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Giancarlo

MIAMI, FL – MAY 06: Giancarlo Stanton #27 of the Miami Marlins hits an RBI double during the first inning of the game against the New York Mets at Marlins Park on May 06, 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

People forget this, but there was a two-year or so period after Tiger Woods launched himself into golf’s stratosphere when he didn’t play legendary golf. This happened after he won the 1997 Masters by 77 shots or whatever it was, and everyone expected him to thoroughly and repeatedly obliterate the field.

Oh, sure, he was still very good for the next two years, still won four tournaments, still made a ton of money, still had some Top 10s in the major championships. But the singular greatness of that display at the Masters, the promise that it evoked, well, it didn’t repeat. We know now that Woods, in one of the boldest moves in sports history, rebuilt his swing during that time. He was great, sure, but he didn’t want to be great. He wanted to be the best who ever lived, and so he tore down his swing and put it back together. We know now that the new swing came together in the second half of 1999, and in 2000 he had what is probably the greatest season in the history of golf.

But in 1998, he won just one golf tournament, the Bell South Classic, a one-shot victory over Jay Don Blake. And it was a strange time … even though Tiger was still absurdly young then and it was entirely unfair for us to rush him, we wanted to rush him. We were saying: “OK, we’re ready now for you to blow up golf, Tiger. Come on. Let’s go. Let’s do this.”

This has been the hunger that has surrounded Giancarlo Stanton the last two years.

Every single thing about Giancarlo Stanton says star, from his Hollywood name to his perfect physique to the unnatural way baseballs jump off his bat. He has this unique charisma; he blends “intimidating” with “teddy bear,” like no one I can remember. He has to be the scariest guy to face — scary in the “I’m worried this guy will hit the ball so hard it explodes” sense of the the word — and yet he has been our youngest daughter’s favorite player since she was 10. She just instantly loved him.

But for Stanton, stardom, real stardom, it proved elusive. For the last two years, Stanton has been troubled by injuries, inconsistencies and perhaps the dispiriting feeling of playing for a blah team in a city that doesn’t love them. The Marlins have been dead last in the National League in attendance every year but one since 2006, and that one year they jumped up all the way to 12th because a new stadium was built. The Marlins have not had a winning record since Stanton came up in 2010. This stuff can wear on a person, even a 6-foot-6, 245 block-of-granite person like Giancarlo Stanton.

There are, best I can tell, two unique players in Statcast™. The first, of course, is Aroldis Chapman. There are 29 players who have thrown at least one pitch at 101 mph since Statcast™ began. Mauricio Cabrera has thrown 199 of them, putting him second on the list — he has more than twice as many of anyone not named Chapman.

Aroldis Chapman has thrown 1,129 pitches at least 101 mph.

So that’s crazy, but here’s another one — only 51 players have hit a home run with an exit velocity of 113 mph or higher.  Aaron Judge has 10 of them, which is incredible considering how short his career has been, and it puts him in second place.

Giancarlo Stanton has 27 of them.

Nobody hits those amazing, jaw-dropping, heart-stopping, neck-craning, blood-draining, brain-shocking, knee-knocking, rail-gripping, bat-flipping home runs ike Stanton.

This is the one he hit three days ago (114 mph). That’s a once-in-a-year homer.

via GIPHY

Then, this is the one he hit four days before that (114 mph). It’s more ridiculous than the first one.

via GIPHY

And this is the one he hit four days before that, 116 mph, this one off a 78-mph R.A. Dickey knuckleball. Watch the outfielder reaction. He starts running and then stops like, “What am I even thinking about?”

via GIPHY

These are not normal home runs. They are career-making bombs, the sort you brag about long after you’ve hung them up. These are the ones old-ballplayers talk about in their “remember when” sessions.” Kyle Schwarber, who has hit some memorable blasts already in his young career, has two 113-mph homers. Stanton had three in one week.

We’ve been waiting for this. We kept waiting for Giancarlo Stanton to reinvent the game. Here was exactly the sort of player we baseball fans pray for, someone who is not only great but a player who is larger than life, a bigger than our imagination player, a Babe Ruth, a Mickey Mantle, a Willie Mays, a Sandy Koufax, a Bob Gibson, a Pedro Martinez, a (yes) Barry Bonds. Stanton seemed the sort of player who can take this crazy game and lift it a step higher, make us believe we might see something so amazing, so impossible, that we will forever remember that exact moment.

This, I think, is why Aaron Judge so thrilled us for the first half of the year. It wasn’t just the numbers, though the numbers were preposterous. It wasn’t just the Judge nicknames. It was that this guy seemed new,  a 2.0 version of the greats of the past, an iPhone 8 version of Willie McCovey and Mark McGwire and Frank Howard and the rest.

