As the Miami Marlins resume their 2016 season on Friday night, they’ll hope for more consistent production from Giancarlo Stanton. A hideous slump that consumed parts of May and June has him on pace to set career worsts in wOBA (.348), fWAR/600 (1.9) and K% (33.3%), just to name a few.
However, Stanton finished the first half with a flourish and absolutely owned the Home Run Derby, showcasing his transcendent power on one of the sport’s biggest stages.
Stanton was already the franchise’s all-time home run leader entering this season. That hasn’t stopped him from chasing down more milestones in recent weeks and proving that there’s no teammate, rival or historical figure quite like him.
First player to hit 200 home runs with the Marlins
This leaves the San Diego Padres as the only active team to never have a player reach this round number.
Before Stanton did it for the Marlins, Dan Uggla came closest with 154. The big difference: Uggla only began hitting MLB home runs during his age-26 season; Stanton is still in the middle of his age-26 season. The end is nowhere in sight.
Per Baseball-Reference, the list of others who mashed at least 200 bombs through their age-26 season is full of Hall of Famers:
Congrats to Giancarlo Stanton on becoming the 16th player in MLB history to hit 200 HRs thru his age 26 season pic.twitter.com/9Q0F98nxO6— Baseball Reference (@baseball_ref) July 7, 2016
Seven straight seasons of 20-plus home runs to begin his career
There’s no other active streak like this in the big leagues. Nelson Cruz (eight) and the ageless David Ortiz (15) both own longer overall streaks, but neither demonstrated Stanton-like production at the start of their careers.
Lately, he’s been getting to 20 with incredible ease. This marks the third consecutive year that Stanton did it prior to the All-Star break. Only Cruz and Josh Donaldson can make the same claim.
Only player with back-to-back multi-HR games at Citi Field
The stadium opened in 2009, when Adam Dunn and Ryan Howard were NL East rivals and constant threats to go deep. Powerful sluggers like Yoenis Cespedes, Lucas Duda and Curtis Granderson have had plenty of opportunities to get there first as members of the hometown team.
Instead, Stanton earned this distinction during Miami’s most recent visit to New York.
Responsible for three of MLB’s six hardest-hit home runs this season
His home runs could take you from Sun Life Stadium to Marlins Park
Stanton finished with the highest home run total during Monday’s derby, but made an even stronger statement with the distance that balls travelled off his bat. From MLB.com’s Mike Petriello:
Stanton had the 10 longest home runs, and 18 of the 19 longest. He's unreal.— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) July 12, 2016
This was more than just an exhibition gimmick—reputable MLB pitchers have been victimized by those same kind of moon shots.
The ESPN Home Run Tracker estimates that his 201 regular season home runs have flown a total of 83,245 feet, or 15.77 miles. In other words, you could line them all up end-to-end and complete a trip between Stanton’s past and present major league homes (approximately 14.1 miles on I-95, according to Google Maps).
More Marlins Park home runs than the NL West and American League combined
Particularly when playing in Miami, Stanton is taking his biggest swings out of necessity, not to earn style points. Entering Friday, Marlins Park has allowed the second-fewest home runs of any MLB venue this season, just as it did the year before and the year before that. Despite the challenging conditions, he has lit up the left-center field sculpture 76 times in 1,158 plate appearances. That’s a 6.6 HR%.
For comparison’s sake, NL West and American League teams have combined for 4,703 plate appearances at Marlins Park. They have only 71 home runs (1.5 HR%).
Stephen Strasburg’s Worst Nightmare
Stanton and Strasburg are “MLB twins” in the sense that they share a debut date (June 8, 2010). They’ve both overcome injuries on the way to comparable success, leading to All-Star recognition and enormous long-term contracts. It’s only fitting that Strasburg has faced Stanton more times than any other hitter.
But through head-to-head competition, Stanton has made a convincing argument that he’s the superior player. The slugger owns a monstrous .368/.442/.789 slash line against Strasburg with 10 extra-base hits off the right-hander, twice as many as anybody else.
I like to imagine them together at a Hall of Fame induction ceremony 20 years from now, and Stanton’s dominance of the rivalry has left Strasburg so emotionally scarred, he chooses to hide backstage rather than sit next to Stanton. It would be hard to blame him if this trend continues throughout their careers.