Like many sluggers, we view Giancarlo Stanton through a prism of absolutes. He hits home runs -- his 71 in the last two seasons rank fourth in baseball. He strikes out -- his 28 percent strikeout rate in the same period is fifth-highest among qualified hitters. His contact is loud and violent, and these things all reaffirm the power-hitter archetype. Big homers, big misses; little room to be something more.
And that is a significant part of Stanton. The homers do define him. He takes a regimented batting practice, except in Denver. At Coors Field, he tries to launch balls over the Rockies. Coors is his "mulligan," says Eduardo Perez, who was Miami's hitting coach last season and is now in Houston. Trade speculation has stalked Stanton this winter, and rumor consumers dream of his power playing in Texas. Arlington and Stanton, can you imagine?
Yes, it's easy to, because homers will forever be the currency of Stanton's career. They've made him a star. They've made him an extraordinarily valuable trade asset. But they also make him simplistic. Stanton's potential is more than an all-or-nothing power guy. "He shouldn't even look at himself as a home run hitter, even though that's what everybody says he is," Perez says.
At 23, the scary thing about Stanton isn't his supernatural power. It's what he's still giving up.