For years, injuries have plagued Miami Marlins’ slugger Giancarlo Stanton. With the exception of his rookie season in 2010, Stanton has suffered a slew of injuries, missing playing time with knee issues in 2011 and 2012. A Grade 2 hamstring strain sidelined him in 2013.
In early September 2014, Stanton was leading the majors in home runs with 37 when he was hit in the face with a pitch from former-Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Mike Fiers, officially ending his season. A hand injury in June 2015 ended Stanton’s season early yet again, and in August 2016, a Grade 3 groin strain ended the slugger’s season.
Stanton has shown that he could be one of the greatest home run hitters in baseball but he couldn’t seem to stay healthy, until now. He’s had a good season so far and right now he is hitting the ball like crazy.
Stanton has hit 19 home runs in his last 31 games. This has propelled him into first place in the majors. After hitting his 40th home run on Friday night off of Colorado Rockies’ pitcher Jon Gray, he is now five home runs ahead of the next player on the list, New York Yankees’ rookie Aaron Judge.
Thanks to Statcast™, we know that Stanton’s home run “projected at 433 feet, with an exit velocity of 111.2 mph. The no-doubter to left came off Gray’s 89.4-mph slider.”
Reaching 40 homes this early in the season is a rare feat, one Stanton could have accomplished in 2014 before being hit by Fier’s pitch. Still, that was in September, it is still August. According to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, “the last players with 40 homers in their team’s first 114 games: Stanton (2017), Chris Davis (’13), David Ortiz (’06), Barry Bonds (’01), Luis Gonzalez (’01) and Sammy Sosa (’01).”
Stanton, when healthy, is finally proving that he can be one of the league’s elite power hitters. It was always assumed he would be if he could play a full season. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that, at 6 feet 6 inches and 245 pounds, Stanton is one of the biggest players in the majors and he can make the ball fly.
He simply needs to remain healthy for the remainder of the season and he may just hit more home runs than anyone else has since the Steroid Era, when players were easily hitting 50-plus home runs. Currently, he is just two home runs shy of the Marlins’ franchise single-season home run record of 42 that was set by Gary Sheffield in 1996. He also the leads the franchise overall in home runs with 248.
Manager Don Mattingly also believes that Stanton’s health is a major factor in his success.
“This year, he’s been able to stay on the field. Hopefully that continues and we really see a full year out of ‘G’ that really shows why people look at him as one of the most-feared guys in the game.”
Eclipsing 50 home runs this season would most definitely make pitchers even more unhappy to see Stanton striding to the plate.
As for Stanton, he was happy to finally get to 40 home runs, saying after the game that hitting the milestone was “definitely pretty cool.” However, what he really cares about is helping his team get wins. At 54-60 the Marlins are still six games under the 0.500 mark.
“I’ve got a ways to go, though. But I’m glad I could get to that finally and help us win. [It] worked out.”
[Featured Image by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images]