Giancarlo Stanton and the Monster Home Runs
Giancarlo Stanton - the man is known for his power bat
In case you're wondering, I'll get to one thing right off, so you will know. You pronounce Giancarlo as 'John Carlo.' At least that is how I hear it pronounced by baseball analysts and color commentary folks.
Giancarlo Stanton is a big deal. Very big. He is six foot and six inches tall. He weighs in at two hundred and forty very sculpted pounds. The guy looks like a sculpture chiseled away from granite. He's the type of person people like to photograph for weight lifting or men's health magazines. That stuff could probably make him a career in and of itself, but posing for photographs isn't Giancarlo's chief source of revenue. He's a Major League Baseball player, and he is chiefly known as one of the guys, if not THE guy, who hits the longest home runs in Major League Baseball today.
Giancarlo's roof, or ceiling in Major League Baseball is very high. It will surprise exactly nobody if he hits fifty home runs this year. Or maybe it will surprise someone. Big men with muscles all over the place, men like Giancarlo Stanton, they tend to get hurt or injured fairly often. I used to think this was due entirely to the steroids people like Juan Gonzalez or Jose Canseco were using all the time. This isn't always true though, big guys with big muscles just injure themselves. Absolutely nobody suspects Giancarlo of using steroids, the steroid slugger days are over now.
An example of the Giancarlo Stanton physique photo
Giancarlo Stanton - The highest paid professional athlete in history
Sometimes those MLB uniforms trick your eyes a little. You see Prince Fielder and you think he is maybe fat. Oh, he's large, but the most of it is extreme muscle on a very big frame. You might see Giancarlo Stanton, and because he's six foot six, he might look thin to you on the television. The uniforms can be deceptive.
Another thing, Giancarlo is not such a common name, but it is a cool name. Maybe it was just me, but I had assumed Giancarlo was one of the many Latin American players in the Major Leagues. What I mean to say here is he's from California, he isn't from Central America.
Giancarlo was born in 1989 in Tujunga, California. He went to high school in Sherman Oaks though, and there he was a three sport athlete. He got a scholarship to Tulane to play baseball, and Big League baseball fans are all pleased he pursued that sport instead of any others. He was dang sure offered scholarships to play football for some big time universities out West.
Giancarlo wasn't drafted so highly. He was a 76th round draft choice in 2007. Racial heritage isn't much important to serious sports fans, or at least it isn't to me. It is important to some folks though, so we'll state what Wikipedia provides here, Giancarlo is mostly of Irish and African American blood, but one of his great-grandmothers was Puerto Rican.
That thing about Giancarlo being drafted in the 76th round? That's not impressive? Well, suffice it to say those high draft picks don't always pan out so well as lower round picks, like the 76th round picks do. Giancarlo Stanton is the man with the biggest professional sports contract in the history of professional sports right now. On November the 14th of 2014, Giancarlo signed to play with the Miami Marlins for the next thirteen years. The pay was just $325 million dollars.
How much does Giancarlo Stanton make? $325 million over 13 years, you do the math
Major League Baseball is a big money game
Major League Baseball is a huge business. It brings lots of joy to lots of people, and I am certainly one of them. Nolan Ryan was the first guy in professional sports to make a million dollars a year, and that was way back in 1980 when the Houston Astros signed him to a one million dollar contract. People cried and moaned and complained that nobody could possibly play a game and be worth that kind of money. Well, everyone is welcome to their own opinions, apparently the people with the money to pay out disagree with the nay saying folk, and of course, when someone can throw a ball with triple digits on the radar gun, or someone can hit a ball 500 feet from home plate, that kind of thing puts people in the stadium, gets people watching on the television, and sells a lot of merchandise.
Another thing the people who complain about sports stars salaries don't do, is have the money to do good deeds with. These major stars, these people do lots of good with that money, good that may have never been done were they to not have it. It is wrong to just assume that because someone is so wealthy they hoard the money and someone far away is starving or something for it. But there you are, when you see such amazing wealth as can be seen here in the USA, and you don't have much of it, you tend to assume the worst. We could try and see it the other way around too, if we cared to.
Giancarlo Stanton as a prospect in the minor leagues
Giancarlo Stanton's minor league career
Stanton didn't spend too long in the minor leagues. He dominated the minor leagues. He won a lot of awards for his 2008 season in the Marlins farm system. He's spank 39 home runs for the Greensboro Grasshoppers. That's right, the team was called the Grasshoppers. Hard to call a man who hits 39 home runs a grasshopper, isn't it? Well, it is hard to call him that for long.
Stanton was invited to the Marlins spring training camp in 2009. This was done mostly as a sort of award, or recognition for his progress. In Major League Baseball, when a young guy is invited to his first spring training camp with the big club, it isn't meant as something to say the team is ready to bring them up right away, it is more meant to say, 'hey, we see how good you are doing, come have a taste of life with the Big League team.'
On May the sixth in 2010, Stanton gave lots of people a taste of what he had to offer. He was playing for the Jacksonville Suns, still in the minors. The game was in Montgomery, Alabama, against the Montgomery Biscuits. Giancarlo hit the ball completely over the scoreboard in the stadium. They don't have the precision home run tracking in place in such a stadium, but everyone knows the ball went at least 500 feet. Some estimates put the total distance further than that. Phillip Wellman, a professional baseball coach for the Marlins farm system made a comment that Stanton looked like a 15 year old playing against 8 year old, that is to say, he looked like a high school kid hitting in a t-ball sized field.
