Giancarlo Stanton is back in the winners circle. Miamis supreme athletic commodity is back on top as the premier power hitter in the game of baseball. Aaron Judge lit MLB on fire with 30 first half bombs and left Stanton and a host of other big boppers in the dust in this years MLB Home Run Derby in Miami, but that was an exhibition.
When the prime time lights came back on, Stanton, a guy who hit just 54 homers the last two seasons combined, had regained his consistent power stroke and now holds a decisive lead over Judge with 43 homers through 114 games. That’s seven more than Judge’s 36.
Stanton’s been on one of those mythical tears, slamming 22 homers in 34 games. On Monday night, he hit a homer in his fifth consecutive game and 7 of last 8. He’s already broken the Marlins single-season homer record and there’s still 45 games left in the regular season. It’s all coming together for him again.
43 Giancarlo Stanton sets a franchise record with his 43rd homer of the season. https://t.co/Xw0gCW1kNd
Stanton only played in 193 games in 2015 and 2016, so his power numbers were solid. But he experienced some injury setbacks, he suffered through a prolonged power outage, his strikeouts increased and his batting average dipped to a career-low .240 last season.
A low point was a 4-for-45 funk that dropped his average to .214. He was on a miserable K streak and his RBI production was lagging. Stantons struggles got so bad that he turned to former Miami Marlins hitting instructor Barry Bonds for help upon the controversial homer kings return to MLB in 2016.
In fact, both Bonds and manager Don Mattingly were trying to get Giancarlo right, before Bonds was eventually let go after one season and moved on to a more worthy position with the San Francisco Giants organization as special advisor to the CEO in March of 2017.
On Giancarlo Stanton: from lengthy slump, to rediscovering his stroke and forging a relationship with Barry Bonds https://t.co/0PRLjuPr7N
Before this year’s explosion, the ball-basher wasnt really living up to the 13-year, $325 million extension that he signed with the Marlins in 2014, when his 37 homers and .555 slugging percentage led the NL and was good for MVP runner-up. It was the richest contract in pro sports history.
The fact that Stanton is leading baseball in homers isnt as much a surprise as it is inspiring because his career seemed to be on the slight decline and there was no way he could ever live up to such a robust contract without even being able to stay on the field.
Now, ya boy is back.
We know that he’s a human launching pad for baseballs. No one hits them longer or more majestically. He’s a rare combination of size and power. The California kid brought the house down in the 2016 Home Run Derby in San Diego, shattering derby records.
Riveting as it was, it was an exhibition and counts for squat. On Sunday, Stanton’s third-inning home run off Rockies starter German Mrquez tied should-be-Hall of Famer Gary Sheffield (1996) for the Marlins’ single-season record. It was career home run No. 250 despite Stanton’s light workload the past two seasons.
While 227 MLB players have reached that mark, only 12 did it by the age of 27. Only Ryan Howard, Ralph Kiner, Harmon Killebrew, Albert Pujols and Juan Gonzalez reached 250 homers faster than Stanton.
42 like #jackierobinson & #250 like me! Truly grateful Thank u to all the haters.. who light… https://t.co/Uzjxwftbjd
Hes finally posting power numbers indicative of a $300 million franchise player and Miami still has a ways to go before they field a playoff team, but Im sure manager Don Mattingly is elated to see that while the impending sale of the franchise will be in the back of everyones mind, the Marlins won’t have to venture into these new waters with uncertainty about whether or not the cornerstone and centerpiece of the franchise remains certified dope.
Giancarlo Stanton is an absolute beast. #RedSox should’ve thrown 300 million at him a couple of years ago. He’s worth every penny #Marlins