It's been well established that Giancarlo Stanton can hit home runs. But when you dig into the numbers, his homer proficiency stands up against some of the game's all-time greats.Consider this: Of the three players to reach 700 career home runs -- Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth --
It's been well established that Giancarlo Stanton can hit home runs. But when you dig into the numbers, his homer proficiency stands up against some of the game's all-time greats.
Consider this: Of the three players to reach 700 career home runs -- Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth -- Hammerin' Hank connected on the most four-baggers through an age-25 season (179). Bonds had 117, while Ruth -- hampered by starting in the dead-ball era and beginning his career as a pitcher -- collected 103.
Stanton -- with 181 -- has amassed more home runs through his age-25 season than any of the members of the 700-homer club. But it's not just Ruth, Aaron and Bonds who look up to Stanton when it comes to long-ball tallies through this particular age-season. Throughout baseball history, just 10 players have hit more, and all but two of those 10 went on to hit at least 500 roundtrippers.
When it comes to Stanton and his chances to someday join the special home runs clubs, the Marlins slugger seems like a virtual lock. There are seven players ever to hit at least 200 homers through their respective age-25 seasons, and all seven have hit at least 500 homers.
Beginning and ending with active players (Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols), the list all also includes Eddie Mathews, Jimmie Foxx, Mel Ott, Mickey Mantle and Frank Robinson. Orlando Cepeda -- with 191 -- appears as the first player among the 10 ahead of Stanton to fail to get to 500, as the Baby Bull's last big fly was his 379th. Following Cepeda, Ken Griffey, Jr. shows up, with 189 paving the way to an eventual tally of 630. And finally, Andruw Jones -- with 185 -- stands as the last player to accumulate more than Stanton. Jones finished with 434 homers.
Of the 10 players to surpass Stanton's 181 through age 25, that collection -- consisting of eight members in the 500-homer club -- averages 537 homers per career.
As for the 600-homer club, there is a bit more variety. The five members of that group (Rodriguez, Griffey, Willie Mays, Sammy Sosa and Jim Thome) averaged 154 homers through their age-25 seasons, with the range extending from Rodriguez's high of 241 down to Thome's low of 93.
But there are other ways to look at Stanton from the specific lens focusing on the 27 members of the 500-homer club. Let's take a look at how the Marlins' outfielder fits within that illustrious clique, when it comes to other numbers through each member's age-25 season.
• Stanton's .547 slugging percentage ranks 14th, in between the slugging percentages authored by Willie McCovey and Manny Ramirez.
• In OPS, Stanton's .909 mark ranks 17th, in between McCovey and Harmon Killebrew.
• In OPS+, Stanton and his 145 ranks 15th, in between figures posted by Robinson and Rodriguez/Thome.
• In games-to-homers ratio, Stanton and his 3.91 ranks first -- ahead of Pujols, Rodriguez, Mathews, Mark McGwire and Mays.
In other words, through his age-25 season, Stanton has homered at a greater pace (games-wise) than any member of the 500-homer club did through his age-25 season.
As fans know, Stanton's overall total has been hindered by a variety of injuries, a couple of which are of the fluke variety, including getting hit in the face by a pitch, which forced him to miss the last three weeks of the 2014 season.
Stanton -- whose career high in long balls is 37 (achieved twice) -- has averaged 30 homers per year. A continuation of that average would give him 301 roundtrippers at the end of his age-29 season. Thirteen players have reached that mark -- 300 through an age-29 campaign -- with nine of the 13 going on to eventually connect for a 500th. The closest numerical comp to that potential tally of 301 comes from the bat of Killebrew, who had 297 through his age-29 season and finished with 573. For his career, Killebrew produced eight seasons of at least 40 homers, tying for the second most all time (behind Ruth's 11 and tied with Aaron, Bonds and Rodriguez).
Now, if Stanton can follow Killebrew's path and start to regularly reach 40 (from his age-26 through age-29 seasons, Killebrew hit 40 homers three times and averaged 42 per season), the 700-homer club might have to prepare for a new member.
**Roger Schlueter** is a columnist for MLB.com.