This Thursday marked the fifth anniversary of Giancarlo Stanton passing Dan Uggla to become the Marlins’ all-time home run leader. But that’s behind us. Every record in sports is waiting for someone else to break it and it isn’t too early to think about who could break Stanton’s 267 mark.
Based on statistics and track record, we’ve compiled four Marlins players with the potential to do so if circumstances allow them to remain with the team long term. Let’s see who they are...
Current age: 26 (turns 27 in May)
Marlins career HR total: 31
Last year was the beginning of Anderson’s career as a true slugger. The 26-year-old, who is poised for a breakout season in 2020, has shown power and ability to send balls out of the park. In 2019, he hit 20 dingers in 126 before suffering a hand injury that made him lost the rest of the season.
As his home run totals, Anderson’s hard-hit and barrel percentages went up in 2019 as well. Respectively, the Oklahoma native registered 45.7% and 8.9%. Plus, his launch angle was at 11.1 degrees, a better number than his 8.7 degrees in 2018 if you want to hit balls in the air. Since 2018, he’s hit 31 four-baggers.
While Brian might have not reached his ceiling yet, he will become a free agent after the 2023 season. In order to climb atop the Marlins’ HR list, the right-handed hitter would need to sign a long-term contract extension. Even then, he would have to average 29.5 home runs for the next eight campaigns to tie Giancarlo.
2. Isan Díaz
Current age: 23 (turns 24 in May)
Marlins career HR total: 5
Hey, I know Isan was not good in his first big league showing. He was not good during the 2020 Spring Training, either. But he’s young, he’s got some pop, and he led all Marlins minor-leaguers last year with 26 home runs. Díaz hit five round-trippers in his first 49 games in the majors. Add those to the ones he smacked in the minors and you’ll get 31.
Why do I think he has a chance to meet Stanton’s mark? Besides his power display in Triple-A in 2019, there are several reasons.
A combined 84.3 percent of all the balls put in play by the Puerto Rican qualified as medium or hard contact, according to FanGraphs. His launch angle was at 17.3 degrees and his FB%, was a high 45.4%. A plus for the young second baseman is that he will be under control until the 2025 season, but he needs to embrace the starting role immediately.
3. Monte Harrison
Current age: 24
Marlins career HR total: 0
Not out of nothing, Harrison has high expectations around him. He smacked 40 home runs between 2017 and 2018 in the minors and was on the same pace in 2019 before suffering a wrist injury. If he develops well enough and translates his minors success to the majors, Monte could be a perennial 30-homer guy.
What might be an obstacle for him is his tendency to hit ground balls. During his minor league career, 50.2% of the balls he put in play were to the ground, which is 607 out of 1.210. He could use a higher launch angle to produce more fly balls if the outfielder wants to have a shot on breaking that 267 number.
4. Lewin Díaz
Current age: 23
Marlins HR total entering 2020: 0
Oh, my! Certainly, I don’t know if Díaz will break the record, but you can expect him to build his road to the bigs with home runs. He has big-time power and a beautiful swing!
You don’t believe me? Just check out these videos from his Dominican Winter League showing months ago...
He looks like a dangerous, veteran hitter, right?
Díaz, acquired in the Sergio Romo trade, had a great 2019 season in which he recorded 27 dingers in 121 games between Minnesota and Miami’s affiliates. He uses every part of the field and does not strike out a lot (91 in 501 PA). During Spring Training, manager Don Mattingly didn’t shy away from drawing comparisons between Díaz and three-time Silver Slugger Carlos Delgado.
If he makes it to the bigs and gets to be the Marlins’ everyday first baseman, it’ll be interesting to see what the Dominican can do.