This was to be Giancarlo Stanton’s role. But it just wasn’t quite happening. Oh, he led the league in homers twice, which is pretty darned good. And then he got the mega contract and we rubbed our hands together, the same way we did when Tiger Woods blew away Augusta, and thought: “Now we’re really going to see something.”

Two years ago he hit 27 home runs in 74 games, so that was crazy, but the problem was he only played in 74 games. Last year, he hit a career low .240, did not slug .500, missed more time with injuries. Then this year, first couple of months, he was eh — he was hitting .270 with 11 homers in late May, more than respectable power numbers but the earth wasn’t exactly shaking.

And it was easy to wonder: Would the earth ever shake? In late April, Bill James put out a tweet calling Stanton the Dave Kingman of the 21st Century, and while THAT was a bit harsh, it was true that Stanton’s previous two years had some Kingmanesque qualities — lots of strikeouts, low batting averages, injury prone seasons. For those of us who love Giancarlo Stanton, it all seemed kind of discouraging.

And then … Giancarlo Stanton ignited.

At this moment, Stanton is on one of the greatest home-run stretches in baseball history. He has hit 10 home runs in his last 11 games, and he has homered in five games in a row. More though: These home runs, as seen above, are not normal. For these 10 homers, he has AVERAGED 109 mph exit velocity, which is insane — Cody Bellinger has two 109-mph exit velocity homers all year, Miggy Cabrera (the former king of exit velo) has one. His home runs have AVERAGED 430 feet.

Stanton’s home runs have AVERAGED 430 feet. Eric Thames has hit 27 homers this year — only one of them went 430 feet.

This is insane stuff. And it is what we have been waiting for with Stanton. The Marlins are typically blah — even with a recent hot streak, they are 8 1/2 games out of the wildcard race. They are averaging less than 21,000 fans per game, last in the National League by more than 3,000 fans. But Giancarlo Stanton is the must see-player in baseball right now. Every at-bat has a chance to be a baseball moment. Every swing has a chance to be a lifelong memory.

 

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36 Responses to Giancarlo

  1. Brian says:

    “…he blends ‘intimidating’ with ‘teddy bear,’ like no one I can remember.”

    David Ortiz perhaps?

  2. John B says:

    Don’t sleep on Joey Gallo with the Rangers. He’s hit some insane shots in the last 2 weeks. One hit the roof of the structure in CF at Ballpark in Arlington – first time that’s happened since the place opened in ’94. Gallo is still a baby and while his average is hovering just over .200, he is getting better and better (now 33 HRs, good OPS).

    • invitro says:

      I added Gallo to 2 of my 3 fantasy teams about 7 days ago, after he hit HR’s in 3 games in a row. Now he’s done it again. For some reason I thought he was about 25… he’s only 23. He’ll be very interesting to watch. I saw that he is #1 in isolated power. Half his hits are homers, and 72% are for extra bases. That’s crazy!

  3. Rob Smith says:

    Maybe when Jeter takes over the Marlins will fix Giancarlo and have him hitting grounders to second base to move runners over and/or have him bunt more often. The blogging possibilities for you are astounding.

  4. Rob Smith says:

    We didn’t have Statcast back in the day, but if we did, I think guys like Chipper Jones (who hit 450 HRs) probably never hit a 118 MPH exit velocity HR. Most of his were dropped into the first five rows. Then I think back to guys like Frank Howard, Harmon Killebrew,Mantle, Yaz, Frank Robinson & Reggie. Mantle supposedly had one that went 565 feet at Griffith Stadium. The low estimate was 510 feet for those that weren’t quite buying 565. I wonder what some of their HRs exit velocities were.

  5. nightfly says:

    When you see one of these live you can’t forget it. I remember a Giants/Marlins game waaaaaay back when Kevin Mitchell smoked a ball way off into leftfield off Charlie Hough – everybody in the park just stopped what they were doing and went WHOOOOAAAA all at once. The ball hit the banners they used to cover the upper-deck seats with.

