MIAMI -- Giancarlo Stanton has quickly made a name for himself as one of the game's top sluggers thanks to his prodigious home runs, but the Marlins' 22-year-old right fielder has quietly transformed into a more complete player this season.
While the home runs have earned Stanton a lot of attention, he said his overall consistency at the plate is one of the things he's most proud of. In the past, he said, he would have a couple of strong weeks offensively followed by a couple of down weeks that would bring him back to square one.
That hasn't been the case as much this season, with Stanton hitting .292 entering Wednesday, a full 30 points higher than his .262 average last season. Stanton has also turned heads with his defense in right field.
"The thing I like about Giancarlo is, when you're a home run hitter and a great hitter, sometimes you forget to play defense," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "But this kid goes out there and ... he's been making some of the best plays we've had all year long out in right field."
On Tuesday, Stanton made a diving catch in shallow right field in the third inning to rob Nats catcher Kurt Suzuki of what would have been Washington's first hit against Marlins righty Ricky Nolasco. Stanton's play helped Nolasco avoid a possible jam en route to his eighth career complete game and third shutout.
Stanton has made several memorable plays in right field this season. The highlight plays have seemingly become a regular occurrence for him, and teammates have taken notice of it.
"He's a complete player," Nolasco said. "Everybody is obviously aware of his talents offensively, but there are things people don't see. He's putting in the time and work to be an all-around good player, and his defense, it showed [Tuesday]. He made some really good plays out there."