Giancarlo Stanton Broke the Home Run Derby
If Hercules had lived in the 21st century and been given a baseball bat as a young man, it's hard to imagine he'd look any different than Giancarlo Stanton.
Stanton is not a mythical creature, but he does possess a gift that no other player in baseball does: he is the most powerful human on the earth when it comes to slugging a baseball, and he's capable of hitting one farther -- and with greater frequency -- than anyone else.
At last night's Home Run Derby, Hercules -- er, I mean, Stanton -- put his frightfully awesome power on display for all us mere mortals to witness.
And it was breathtaking.
Stanton won his first Derby crown by slugging a record 61 dingers, becoming the first player to ever hit at least 20 home runs in each round and besting the previous record of 41 jacks set by Bobby Abreu back in 2005. That 497-foot blast above was the longest tater ever recorded in the brief history of MLB's Statcast.
Stanton did not make the All Star team this year, but he was invited to participate in the Derby anyway. He accepted the invite.
Smart move, baseball. Smart move, Giancarlo.
It all came down to Stanton versus the defending champion, Todd Frazier, in the final round. Sadly for Frazier, it is impossible to defeat a mythical god-like creature in a battle of physical skills. He fell 20-13 in the last round.
Hey, 13 dingers in the final round of the Home Run Derby is usually enough to get it done, but not last night in San Diego. Stanton absolutely owned an event that was made specifically for him.
Statcast had a field day with this, as you might imagine, posting some draw-dropping statistics of Stanton's feats of strength.
If anyone in @MLB hits LASERS, it's @Giancarlo818.
And he's got the #Statcast records to prove it. pic.twitter.com/vpilH9DjAx
— #Statcast (@statcast) July 12, 2016
According to Statcast, Stanton had 18 of the 19 longest homers on the night, including all of the top 10. Here is the total distance for all the dingers smashed by every participant in the Derby.
Total HR feet by player
— Daren Willman (@darenw) July 12, 2016
That equates to 5.14 miles of long balls hit by Stanton.
His average distance was 446 feet. And check out the exit velocity on all 41 of his bombs.
All Hail Stanton.... #StatcastGod pic.twitter.com/0OoktMxY3O
— Daren Willman (@darenw) July 12, 2016
But lest you think Stanton was simply taking advantage of the slow-pitch softball nature of the Derby, blasting baseballs into the next zip code is something he does with regularity in games where pitchers are doing everything they can to get him out.
.@Marlins OF Giancarlo Stanton's average HR distance-- 421 feet, 8 inches (2nd in MLB) pic.twitter.com/8A2kk5CFL2
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 11, 2016
According to ESPN, since 2010, Stanton has 32 home runs that have traveled at least 450 feet. There are only three teams in baseball that have more during that stretch. Last season, he led all of baseball in average exit velocity at 98.5 miles per hours (MPH), which was almost 4 MPH faster than the next closest hitter. And so far this year he's tied for fourth at 95.0 MPH but has the 6 highest single exit velocities on the leaderboard.
Stanton set all these records in a format in which all his rounds were on a timer. He was not afforded 10 "outs" (swings that resulted in anything other than a home run), making his accumulation of 61 dingers even more impressive.
He was not the only one to have some fun last night.
MLB's home run leader, Mark Trumbo, may not have won the derby, but he got into the act, too, crushing that ball off San Diego's beautiful, if newly dented, scoreboard in left. That one went 479 feet.
At the end of it all, it was clear this was Stanton's event. He owned it, and as long as he keeps accepting invitations to participate, it's hard to see an eventuality in which he doesn't win this every single year he's breathing the same air as us mortals.
And you can bet next year, he won't be the fifth seed.