Giancarlo Stanton: The Miami Marlins Home Run King
In yesterday’s game against the San Francisco Giants, Giancarlo Stanton crushed yet another home run, his 43rd of the season in just 115 games. This home run passes Gary Sheffield for the most home runs in a single season by a Marlins hitter, a record set back in 1996. Stanton now holds three of the top four spots on the list, and four of the top six, with only Sheffield and Miguel Cabrera sharing the list with him.
This was just the latest home run by Stanton in what has been a barrage the last month or so. Going back to 7/4, just a week before the All-Star break, Stanton was hitting .265/.347/.523 with 21 HR in 346 plate appearances. From 7/5 till yesterday, Stanton has been smashing home runs left and right hitting .328/.436/.928 with 22 home runs in just 149 plate appearances.
Overall, Stanton is now hitting .283/.374/.640 with 43 home runs in 495 plate appearances and 115 games.
Stanton and Career Expectations
It took eight seasons of his career, but Giancarlo Stanton has finally turned into the monster power hitter many of us had hoped for. All it took was 22 home runs in his age 20 season in just 100 games, and then 34 the next season in a full season to make MLB fans want more. In 2012, Stanton was on pace for 48 home runs over a full 162 games, but instead played only 123 while hitting a career high 37 home runs. He faced more injuries in 2013 and only hit 24, but came back with 37 more home runs in 2014.
2015 and 2016 were much like 2012 and 2013, with Stanton playing 74 and then 119 games, with 27 home runs both seasons. For some, it seemed as though his star had faded and he may never truly be the elite home run hitter many had envisioned. However, for the first time in a few years, we are seeing a healthy Stanton, one that is showing off his true raw power. Sitting at 43 home runs with 45 games remaining for the Marlins, it looks as though the show has just begun.
The Rest of the Season and the 50 Home Run Club
As it stands, Stanton is hitting a home run about every 2.67 games this season. If the pace continues, this would put him at another 16-17 home runs if he plays every remaining game. This puts Stanton right on the edge of 60 home runs, something that has not been done since Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa in the 2001 season.
The most home runs hit in a season from 2002-present has been Ryan Howard, hitting 58 home runs in 2006. We have also seen Alex Rodriguez hit 57 and 54, Jose Bautista and David Ortiz hit 54, Chris Davis hit 53, Jim Thome 52, Andruw Jones 51, and Prince Fielder 50 on the nose. Seeing as Stanton is just seven home runs shy of the 50 home run club, it’s fair to say that he could rise up to the Ortiz/Bautista/Arod levels before the season is done, if not the magical 60 mark.
If Stanton does keep up the level of home runs that he has been hitting, and does indeed reach 60 home runs, he will become the fifth player to do so, joining Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Roger Marris, and Babe Ruth. This will also be one of nine overall seasons of 60 or more home runs, as both McGwire and Sosa appear on the list multiple times.
NL MVP in Stanton’s Near Future?
While taking a quick look at a possible MVP in Stanton’s future, he leads the MLB in both home runs (43) and slugging percentage (.640), and sits eight in fWAR in the NL (4.4 ) in what has become a very crowded NL MVP race. The Marlins sub-par record this season as well the extreme level of competition will likely hurt Stanton when it comes to the MVP vote.
However, if he manages to 55-plus, or even 60 home runs, other players may have a hard time overcoming such a huge home run total. It also helps that he has a nice batting average (.283) and a well above average OBP (.374) at the moment as well. His wRC+ is 5th in the NL at 156, but not far enough back from the leader (Justin Turner – 166) to make that much of a difference.
Stanton is no stranger to MVP Races, as he finished second to Clayton Kershaw in 2014 with 8 first place votes. At the moment, Stanton still does not appear to be a top three NL MVP candidate. If recent history is an indicator, hitting 50-plus home runs will get you a top four finish in the MVP voting, unless you are Jim Thome in 2002.
2006 Ryan Howard – 58 HR – 1st Place
2002 Alex Rodriguez – 57 HR – 2nd Place
2007 Alex Rodriguez – 54 HR – 1st Place
2010 Jose Bautista – 54 HR – 4th Place
2006 David Ortiz – 54 HR – 3rd Place
2013 Chris Davis – 53 HR – 3rd Place
2002 Jim Thome – 52 HR – 7th Place
2005 Andruw Jones – 51 HR – 2nd place
2007 Prince Fielder – 50 HR – 3rd Place
Leaderboards Since 7/5
As mentioned near the start of the article, Stanton has been going insane with the bat since 7/5. In that time Jose Altuve has a 207 wRC+ hitting .434/.469/.654 in 145 plate appearances. Mike Trout is just behind him with a 195 wRC+ hitting .347/.480/.602 in 123 plate appearances. Giancarlo Stanton leads baseball since 7/5 with a 234 wRC+ hitting .328/.436/.928 in 149 in that time. As excellent as Altuve and Trout have been, both fighting for the AL MVP themselves, Stanton has been just that much better than the pair.
It took eight seasons to get this kind of monster production of out Giancarlo Stanton, but the wait was worth it and he is putting on a show for us almost every night.