Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton is finally living up to his monster contract. He is currently batting .296 while blasting 50 home runs and driving in 108 runs, and in most people’s opinion (including mine) is the front-runner to be crowned NL MVP. He has multiple goals this season, one of them being taking the Marlins to the playoffs, as they are only 4.5 games out of the Wild Card (one of the reasons I love the second wild card spot, because everybody has a chance it feels like). Another goal, one that has created a lot of buzz, is his journey to 62 home runs. This would allow him to beat Roger Maris’ “record”, set in 1961. The reason “record” is in italics because players like Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Mark McGwire have all surpassed that amount, but while under the accusation of steroid use. Therefore, baseball fans feel that the organic record for home runs in a season stands at 61. While it is a very touchy subject, and one I would love to discuss with readers in the future, it’s not what I’m here to discuss.
I am here to say that Giancarlo Stanton will not only reach the iconic 62 home runs this year, but he will not be the last. Stanton is going to be a pioneer of a new era of home run hitting.
Stanton, Cody Bellinger, Aaron Judge, Joey Gallo, etc, and power hitters to come are paving the way for an era of baseball that highlights the “All or Nothing” Period. Home runs are king, and if you can produce them, striking out a lot isn’t exactly a problem.
There have been players like this in the past (ie: Mark Reynolds or Mark Trumbo) who dominated the HR category of the statsheet and struck out with heavy consistency, but they were usually journeymen who never really reached annual All-Star status. In 2017 and beyond, shortstops are hitting 30 home runs a year with consistency, players who hit for average (ie: Altuve) are hitting 25+ home runs per year. In baseball, that’s just not supposed to happen. Now, as I’ve said before on BTB, power is everything. Those journeymen of the past are middle of the lineup hitters in the present. Nelson Cruz is one of the best hitters in baseball, and at one point he fell into that category (not this year considering he is over .290).
Baseball is changing is a way that some honest baseball fans may not like. Small ball is a lost art. With the talent that the MLB currently has, we will not have to wait very long to see another player surpass the iconic 61.