The Miami Marlins are currently battling a few teams for the second Wild Card spot in the National League. Unfortunately, the team won’t have their star slugging outfielder for the remainder of the season.
The Marlins placed Giancarlo Stanton on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday with a left groin strain. The injury was officially classified as a Grade 3 groin strain. Miami’s President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill stated that the earliest that they can expect Stanton back is in six weeks. This means that even if he is able to somehow comeback in 2016, it would be sometime during the last week of the season. Especially given his recent injury history, it would be surprising if he did return this year.
The loss of Stanton is a huge blow to the Marlins. Currently in a tight Wild Card race with the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, and New York Mets, this was not an ideal time for Miami to lose their best player. The Marlins, Pirates, and Mets are all within four games of the Cardinals for the second Wild Card spot in the NL. The road to the postseason just got a lot more difficult for the Marlins.
Before landing on the disabled list, Stanton was having a reasonably good year. In 381 at-bats, he was batting .244 with 25 home runs and 70 RBIs. He also had a .329 on-base percentage and a .496 slugging percentage. Two seasons ago, he hit .288 and had an NL-leading 37 homers while driving in 105 runs. He finished second in the NL MVP voting that year. Stanton is one of the most dangerous hitters in the MLB. He is considered by many to be the best power hitter in the game. Losing that threat in the lineup will definitely hurt the Marlins.
This is the third year in a row that Stanton’s season will be cut short due to an injury During a game in June of 2015, he broke the hamate bone in his left hand. This required season-ending surgery. His 2014 season ended after he was hit in the face with a pitch thrown by Mike Fiers of the Milwaukee Brewers. This was on September 11, and the resulting damage caused him to miss the rest of the year. Needless to say, Stanton has had a lot of bad luck over the last few years.
With Stanton out, veteran outfielder Ichiro Suzuki will suddenly see a lot more playing time. He’ll now be Miami’s primary right fielder. Suzuki, 42, just recently collected his 3,000th career MLB hit. He’s hitting .313 in 230 at-bats this season. Although he certainly doesn’t have the power that Stanton has, he can still hit the ball well. Suzuki has always hit for average in his career. Additionally, he still has a lot of speed.
If the Marlins hope to make the playoffs, they’ll need guys like Ichiro, Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich, and Dee Gordon to continue to carry their lineup. They’re aslo going to need José Fernandez to continue to be the dominant pitcher he’s been. It’s not going to be easy, but the team will have to live without Stanton.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly does not have an easy task ahead of him. His team is facing an uphill battle for a playoff spot without their star player. In the coming weeks, we’ll see if the Marlins have what it takes to survive.