Consistency paying off for healthier Giancarlo Stanton
JUN 08, 2014 2:30p ET
After playing in 150 games in 2011, he appeared in just 239 over the next two years because of injuries to his thigh, knee and abdomen.
"If I'm out on the field you never know what can happen," Stanton said earlier this week. "If I'm not you probably know what the result is. (It's) being there every day and what the focus can be and not having to worry about a mental day off or a physical day off and get you out of your rhythm. Shutting your mind off instead of just pushing and pushing."
The 24-year-old believed if he stayed healthy, the stats would come. They have.
Entering Sunday's series finale at Wrigley Field, Stanton leads the National League with 17 home runs and 53 RBI. He ranks 10th with a .305 average, a sign of consistency because when "you show up to hit every day the average shows."
Stanton's growth at the plate also comes with the understanding that an RBI groundout still gets the job done to drive in a runner.
"That's the biggest thing," Stanton said. "I don't want my home runs to be so close to my RBI. That's key, and that makes you an overall hitter and more dangerous and puts more pressure on them and helps our whole lineup more than anything."
His two-run homer on May 30 against the Atlanta Braves made him the first player in franchise history to reach the 50-RBI plateau before June 1.
What did he think of the accomplishment?
"Two months," Stanton said. "A milestone at the end of the year, not a quarter into it."
Though Stanton is the league leader in several statistical categories, the achievement he is most proud of is appearing in all 62 games, starting 61 of them in right field.
Over the offseason, Stanton decided to retool his pregame routine so that he was more warmed up.
In order to feel that way, Stanton will overrun balls in batting practice -- even if it means going to the wall -- so that he must sprint back. Some games, he only needs 3-5 sprints to get ready, while other days may take until the third inning.
Finding that difference leading up to the game allows him to work another 5-10 minutes of stretching or running into his preparation.
"His legs are good. He's strong, he's healthy," manager Mike Redmond said a few weeks ago. "I think that's the big part for him this year compared to last year. I think you see that with the way he moves and his mobility out there."