Yesterday marked a significant milestone in the history of major league baseball: Giancarlo Stanton hit his 245th career long ball.
Just kidding, the real milestone was the 10th anniversary of Barry Bonds setting the career home run mark, but Stanton's home run was also important (possibly more so if you are a Marlins fanatic and/or believe Bonds was a drug cheat). The homer was the slugger's 37th this season, tying the career-high he set in 2012 and tied in 2014.
What is different about 2017, though, is that Stanton has plenty of time to hit more. With 52 games left, it looks like it is going to be when, not if, Gary Sheffield's long-standing franchise record of 42 home runs in a single season gets broken.
The obvious reason why Stanton has not already broken the record, given his prodigious power, is his injury history, which has given him a reputation around the league, as well as lead many to question the historic contract extension he signed after the 2014 season.
In 2012, the first time Stanton came close to the record, he ran out of games after missing over a month of the season due to knee surgery just before the All-Star break. In 2014, when he equaled his own career-high, he was hit in the face by a pitch after playing in all of Miami's 145 games up until that point. In June 2015, when on pace for 60 home runs, Stanton broke his hamate bone in his hand and missed the rest of the year.
Although there is a long way to go in 2017, it has taken six full major league seasons for Stanton (ignoring 2014 due to the freak nature of his injury) to be fully healthy up until this point of the season. What that means is, at long last, we are seeing what Stanton is fully capable of, and it is exciting.
Granted, Stanton's true value to the team is debatable when considering all of the strikeouts and lack of clutch hits from time to time, but his game is home runs, and he hits them like no one else in Marlins history.
Therefore, it will be fitting for Stanton to finally break the single-season franchise record for home runs after breaking the career mark two years ago. He has the fifth lowest AB/HR rate in MLB history, and tying the record will make Stanton one of the fastest ever players to reach 250 home runs.
If he can go beyond the record and get close to 50 home runs, he may just snatch the MVP award, too, and become the first Marlin to do so. That would be more than appropriate for the most exciting hitter to ever call Miami home.