But if Wynn could do it, it stands to reason Stanton can to.
Wynn said the key for him was learning to take what pitchers gave him and not being impatient by swinging at anything thrown even remotely close to the strike zone. Wynn led the league in strikeouts in 1967. Two years later, he led the league in walks.
I was probably the only player on our team that could hit the ball out on any different pitcher on any given day, Wynn said. At first, I struck out a lot. It finally dawned on me that if I could get on base and steal a run that way, Id be helping us win. So I learned the strike zone and said, Hey, Ill take the base on balls.
Wynn still got his homers, though.
So did Howard with the lowly Senators.
From 1967-71, Howard hit more home runs than anyone else in the majors. His 198 were one more than Hank Aaron.
The Senators finished last two of those years and were almost always bad.
I was just a cut and slash guy up until I was about 27 or 28 years old, Howard said. I told people I was young and naive, but I was just young and dumb. Had I made some adjustments earlier in my career, I would have been a better player.
Stanton understands his situation, knows what lies ahead for him.
I just know I have to better myself in terms of not falling into swinging at balls out of the zone, Stanton said. They [pitchers] know theyve got to be careful and theyve got to be smart. So do I at the same time. He has his plan. I have mine.
Dawson said one factor working in Stantons favor is that hes smart but willing to learn.
I think when they started trading those players last year, he got a feel for what was starting to transpire, what was happening with pitchers and how they were starting to approach him, Dawson said. Hes going to get pitches to hit. He just cant miss them, and he cant get frustrated when he does. Hes got to take what they give him, not force anything. Hell find himself struggling even more if he tries to force it. But the one thing he has to understand is, theyre not going to let Giancarlo beat them.