Bits: Stanton off the home run schneid 

April, 29, 2013
Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton worried many a fantasy owner the first three weeks of this season; he entered last Wednesday hitting .176 with one lonely RBI in 14 games. But good things come to those who wait: Stanton launched his first home run Saturday, then smacked a couple more on Sunday. That's right, three home runs in one weekend, plus four runs scored and five RBIs. Well, there goes your chance to buy low, but then again, what was everyone so worried about, anyway?

[+] EnlargeGiancarlo Stanton
Marc Serota/Getty ImagesGiancarlo Stanton hit a tape-measure home run in the first inning Saturday off Travis Wood, his first of the season.
I've acknowledged all along that the Marlins do not possess what a reasonable person would call a good offensive squad, despite Stanton's presence, but they didn't last season either. Only the Houston Astros scored fewer runs in 2012. I refuse to buy into the lack of talent surrounding Stanton as a justifiable explanation for struggles so deep that they reduce his value to the point one would ever consider dropping him (which you can't in ESPN standard leagues) or trading him for 14th-round talent. Last season, Stanton mashed 37 home runs in a mere 123 games, hitting .290 and slugging .608, best in the major leagues among qualified hitters. He didn't have Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols protecting him in the lineup then, either.

In actuality, the 2012 Marlins had Stanton, Jose Reyes and, for a few months each, Hanley Ramirez and Justin Ruggiano, and little else. Please don't use the likes of Logan Morrison as an example of lineup protection that the current Marlins didn't possess. Morrison produced a .707 OPS. Stanton is the team's No. 3 hitter; the cleanup hitters are actually hitting .264, second on the club to the team's No. 6 hitters (.291). No Marlins are really hitting for power, but still, don't overrate lineup protection. It doesn't explain Stanton's 2012 because, frankly, it doesn't exist.