Miami Marlins outfielder GIancarlo Stanton had himself an impressive west coast road trip for the Fish in the past two weeks. In the span of 11 games, Stanton belted eight home runs, including one in each game of the Los Angeles Dodgers series and in three of the four games against the Colorado Rockies. Stanton has now hit 10 home runs in the month of August, and there are still three games left in the month.
Stanton has hit 85 home runs in his short career spanning three seasons. In just that short time span, Stanton has already reached 10th among all Marlins in team history in terms of home runs. The nine players above his mark are all at 100 or more home runs, beginning with Preston Wilson at 104 homers and ending at the top of the list with Dan Uggla at 154. But with Stanton doing this in such little time, it is worth asking if he is already the best home run hitter in team history. Marlins fans have never seen tools, particularly in the power department, the likes of Stanton's, so can he already claim that crown while more than halfway towards Dan Uggla's team record?
The first thing that you notice in that list immediately is that Stanton has barely been around compared to these old timers. His 1394 PA are a little more than a 100 less than his next lowest-tenured predecessors on this list, Gary Sheffield and Preston Wilson. Then again, the players listed above also are the most tenured Marlins in team history overall; only two players in team history had more than 1000 PA with the Marlins and were lower on this list, and those players were famous leadoff men Luis Castillo and Juan Pierre.
So Stanton's lack of time in the majors has not hurt him compared to this list of former Marlins greats. But on a rate basis, how well did these players do as members of the Fish?Home Run Rates
Here is how each Marlins home run great stacked up in terms of rate of homers.
*HR/BIA is similar to HR/FB, but also includes any outfield balls in air, including line drives.
^HR/CON is the rate of home runs per contacted ball in fair territory.
In just a short time period, Stanton has stood leagues above every other Marlin in home run hitting prowess. No Marlin has hit home runs more often, whether it be on balls to the outfield, contacted balls in general, or plate appearances. The only player who even came close was the extremely powerful Gary Sheffield, and when you are a 21 year-old outfielder who is outhitting Gary Sheffield in terms of power, you are doing something right. With all of Sheffield's legendary bat speed, the fact that Stanton has run away with it is an incredible accomplishment.
How Long Until He's the Champ?
How much longer do we have until Stanton is the team leader in homers? Well, presuming he stays here for the foreseeable future (and given at least four seasons of team control remaining and the chances for a big extension, the odds are pretty good), Stanton need only maintain his current breakneck pace to pass Uggla in a few years' time. Stanton is hitting a home run every 16.4 PA as of right now. If he continues at this career pace, he will reach Uggla's 154 homers in 1132 PA. That is approximately two full seasons and change, given about 650 PA per season.
That means that Stanton will have accomplished in about 2523 PA what Uggla took more than 800 more PA to finish. Stanton will have hit more than forty more homers than Cliff Floyd did as a Marlin in about 50 fewer PA. Stanton's path to Marlins home run king only seems like a formality at this point; the Marlins have never had a player with his homer skills, and neither have they ever seen a guy with Stanton's prolific rate of round-trippers. As long as he stays healthy, in two seasons' time, Stanton should be at the top of the Marlins list for home runs, and he would have done so in record time.
And if the Marlins get their way, he will remain at the top of that list forever, because he will be a Marlin for a very long time.