Don’t Underestimate the Effect Barry Bonds May Have on Giancarlo Stanton
While the outfield wall remains a shade of green rarely seen in nature and the structure behind it nightmare fuel, elements of the Miami Marlins have received a face lift. Namely, on the bench. And we’re not talking about Ichiro’s pursuit of 3,000 major league knocks.
Joining newly appointed manager Don Mattingly is hitting coach Barry Bonds, the GPOPE for the non-Chalk initiated. The seven-time Most Valuable Player drew more than 100 walks twelve times and retired as MLB’s all-time leader for both free passes (2,558) and home runs (762*).
Bonds returns after years of scrutiny surrounding the game’s PED scandals, but if you can get past that disgust for a moment, there may be something good that comes from all of this.
In baseball (and all sports really), greats recognize their own. And in Giancarlo Stanton, Bonds inevitably sees an elite talent who has a propensity to not only hit the ball as far as a human is capable, but one who can also work out his far share of walks.
Before anyone gets bent out of shape, by no means does Stanton possess the type of bat control, eye for the strike zone or plate discipline that Bonds boasted of, but that is where putting the two together may be downright explosive for 2016.
In just 74 games a year ago, Stanton blasted 27 big flies after drawing 94 walks in ’14. The power is there, and coupled with the fear opposing pitchers have of that power, the groundwork has been set for something special.
And that’s where Bonds comes in.
Don’t think that Bonds is simply resting on the laurels of a record-breaking career, either. The would-be Hall of Famer took a hands-on approach in letting grasshopper know that he’s not a Jedi master just yet by beating him in a batting practice home run derby.
Whether it’s watching film, preparation for hurlers or tips that lead to slight adjustments which pay monumental dividends at the dish, Bonds could provide the final strokes of polish Stanton needs to have a truly historical season.
Should the burly Marlins slugger remain healthy throughout the year, don’t be surprised if he surpasses 50 bombs and 120 walks.
* — No.