Stanton on a Homer Binge
Home Run hitters have always been big fan draws to baseball games. From the 1920’s when a young slugger named Babe Ruth started hitting home runs by the dozen, often hitting more home runs in a season that some entire teams did; through the days of Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle right through to the steroid era of the late 1990’s and the early 2000’s, home runs have drawn headlines.
When Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton hit his 50th home run of the season off San Diego’s Clayton Richard on August 27 he became the 28th member of the 50 homer club and the first player to hit 50 home runs in a single season since Chris Davis hit 53 for Baltimore in 2013.
Giancarlo Cruz Michael Stanton, born November 8, 1989 in Panorama City, California made his major league debut on June 8, 2010 for the then Florida Marlins at the age of twenty as Michael Stanton.
Since his debut, through August 27 he has 933 hits, 258 home runs and 648 Runs Batted In for the Marlins.
Fifty Home Runs in a season has always been a milestone and very likely always will be. Stanton became the ninth player ever to hit his 50th before the end of August and the first National League hitter to club 50 in a season since Prince Fielder in 2007. Stanton isn’t the youngest to hit 50: Fielder holds that honour as he hit 50 for the Brewers as a 23 year old.
How dominant has Stanton been? Consider that Stanton hit his 50th before anyone else in the majors had 40. His nearest pursuer for the home run leader title (the Yankees Aaron Judge) had 37.
To further illustrate just how much of a tear Stanton has been on since the All-Star break, consider that when the teams took their All-Star break, Judge led the majors with 30 round trippers. Stanton was tied for third with 26. After the games of August 27, Judge had 37. In those six weeks, Stanton has out homered Judge 24 to 7.
There are still three games remaining on the Marlins’ August schedule. Stanton has hit 29 home runs in the months of July and August, thereby ranking second all-time for home runs in any two month portion of a major league season (Albert Belle hit 31 for Cleveland in August-September 1995 and Sammy Sosa hit 29 for the Cubs in June-July of 1998). With those three games remaining, given the pace he is going it is not unrealistic to think Stanton could tie or even pass Belle’s numbers from 1995.
Coincidental with this unbelievable streak, the Marlins have managed to work themselves back into the Wild Card race in the National League. On July 1, the Marlins were 35-43, 11 games out of a Wild Card spot. After the August 27 game, they were 66-63 and only four and a half games out of a Wild Card spot.
Playing in a race for a post-season berth will undoubtedly help Stanton as all of the games should be meaningful. That should help him keep his edge and also persuade Marlins Manager Don Mattingly to leave him in the lineup.
He came up to the majors as Michael Stanton and became known as Giancarlo Stanton. On the Sunday of players’ weekend, the day he hit his 50th, he wore his nickname “Cruz” on his jersey.
Perhaps it should have read Crush, because that is what he has been doing to the ball over the last couple of months.