Black MLB Players #27: Giancarlo Stanton
Background + Path to Professional Baseball
Giancarlo Stanton is a thirty-one-year-old outfielder/designated hitter that plays for the New York Yankees. Stanton grew up in the Greater Los Angeles area and was drafted straight out of high school by the Florida Marlins in the 2nd round of the 2007 MLB Draft. At Sherman Oaks High School Stanton was a very successful multi-sport athlete in high school, receiving full scholarship offers to play tight end at USC, UNLV, and UCLA in addition to a commitment to Tulane’s baseball program.
After agreeing to his professional contract and receiving a $475,000 signing bonus, Stanton’s professional career began in 2007 with a quick 17 games in the complex leagues. The next year, he played his first full season of professional baseball for the Florida Marlis A-Ball affiliate in the South Atlantic League, putting up a .293/.381/.611 slash line with 39 home runs in 125 games at eighteen years old. With a wRC+ of 169, he was almost twice as good offensively when compared to the average player in the South Atlantic League.
In 2009, the slugger from Los Angeles played 50 games for the Marlins’ High-A affiliate, where he put up a 178 wRC+ on a .294/.390/.578 slash line. Florida promoted Stanton to their Double-A affiliate during the 2009 MiLB season, where he was the youngest player in all of Double-A at nineteen years old. Stanton putting up a 111 wRC+ while being five years younger than the average player and only in his second year of professional baseball is remarkable, as his MiLB career numbers show he was the best teenage baseball player on the planet during his brief time climbing the ladder to the major leagues.
After another fifty games at Double-A to begin the 2010 season, Giancarlo Stanton was called up to the big leagues and made his MLB debut on June 8th, 2010 versus Philadelphia. In 100 games Stanton put up a .259/.326/.507 line with 22 home runs at the age of 20 years old but somehow did not receive a single vote for NL Rookie of the Year. In my opinion, it is definitely one of the worst omissions the BBWAA has made during the 21st century in my opinion.
Since making his MLB debut in 2010 Giancarlo Stanton is 13th amongst hitters in fWAR, 3rd in home runs, and 8th in wRC+. He won the 2017 National League MVP Award, leading all of baseball with 59 home runs. He’s been an All-Star four times and has won two Silver Sluggers. The only thing that has hindered Stanton from reaching his true potential year in and year out is injuries, as he has missed significant time throughout his career. On a per-rate basis, when Giancarlo Stanton is in the batter’s box, he’s one of the best baseball players on the planet.
Giancarlo Stanton is 6'6'’, 245 pounds, throws, and bats right-handed. Stanton is a hulking individual, built like a professional NFL player with the athleticism to boot. He uses a simple right-handed swing from a very open stance. Stanton has prodigious bat speed, and the various numbers point to him as the position player with the most raw power in all of Major League Baseball. Stanton strikes out at a 28% clip for his career but balances this out with an 11.5% career walk rate.
Stanton’s approach at the plate is centered around pulling the ball and going up the middle, in addition to trying to lift and drive the ball as frequently as possible. Stanton’s career hard-hit rate is over 40%, which emphasizes how dangerous he is as a hitter due to his fly ball-oriented approach. His career home run to fly ball ratio(HR/FB) is 26%, which is absolutely absurd on a per rate basis when looking at the fact that he hits flyballs almost 40% of the time.
Stanton is a ginormous human being with various injury issues, so he is not Rickey Henderson in any way, shape, or form. While Stanton was an above-average defensive rightfielder when he was younger, injuries and muscle mass gains have slowed the slugger down. At this point, Stanton is strictly a designated hitter that can moonlight in a corner outfield spot for you in a pinch or two.