  6. Bryan says:

    Vladimir Guerrero ignoring a 9 game call-up, Age 22-27:
    1997: 78-84, 4th in NL East, 18,489 per home game
    1998: 65-97, 4th in NL East, 11,295 per home game
    1999: 68-94, 4th in NL East, 9,547 per home game
    2000: 67-95, 4th in NL East, 11,435 per home game
    2001: 68-94, 5th in NL East, 7,935 per home game
    2002: 83-79, 2nd in NL East, 10,025 per home game
    *
    His best position player teammates are Rondell White who is traded for Scott Downs at the 2000 trade deadline and Mike Lansing who is traded after the 1997 season for Jake Westbrook and 2 players who never make the majors.
    *
    His best pitching teammates are Pedro Martinez who is traded for Carl Pavano and Tony Armas after the 1997 season, Ugueth Urbina who is traded at the 2001 deadline for Tomo Ohka and Rich Rundles and Bartolo Colon who comes in mid-2002 with Tim Drew to help the team come close to the playoffs at the cost of Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips, Grady Sizemore and Lee Stevens.
    *
    Giancarlo Stanton, Age 20-27:
    2010: 80-82, 3rd in NL East, 18,826 per home game
    2011: 72-90, 5th in NL East, 18,772 per home game
    2012: 69-93, 5th in NL East, 27,401 per home game
    2013: 62-100, 5th in NL East, 19,584 per home game
    2014: 77-85, 4th in NL East, 21,386 per home game
    2015: 71-91, 3rd in NL East, 21,633 per home game
    2016: 79-82, 3rd in NL East, 21,141 per home game
    2017: 57-60, 2nd in NL East, 20,715 per home game
    *
    His best position player teammates are Marcell Ozuna and J.T. Realmuto still with the team on year-to-year contracts, Martin Prado signed to a 3 year contract, Christian Yelich signed to a 7 year contract with an option year and Dee Gordon signed to a 5 year contract with an option year. The last position player teammates of note to leave were Dan Uggla who was traded for Mike Dunn and Omar Infante after the 2010 season and Jose Reyes signing a 6+1 year free agent contract and being traded after 2012 his one season with the team.
    *
    His best pitching teammate is RIP José Fernández. Mark Buehrle who same as Reyes is one and done and Josh Johnson in that same trade who only pitches another 81 innings in his career, Henderson Alvarez comes to Miami in that trade. Buehrle is basically the only pitcher to be effective after leaving Miami in the Stanton era and he cleared off so much payroll that was a great trade for the Marlins.
    *
    The Marlins didn’t keep Bryan Morris after a terrible 2016 and he’s had a terrible 2017 for the Giants. Carter Capps best known for his hop-step delivery has pitched 2 innings since being traded by the Marlins. AJ Ramos has pitched 6 innings and allowed 4 runs since being traded to the Mets a month ago. Henderson Alvarez left as a free agent, signed with Oakland but still hasn’t pitched in MLB since leaving Miami.
    *
    Vlad and Stanton have similar quality ownership but the GM in Miami is a massive upgrade. Through Age 27, Vlad: Walks in 8.5%, Strikes Out in 11.5% and HR in 5.6% of his plate appearances vs Stanton Walks 11.7%, K 27.9% and HR 6.4%. Substantial differences partly due to era and overall they are equally productive hitters through 27.
    *
    The main drawback of the Marlins is that they didn’t luck into an MVP candidate like Jose Altuve or Joel Embiid in the draft, they instead locked up the MVP candidate already on the team to a 13+1 year contract. The media fawns over the brilliance of the Astros and 76ers and considered the Marlins a disaster even with Marlins GMs running laps around Billy Beane for the last 8 years on how to build a team on a budget. The Marlins are quite possibly one tragic boating accident away from the playoffs, but it’s much easier to stick to the narrative about Marlins being a terrible franchise than actually evaluating what a team has done.

    • Keith says:

      Vlad and Stanton didn’t just have similar quality ownership; if I’m not mistaken, the same owner for a time, one Jeffrey Loria…

  7. […] Posnanski had the best description I’ve seen of Stanton in this column: “Every single thing about Giancarlo Stanton says star, from his Hollywood name to his […]

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  9. […] Posnanski had the finest description I’ve found of Stanton in this column: “Each and every solitary point about Giancarlo Stanton says star, from his Hollywood name to […]

  10. […] Posnanski had the best description I’ve seen of Stanton in this column: “Every single thing about Giancarlo Stanton says star, from his Hollywood name to his […]

  11. […] Posnanski had the best description I’ve seen of Stanton in this column: “Every single thing about Giancarlo Stanton says star, from his Hollywood name to his […]

  12. […] Posnanski had the best description I’ve seen of Stanton in this column: “Every single thing about Giancarlo Stanton says star, from his Hollywood name to his […]

  13. […] Posnanski had the best description I’ve seen of Stanton in this column: “Every single thing about Giancarlo Stanton says star, from his Hollywood name to his […]

  14. […] Posnanski had the best description I’ve seen of Stanton in this column: “Every single thing about Giancarlo Stanton says star, from his Hollywood name to his […]

