Leader Watch: Stanton on pace for 60-HR '17

Marlins slugger sets new club record with 43rd dinger Monday

August 15th, 2017

If the current day of the week ends with the letter "Y," has probably hit a home run.

On track to post his healthiest season since 2014, the baseball world is finally getting to see what Stanton can do over a full campaign in his prime. The Marlins' slugger hit yet another dinger Monday night -- his 10th in his past 11 games and 22nd in his last 34 -- while also setting a Marlins franchise record with his 43rd home run of the season in Miami's 8-3 win over the Giants. A year whose narrative was initially dominated by Yankees phenom has now firmly switched to Stanton, thanks to the dizzying dinger pace he's setting.

In fact, with just under seven weeks left in the regular season, we should be more focusing on Stanton's pursuit of something bigger than the season's home run crown. Stanton's closest competitor in this year's race is Judge with 36 round-trippers, but the struggling rookie has hit only six since the All-Star break. Instead, a mythical 60-homer season -- a feat accomplished only eight times before by five different players -- is now officially in play for Stanton.

Don't believe us? Let's check the numbers.

First, Stanton's homer on Monday -- a two-run blast with a 95.1-mph exit velocity that marked his "softest" home run ever tracked by Statcast™ -- gave him 43 for the season in 495 plate appearances. Stanton has averaged 4.3 plate appearances per game this season, meaning he would finish with approximately 689 plate appearances in 2017 if he were to play in each of the Marlins' 45 remaining games on the schedule.

So if one takes the 11.51 plate appearance-per-home run pace Stanton has set this season and applies it to those last 45 games on the calendar, in which he would have a projected 194 plate appearances to work with, Stanton would finish with exactly 60 home runs. And remember, Stanton has been much hotter of late, averaging 6.8 plate appearances per home run over this white-hot 34-game stretch.

Beyond Stanton's personal pace, it's instructive to look at his potential contemporaries in the 60-homer club and where they were at this point. Here's a look at each of the previous five sluggers' best home run totals through the first 115 games of their historic 60-plus homer seasons:

Barry Bonds (2001): 54

Mark McGwire (1998 and '99): 47

Sammy Sosa (1998): 46

Roger Maris (1961): 44

Stanton (2017): 43

Babe Ruth (1927): 39

A few things jump out from this list. First and foremost is that Bonds' 2001 season is an outlier we may never see again, even from hitters as hot as Stanton right now. Second is an appreciation for Ruth's final stretch, in which he clobbered 20 round-trippers over his final 33 games in 1927 to top his previous single-season record by one. That was one of the most famous home run stretches in history, but we can definitively say Stanton is hotter than that right now.

Most importantly, the list informs us that 60 homers are well within reach for the big man in Miami; he's on a similar pace as the legends who came before him. This year's home run crown is becoming more and more a formality with each of Stanton's mighty swings. Something greater may already be in the works.