There is no doubt that Giancarlo Stanton is mired in an ugly slump that is not helping the Miami Marlins win games. Stanton has hit .083/.185/.167 in his last 14 games, and his .270 wOBA overall this month is the worst batting line he has put up in a single month (though he has time to rectify it at least). In that time frame he has struck out 26 in 55 plate appearances, a 47 percent rate. It has been hard to watch.
In the midst of a slump like this, everyone has an opinion on what to do and what will best help the team. But Marlins manager Don Mattingly and hitting coach Barry Bonds are already on the job, working with Stanton a little earlier in the day to take a look at his timing.
As we discussed however in the past, slumps happen, and unless the coaching staff finds something out of line with Stanton mechanically, they would be wise to let him get reps to work out of this recent slump. Overcomplicating things and providing too much direction may be attempting to fix something that just does not need fixing.
"You have to be careful with what you say and how you present it," Bonds said. "I've got to have the right questions for him, and we have to be on the same page. He expressed some things that he likes to do, and that also helps me. Now, when I'm looking at things or watching film, or whatever, I can see what he likes to do, and I can help guide him back to what he needs to do, and what has worked for him in the past and what can help him in the future."
It sounds like Bonds is trying to be careful to use some of the same stuff that Stanton has done in the past to work out of slumps. This is certainly one of the longer slumps he has had, though he had a similar stretch in 2013 that he bounced back from to a decent amount. Miami wants the same results, but there is a balance to making sure Stanton does not get overloaded in trying to fix a potential process problem if there is not one there.
As for his position on the team, Mattingly is doing the right thing and keeping him where he is at.
"Not at this point," Mattingly said regarding moving Stanton from the fourth spot. "He's one of our guys. He's a big part of our club. He's going to hit his way out of it. It's something, if he needs a day off, we just had a day off. We're going to keep going."
As Mattingly points out in this video, it is important that Stanton does not get into his own head, which is something that can happen when slews of Marlins-related personnel, media, and other involved parties make comments on a slump. Mattingly thinks it is best for Stanton to focus on the future rather than the past.
This is all the right approach for Miami. Stanton needs time and reps to recover from his slump, provided there is no mechanical hitch in his swing or response that needs to be fixed. It sounds like the club is doing its due diligence in figuring out if Stanton is indeed swinging differently. If they find something, they will work on it. Otherwise, it is a matter of allowing Stanton to get his reps to work out of it and helping to maintain his mental acuity and balance during this time frame. That may be Mattingly's most important job, to keep Stanton engaged and working hard rather than mired in his own thoughts. If Stanton's morale drops, his production is not likely to improve, and as a middle manager for the club, Mattingly needs to be supportive.
Miami is handling this 14-game slide correctly. Once Stanton returns to form, things will all be forgotten. And if there is something notable to fix, Bonds, Frank Menechino, and the rest of the Marlins crew should be able to figure it out working closely with him.