Giancarlo Stanton Is on Pace for His Best Power Season Ever
He's not all-powerful in the LeBron James sense, in that he essentially acts as the team's head coach and general manager, and wields tremendous influence over personnel decisions. Stanton's version of "all-powerful" is simply his ability to smash a baseball to places no other human is capable of.
And while Judge has stolen some of Stanton's thunder this year with his incredible display of power, Stanton's ability to scare the bejeezus out of pitchers has not gone away.
Against the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday night, Stanton was at his scariest, bashing two home runs that measured a combined 43,200 feet (or thereabouts). Here was the first of the two he smacked against poor Jerad Eickhoff...
You should run in the opposite direction when @Giancarlo818 swings like that.
Yikes! #Crushed pic.twitter.com/vYNPAS76k4
— MLB (@MLB) July 17, 2017
...and here was the second
.@Giancarlo818 almost hit this into orbit … #AnotherOne pic.twitter.com/7e7BPp5zIo
— MLB (@MLB) July 18, 2017
He also came within an eyelash of hitting a third, if not for a spectacular play by left fielder Cameron Perkins.
I'd like to report a robbery...
Cameron Perkins steals extra bases from Giancarlo Stanton with this amazing catch. pic.twitter.com/e8LdUkdf21
— CSN Philly (@CSNPhilly) July 18, 2017
In 338 plate appearances this season (which is important, given Stanton's past issues with avoiding the disabled list), he is batting .275/.363/.580 with 28 home runs, 62 RBIs, and 63 runs scored. There are only three other seasons in which Stanton has hit more than 28 dingers, and he's on pace to shatter his personal high of 37 from both 2012 and 2014.
As encouraging as his homer totals is the fact his strikeout rate has nosedived this season, to 23.8%, down from his career mark of 28.0%. Additionally, his 28 bombs lead all National League players, and his weighted on base average (wOBA) of .389 and weighted runs created (wRC+) of 140 are both tied for 11th.
So it's an interesting time for Stanton's name to be surfacing in trade rumors, but surface they have.
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal and The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo both reported that the Marlins could be looking to move him to cut payroll, and ridding themselves of the $295 million he's owed through 2027 (he will be 37 by the time this deal runs out) would certainly fit that bill. It's ironic Stanton had such an outstanding power game against the Phils, as they are the team most closely linked to acquiring the still-young slugger.
Finding a taker for Stanton's contract will be tricky, but the Phillies have only one player signed past next year (Odubel Herrera) and have the payroll flexibility to add anyone they want. The Phillies reportedly also would want Christian Yelich in any deal that involved Stanton, too.
Acquiring Stanton would not be without some risk. He has managed to play more than 125 games in just two of his first seven MLB seasons. Staying on the field has been a big problem. And bear in mind that Stanton has a full no-trade clause, and would have to waive it before any deal could go through.
But the great thing about Stanton is that he is platoon-split proof. He has a wRC+ of 150 against left-handed pitching and 137 against righties, and his wRC+ of 148 at home is only slightly better than the 133 he's put up on the road this season. His power can play anywhere, but especially in Philadelphia, which boasts an accommodating park for tater mashers.
A deal involving Stanton is unlikely to happen over the next couple of weeks, given the size of the contract and the complexities involved in moving a trade that large. And with the sale of the franchise still up in the air, it's unclear whether the team wants to move Stanton as part of completing the sale, or whether the new owners would want to have a superstar like him in the fold, and would have to get permission first.
Nevertheless, as long as he's healthy, Stanton is still the best pure power hitter in the National League, as he showed once again on Monday night against Philadelphia.