Giancarlo Stanton has been patiently waiting to prove he is healthy. And the time has finally come. Miami's first full squad workout was on Tuesday afternoon, and according to The Miami Herald's Manny Navarro, Stanton is completely healthy and is not expected to hesitate at the plate.
Stanton, 25, is hoping to lead the Marlins to the playoffs in 2015. His season ended last September when he was hit in the face by a Mike Fiers fastball, and Stanton spent the rest of the season on the disabled list. Miami rightfully did not rush him back, and Stanton should be able to bounce back this spring. If his season did not conclude prematurely, Stanton would have likely been among the top two or three favorites to win the National League MVP award.
After signing a 13-year, $325 million contract in November, Stanton is excited about the Marlins' future. As Navarro notes, he will wear a protective face guard this spring to use again live pitching, which should make him feel comfortable when he uses it throughout the course of the season against the National League East's top arms.
Stanton led the league in home runs, extra base hits, and RBIs in 2014, and he should be part of a more consistent lineup. Martin Prado, Dee Gordon, and Michael Morse were all signed to start this offseason, and Stanton should thrive with more protection around him. Manager Mike Redmond will test several lineups this spring, but Gordon is ultimately expected to lead off and Christian Yelich and Morse will be slotted into the middle of the order. The Marlins are leaning on their pitching staff, although a more consistent offense could help the unit moving forward.
For Miami to be successful in 2015, Stanton must be completely healthy. The Marlins are hoping he will continue to prove he is one of baseball's best power hitters, and Stanton is confident he will continue to develop. He told the media on Tuesday that he would not hesitate at the plate, but rather has prepared for the season the same way he has in years past. Stanton desperately wants to make the playoffs. His health will dictate whether that is realistic for the team in 2015.