  15. […] Posnanski had the best description I’ve seen of Stanton in this column: “Every single thing about Giancarlo Stanton says star, from his Hollywood name to his […]

  16. […] Posnanski had the best description I’ve seen of Stanton in this column: “Every single thing about Giancarlo Stanton says star, from his Hollywood name to his […]

  17. […] Posnanski had the best description I’ve seen of Stanton in this column: “Every single thing about Giancarlo Stanton says star, from his Hollywood name to his […]

  18. Bryan says:

    Most HR in first 100 team games since 1913:
    43: 1998 Mark McGwire 70
    42: 2001 Barry Bonds 73
    41: 1921 Babe Ruth 59
    41: 1928 Babe Ruth 54
    41: 1932 Jimmie Foxx 58
    40: 1961 Roger Maris 61
    40: 1969 Reggie Jackson 47
    40: 1998 Ken Griffey Jr 56
    40: 2001 Luis Gonzalez 57
    39: 1961 Mickey Mantle 54

    33: T45th 2017 Giancarlo Stanton ?? and 14 others
    *
    Most HR in first 118 team games since 1913:
    50: 2001 Barry Bonds 73
    48: 1921 Babe Ruth 59
    47: 1998 Mark McGwire 70
    47: 1999 Mark McGwire 65
    47: 1999 Sammy Sosa 63
    46: 1961 Roger Maris 61
    45: 1928 Babe Ruth 54
    45: 1961 Mickey Mantle 54
    44: 1930 Babe Ruth 49
    44: 1998 Sammy Sosa 66
    44: 2001 Luis Gonzalez 57
    44: 2017 Giancarlo Stanton ??
    43: 2013 Chris Davis 53 and 6 others

    39: T29th 1927 Babe Ruth 60 and 18 others
    *
    Of course if you’re talking “legitimate” HR records there is 60 in 154 team games or 62 in 158 team games vs 61 in 162 team games and 62 in 167 team games.
    *
    Information provided by baseball-reference.com Play Index.

  19. […] Posnanski had the best description I’ve seen of Stanton in this column: “Every single thing about Giancarlo Stanton says star, from his Hollywood name to his […]

  20. […] Posnanski had the best description I’ve seen of Stanton in this column: “Every single thing about Giancarlo Stanton says star, from his Hollywood name to his […]

  21. […] Posnanski had the best description I’ve seen of Stanton in this column: “Every single thing about Giancarlo Stanton says star, from his Hollywood name to his […]

  22. […] Posnanski had the best description I’ve seen of Stanton in this column: “Every single thing about Giancarlo Stanton says star, from his Hollywood name to his […]

  23. […] Posnanski had the best description I’ve seen of Stanton in this column: “Every single thing about Giancarlo Stanton says star, from his Hollywood name to his […]

  24. […] Posnanski had the best description I’ve seen of Stanton in this column: “Every single thing about Giancarlo Stanton says star, from his Hollywood name to his […]

  25. […] the best description I’ve seen of Stanton in this column: “Every single thing about Giancarlo Stanton […]

  26. […] Posnanski had the best description I've seen of Stanton in this column: "Every single thing about Giancarlo Stanton says star, from his Hollywood name to his perfect […]

  27. […] Posnanski had the best description I've seen of Stanton in this column: "Every single thing about Giancarlo Stanton says star, from his Hollywood name to his perfect […]

  28. Unvenfurth says:

    Wily Mo Pena had crazy exit velocity

    • Scoop K says:

      … back to the dugout after another K *zing

      but seriously, I saw him murder one in Fenway that about knocked down one of those stupid Coke bottles above the Green Monster

  29. Patrick says:

    I love all of the talk about exit velocity, but where I agree the most with Joe is that it is all about the memories. One of my favorite memories is a July game at Jacobs Field, I believe they even had a 4th of July Fireworks show after the game. We had pretty good seats in the upper deck, first base side and I was keeping score (yep, I was the weird teenager that kept score at the ballpark). Jim Thome came up and hit this massive home run. I lost it when the ball (from my point of view) actually went above the scoreboard. I don’t know how high it actually got, but it caromed off the scoreboard on onto Eagle Ave. He actually hit the ball out of the ballpark, to center field no less. They say it went 511 feet, but if it doesn’t hit the scoreboard it goes way farther than that. I don’t remember who the Indians were playing that day, if they even won, or much else (I’d have to grab my old program to find out), but I will remember that home run forever. That’s the kind of memories that guys like Jim Thome, Giancarlo Stanton, and Aaron Judge can create.

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