I originally got the idea for this article after browsing through FanGraphs’ leaderboards. I have always been a huge fan of Stanton and knew that he had immense power. I wanted to see exactly how good it is so I began playing with the leaderboards. I wanted to see where he stacked up against others his age and to see how good he could become. The rest of the article is after the jump, enjoy!
Miami Marlins’ outfielder Giancarlo Stanton made his major league debut as a young twenty year old with his entire career ahead of him. He’s taken the league by storm while taking his place as one the most feared power hitters in the game. As he reaches his prime it’s possible that he becomes one of the games’ all-time great power hitters.
It’s no secret that Giancarlo Stanton is an absolute beast. He’s 6-5 233 pounds, that size compares to another great power hitter by the name of Larry Walker who was 6-3 235 pounds. That’s for another day though.
Since Stanton debuted at such a young age and immediately showed results. I decided to see how it compared to other hitters who were Stanton’s age and showed similar power. I took a look at a three year span that went from the players age 20 season and ended at the players age 22 season.
First off I began my data comes from every year since the live ball era began in 1920. I than reduced it down until I found players with an ISO above .210. A .200 ISO is considered great but I choose .210 as my cut-off because it ended up being easier to work with. Anyway, back to the article. I separated the data to find out where Stanton ranked in this group in terms of ISO. It turned out that he ranked third, and the players he ranked behind are some of the all-time greats. Joe DiMaggio‘s .289 ISO is the highest ISO for that time frame and the game’s greatest hitter, Ted Williams, had an ISO of .284 in that time frame.
I decided to dig a little further though. I wanted to see how many plate appearances per home run Stanton gets. Again I went to my trusty spreadsheet and took a look. I won’t lie and say I wasn’t surprised when I saw that Stanton’s PA/HR was the lowest of the bunch. He is currently getting a home run every 17.55 plate appearances. That’s a better rate than the likes of Albert Pujols, Mel Ott and the great Hank Aaron.
I also wanted to see how many of his his hits have gone for home runs and where he ranked in that department. After running the numbers I found that 24% of hits are home runs, to put that in comparison 22% of Mickey Mantle‘s hits were home runs and 26% of Babe Ruth‘s hits were home runs. Not bad company if I say so myself.
I took the top leaders in ISO during that time and decided to see how they progressed as time went on. I made a chart in excel to visually display the information. You’re going to have to download the excel chart though because I couldn’t find another way to post it.
With Stanton it appears that his ISO is slowly increasing as he gets older, which makes sense since he’s so young. This year it’s .005 points less than last year and he just got put on the DL so that won’t change for a month or more. It’s highly likely that if he had not gotten hurt he would have continued to see a rise in his ISO. This makes sense especially if you read this article by FanGraphs writer Eno Sarris. In that article he shows that power hitters reach their peak at around 24-25 years old and face a steady decline until age 29-30. Once the hitter reaches that age the decline becomes more dramatic. Stanton is only 22 and that means he hasn’t even reached his peak when it comes to power. Remember hits like doubles tend to peak earlier and doubles are a main component of ISO.
Tom Tango, co-author of The Book found the best aging curves for a multitude of stats, and home runs happened to be one of them. He found that a players home run peak doesn’t happen until their age 28 season and that bodes extremely well for Stanton. If he has 35+ home run potential as a 22 year old, what could that potential be as he reaches his peak? Pretty scary to think about. The article by Tom Tango can be found here.
Stanton is still an extremely young player and has been extremely fun to watch. If he remains healthy and his power progresses as expected we could be witnessing one of the best power hitters to ever play the game.