Speculation surrounding a Giancarlo Stanton trade picked up on Monday when MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported that the slugger's representatives have given the Marlins a list of acceptable teams. While we don't know the full list of teams, we know that the Cardinals and Giants have made formal offers, that the Dodgers may be his preference, and that the power-needy Red Sox pop up in most rumors.
It's not unfathomable that on Opening Day 2018, Stanton will be calling Busch Stadium or Dodger Stadium home instead of Marlins Park, and that leads to an important question.
How many home runs would Stanton have hit in my team's park? You can hear fans of every club thinking. What would it look like if he was taking aim at the short distance of Fenway Park's Green Monster? Or if he didn't have to deal with the deep power alleys of Marlins Park?
As if the 59 homers Stanton actually hit in 2017 weren't enough, it's easy to dream of a more favorable park offering him the chance to approach 70.
They're good questions. We know park factors matter, and Marlins Park is considered to be something of a pitchers' park, enough so that the Marlins decided to bring the fences in prior to the 2016 season. But Stanton actually hit for more power at home in 2017, hitting 31 homers with a .673 slugging percentage in Miami as opposed to 28 homers and a .595 slugging on the road. And we also know that he hits the ball so far that most of his homers would be gone in any park; of the 455 batters with at least 25 liners or flies, his average batted-ball distance of 318 feet was third.
But most important, we know that the way we've tried to answer this question in the past -- with a top-down 2D view of landing spots -- was imperfect, because it doesn't account for wall height. (Surely, it matters that the Green Monster is 37 feet tall, while down the left-field line in Dodger Stadium, the wall is just four feet tall.) That matters, because we know that Stanton hits some low lasers; of the 74 players with at least 25 homers, he was essentially tied for the third-lowest launch angle.
Instead, let's use Statcast™ and try something new. We know how high the walls are, and we know the trajectory of the ball. Let's consider the 55 batted balls of at least 300 feet of projected distance (i.e., potential homers) that Stanton hit in Miami in 2017 and take a 3D look at what might have actually happened in four potential new homes, compared to what happened at Marlins Park.
We'll mark each batted ball in one of three ways:
No change: The outcome wouldn't be different.
Likely: The outcome probably would be different, but with enough uncertainty that it could go either way.
No doubt: The outcome would have changed, almost certainly.
So how might our four most likely destinations have changed Stanton's 2017 stat line?
Fenway Park, Boston
This is the most interesting one, simply because of the unique dimensions of Fenway Park. By our calculations, Stanton would have gained two to three home runs, and he would have lost, potentially, as many as five.
A few of these are exactly in the way you'd expect. Stanton's 56th homer of the year, off Erik Goeddel of the Mets, was hit at a launch angle of just 17 degrees, his second-lowest dinger of 2017. It's pretty easy to see this banging off the Monster in Fenway, and he hit two others just like it.
While we always focus on the Green Monster, it's interesting to see Stanton would potentially lose some in right field, too. The Pesky Pole is a mere 312 feet away, but the wall quickly angles back to 380 feet deep in right field and 420 in the center-field triangle. In Miami, the foul pole is 335 feet away, creating a small zone where Fenway is deeper.
That being the case, this late-season home run against A.J. Cole, hit at a projected 357 feet, may have stayed in the yard in Fenway.
Of course, there's two non-homers Stanton hit in Miami that would have almost certainly been homers in Boston, and a third that was likely. This one is probably the best example: In June, he hit the kind of easy fly ball you never, ever think about again. It had 6.6 seconds of hang time; it had a hit probability of just 27 percent; it was nonchalantly caught by Yoenis Cespedes. In Miami, it was an out. In Boston, thanks to the high 43 degree launch angle, it would likely sail over the Monster by 20 feet. Parks do matter.
AT&T Park, San Francisco
In San Francisco, Stanton might haved gained one or two, but lost two to three. It's iterestingly become the one place in baseball where the home run surge hasn't arrived, and while that's in some part due to the composition of the Giants' roster, it's also due to the fact that the ballpark on the water doesn't seem to be conducive to power. We'll admit upfront that we're just transferring Stanton's hits here, not adjusting for wind.
Still, "Triples Alley" in right-center field, 421 feet away with a 25 foot fence, might cost Stanton a home run or two. This June home run off Jacob Turner was projected at 398 feet and just barely cleared the 392 sign on the fence in Miami; it's probably extra bases in San Francisco (it had a 95 percent hit probability), but almost certainly doesn't clear the fence.
As you can see, it's difficult to overstate the impact of the distance and height in that particular part of AT&T.
Stanton's 49th homer of the year, off San Diego's Travis Wood, was nearly identical to the one off of Turner, and likely isn't a home run in San Francisco either.
Still, the left-center wall in San Francisco is 15 feet closer and three feet shorter than it is in Miami, which means that instead of seeing this blast turn into a fantastic catch by Philadelphia outfielder Cameron Perkins, it's very likely a homer in San Francisco.
Busch Stadium, St. Louis
While Busch Stadium is among the more highly discussed destinations for Stanton, it's also one that has very little difference, since its dimensions are nearly identical to that of Marlins Park. The only slight difference is in right field, because while both parks are 335 feet to the pole, Marlins Park takes a straight path to right-center, while Busch's wall takes a slight step back first.
That means that the outcomes would be similar, with the only potential effect being that this June home run off Patrick Corbin might have stayed in the yard in St. Louis.
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
What if Stanton returned to his hometown team, the Dodgers? He might only lose one, while gaining one to three. The same situation exists in right field, where the slightly deeper Los Angeles fence may have cost him the same home run off of Corbin. But Stanton may have gained one to three homers in left-center field, where the Dodger Stadium fences are just eight feet high, while Miami's range from 14-20 feet tall.
The ball that Perkins caught is almost certainly out of the park here, and there's two others that are probable, including this jumping Denard Span catch, made with his back against the wall in August.
While we've focused on home runs at our four parks, that's the nature of how Stanton hits. Of the 55 batted balls of 300 feet or more at home, 31 left the park. Of the other 24, we touched on a few (the Perkins catch, the Span catch), but the rest, for the most part, are pretty typical outs anywhere. There's really just about no other of these types of balls that would be flipped anywhere else.
There are more factors than we've shown here, to be sure, like temperature or wind. Yet any probable trade, at least unless the Rockies get involved, isn't likely to turn Stanton from a .281 hitter with 59 homers to a .340 hitter with 65 homers. He is who he is -- and that's a hitter who already hits balls that most parks can't contain.