Giancarlo Stanton - that ball went a long, long ways from home plate
Giancarlo Stanton, Major League Slugger
Stanton was called up to the Marlins Major League Team on June 6th, 2010. He made his debut two days later, and he was only 20 years old. He was surely very excited, and the pressure didn't phase him any, he went 3 for 5 in his first game.
His first home run was a grand slam. From here on out the list of firsts for Stanton are rather long, and tedious, and one can always use Wikipedia for such things. What happened in 2010 was Giancarlo Stanton got compared to a lot of very established and some legendary persons a lot of times by a lot of persons watching.
For 2010, Stanton's average home run distance was 399.6 feet. So his average home run was nearly the depth of the typical center field fence. One of the newer measurements in Major League Baseball is exit velocity, the velocity of the ball off of the hitter's bat. Stanton's exit velocity is something which gets discussed quite a lot, and this is because he's typically got the highest exit velocity in the entire Major Leagues. So in 2010, his average home run exit velocity was 104.3 miles per hour. If that was easy, everyone would do it, and sign 300 million dollar contracts.
Giancarlo Stanton, in the outfield
Giancarlo Stanton in the outfield
Mr. Stanton is not just a batter, of course, he plays in the National League. He's a more than competent fielder. He's a good glove man, and can run well for a big man, he can chase down a fly ball, running a long ways to do it, provided he reads the ball right off the bat.
He's also a gifted thrower. In his earlier years he was averaging ten outfield assists a year, and that stat translates as runners gunned down from the outfield. The consensus in Major League Baseball is that 1. The Marlins have the best outfield in the Big Leagues, and 2. Stanton's defensive prowess is steadily improving. Generally speaking, he's still a young man after five seasons in the MLB, and scary though it may be, he's not in his prime years yet, and won't be this season either.
With Giancarlo Stanton, it's about his epic home runs.
2010 Bowman Chrome Baseball #198 Giancarlo (Mike) Stanton Rookie Card
Giancarlo Stanton and the epic home runs
Giancarlo Stanton hits amazing home runs. He hits home runs that don't just clear the outfield fence, but travel so far past the fence that people can hardly believe what they just saw with their own two eyes. He hits the kind of home runs that Canseco and McGwire became famous for hitting, but Giancarlo proves you don't need steroids to do that. Canseco, McGwire, those guys didn't need those steroids either, but they probably didn't realize that then. Maybe they do now.
What was official long ago, maybe still, was that Mickey Mantle hit the longest home run ever. The distance was over 560 feet, but everyone now knows the ball was crudely measured. It doesn't matter if Mantle could hit a ball that far, or not. People hit balls that travel 500 feet. It happens, but mostly not during games. Also, there is typically some stadium out there that prevents a ball from ever finishing its arc of travel. So you're always left to speculate how far the thing would have went were it not for the damned restaurant the ball hit, or the sixth level of Skydome deck, or whatnot.
There are many other players in Major League Baseball who are bigger or stronger, or at least the equals of Giancarlo Stanton. Who can ever say who is stronger than who, really? Stronger how, exactly, is always the question. Nelson Cruz, at one time, was thought to be the strongest player in baseball. He was busted for performance enhancing drugs, and then he came back as a better player than he had been before, but that's back to the 'you don't need those drugs' bit.
Bo Jackson will be a legend in baseball for a long time to come. Bo knows long home runs, he's not forgotten them. We love the stories, we people who read or write such things as this page. So here's a list of the longest home runs from 2015. Yep, Giancarlo Stanton won the tale of the tape last year in home run distance. Thing always is, you first have to hit the ball, it only matters how big and strong you are, and how wonderfully mechanical your swing is after you've first hit the ball. Stanton has a short and compact swing. Maybe Joey Gallo can pick up some swing tips from Stanton.
Giancarlo Stanton, epic strength and an epic swing.
What next for Giancarlo Stanton?
Giancarlo Stanton has only led the National League in home runs one time, and that was with only 37 home runs that year. Yes, the National League is where the best pitchers hang out, it is in the American League where the sluggers usually are. In 2015, Stanton was on a clip or pace to hit more than 50 home runs, then an injury happened.
Home runs aren't everything, but they are definitely what Stanton is going to forever be known for, and remembered by. Thing is, baseball is complicated, and now more than ever, there are new and better statistics, or units of measure for a player's performance. Slugging percentage was forever under-rated, at least it used to be. Nowadays slugging percentage combined with on base percentage are thought to be the truest measure of a player's offensive worth. Stanton led the National League in slugging percentage twice, in 2012, and in 2014. He may or may not have beat out Bryce Harper in 2015, we'll never know, as Stanton didn't get enough at bates or plate appearances to qualify.
Then, there is wins above replacement. This measure, or statistic - is rather mystical, in my opinion. The combined one base percentage plus slugging percentage is the best offensive measure, in my opinion; but the wins above replacement is more of a total measure, taking fielding into account.
So Stanton has 181 home runs, and he's only 26 years of age. He's the highest paid professional athlete in world history to date. What can we expect from him in 2016? He's paid to give us the performance of a lifetime, for the fans, it is all for the fans, without them, baseball makes nothing in the dollars department. Count on Stanton and his epic home runs to pack the seats, and park butts in front of the tv when the game time has come. Thanks for reading.