Hall of Famer Andre Dawson predicts that Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton will be one of the greatest sluggers of all time as long as he stays healthy. Dawson has a right to look into Stanton's future.
Dawson, now a Cubs ambassador, was up close and personal watching Stanton perform at the plate. After all, they were both with the Marlins for years. While Stanton was performing on the field in Miami, Dawson was working in the front office as a special assistant to the team president.
Dawson is still in awe of what Stanton accomplished last year, winning the National League MVP Award by hitting .281 with 59 home runs and 132 RBIs.
"There's no limit to what Giancarlo Stanton can do the rest of his career," Dawson said. "If he stayed healthy for a full year, what kind of numbers would he put up? I saw that kind of ability."
Dawson first set eyes on Stanton in 2008 when the latter was playing for Class A Greensboro and participating in the home run derby. After watching Stanton swing the bat, Dawson then said to Tony Perez, who was also working in the Marlins' front office, "We need to take this guy back to Florida with us today. He is going to back into 35 to 40 home runs. We don't care how many times he strikes out. But he is going to hit a lot of home runs today on natural ability alone."
After eight years in the big leagues, Stanton has 267 career home runs, but hitting the long ball isn't the only thing that has impressed Dawson.
"Over the years, I saw an individual with one of the greatest work ethics that you can imagine," Dawson said. "He is very much in tune with his body. He is careful with what he eats, what he puts in his body. I think in his mindset, I think he wants to be the greatest player in the game today. I think I can go on record and say that.
"He is coming into his prime. I think he is going to play another 10 to 12 years, probably as long as he wants to play. When it's all said and done, he will be one of the greatest power hitters to ever play the game."