Mike Stanton, a fashionable fantasy pick during Spring Training, got off to a rocky start this season after straining his left hamstring during Spring Training. The injury held him out of the lineup for a few games early in the season, and the injury affected Stanton's performance throughout April.
During the first month of the season, Stanton posted a .235/.350/.435 line with two home runs and a weighted on base average of .349.
As his .191 ISO suggests, the weak left hamstring zapped Stanton's power. Stanton had a difficult time getting the ball in the air. His ground ball rate increased from 40 percent in 2010 to 46.5 in Mar/Apr, and 11.8 percent of Stanton's fly balls in Mar/Apr were in the infield. Additionally, Stanton's HF/FB ratio decreased from 22.9 percent to 11.8 during the month.
Stanton has gotten stronger over the last few weeks, and his power numbers have skyrocketed during May, posting a .306/.347/.694 line with 9 home runs, a wOBA of .437 and an ISO of .388.
Stanton has increased his fly ball percentage to 41.5 percent, while dropping his infield fly ball percentage to 3.7 percent. Most importantly, his HR/FB ratio has increased to a strong 33.3 percent.
Overall, Stanton has made some improvements. His strikeout rate has dropped from 34.3 percent in 2010 to 30.1, but his swinging strike percentage has increased from 12.8 to 15 percent. wRC+, a measure a player's offensive value compared to the rest of the league, is up to 150 (tied for 16th in baseball) compared to 118 in 2010.
A .313 BABIP suggests that Marlins fans and fantasy owners should not regression in his batting average considering home runs do not count toward the statistic. Expect Stanton to continue his torrid power surge for the season, and he would be my pick to lead the National League in home runs.