After over a month on the disabled list with a strained hamstring, Giancarlo Stanton has been activated from the DL by the Miami Marlins. Stanton will return to his familiar haunt of right field in tonight's game against the Brewers. Casey Kotchman was placed on the DL to make room for Stanton on the Marlins roster.
When Stanton went down, the Marlins replaced him in right field with 22-year old prospect Marcell Ozuna. Now that Stanton is back, the Marlins will need to find a way to force Ozuna into the lineup every day, because his play has been fantastic this year with Miami's franchise player injured. In 36 games, Ozuna is hitting .331/.371/.472. Despite homering just one time, his 1.7 fWAR is far and away the best on the team, trumping center fielder Justin Ruggiano by half a win in 19 fewer games.
Speaking of Ruggiano, he's come back to Earth with a crash after a breakout 2012 season. After hitting .313/.374/.535 in 91 games last year, Ruggiano is hitting just .215/.289/.382 this year as his BABIP has fallen by 145 points. However, he's still been good defensively for the Fish, and his eight homers lead the team. The player that will most likely see his playing time get cut (after Chris Coghlan was put on the DL with a calf injury this pas week) is veteran Juan Pierre, who has essentially been useless this season, hitting a pathetic .240/.294/.286. A platoon of Ruggiano and Pierre could also be in the cards, but Ruggiano hits both types of pitchers better than Pierre, which would defeat the whole purpose of switching the players out.
At any rate, it's good news for the Marlins that Stanton is going to be back in their lineup. Miami has just 31 homers on the season, tied with the Royals for the fewest in all of baseball. The Marlins also have an .095 ISO, a number we haven't seen a team put together for an entire season in 20 years. Even though Stanton was hitting only .227/.341/.387 with three homers and a .160 ISO when he got hurt, he represents a massive upgrade over Ruggiano, Coghlan, and Pierre, and will be a godsend going forth for the Marlins…unless they end up trading him in seven weeks.