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HR Derby Debate: Hamilton vs. Stanton

Who would win in a one-on-one HR Derby: Josh Hamilton or Giancarlo Stanton?

I’ll be honest. When I first approached this debate, my gut was telling me to go with Giancarlo Stanton. He’s young, has insane power at the plate and is garnering some major attention in the midst of his third Major League season. Ask anyone (scoreboards included) Stanton is on his way to becoming one of the most feared hitters in the league and he hasn’t even celebrated his 23rd birthday yet.

Stanton made his Major League debut on June 8, 2010, missing almost ten weeks of the season while still managing to hit 22 homers during his rookie year. In 2011, he held onto that freshman bump by tallying 34 homers and it doesn’t look like the right fielder has plans to slow down anytime soon. He already has 12 homers this season, six of them coming during a nine-game stretch at the end of April, a fete that was followed closely by a jaw-dropping walk-off grand slam against the Mets.

Yes, Giancarlo Stanton is good and will no doubt continue to boast impressive numbers for years to come. But there’s a certain player who has a few more years and home runs under his belt and is hands down the first choice when selecting a slugger for a one-on-one Home Run Derby.

It is impossible to compare Stanton’s road to the big leagues with Josh Hamilton’s, it just doesn’t compute. Hamilton made his debut in 2007 when he was 25 years old, notching 19 home runs for the Cincinnati Reds. In 2008, he added to the old folklore that things really are bigger in Texas when he moved over to the American League and posted 32 homers and earned his first All-Star selection. In fact, it was that All-Star game that proved the slugger really is on another planet when it comes to blasting home runs out of the park. He launched 28 homers in the first round of the 2008 Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium, leaving players, coaches and fans around the world with their mouths hanging wide open. He ultimately lost the title to Justin Morneau, but his performance is what everyone remembers. That night belonged to him, even without the hardware.

This year, he’s on the path to break big numbers. With 20 home runs already on the board, Hamilton made history with a four-home run night – a rare fete that has only been accomplished by 16 people in baseball history. That game helped add to his numbers in a big way, ending the streak with nine homers in six games. And this weekend he showcased his consistency and strength by notching back-to-back home runs on Friday and Saturday night, the latter a walk-off in the 13th that gave the Rangers the win and sent Hamilton in for an IV and oxygen after the game. Dealing with a major head cold, he told reporters after the game that he had been ‘seeing stars since the fifth inning’ but chose to play anyway. He’s the real deal and at this pace, it’s easy to see him quickly passing 50 home runs this season. The hunt is on, my friends.

Who would you choose? Tweet me (@LindsayGuentzel) and let me know your choice: Hamilton or Stanton.