph, the third highest in the Majors. The MLB average is 89.57 mph.

The impact of exit velocity is underlined by the fact the MLB batting average on balls put in play at 100 mph or higher in 2016 was .629. Stanton's average, per Statcast™, was .635 (66-for-104).

"Just put the ball on the barrel," Stanton said. "Sometimes, it's straight to them, sometimes it's not."

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.