Giancarlo Stanton's Marlins fell 9-5 to the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night, but the hulking Miami right fielder was still the star of the game. The two home runs Stanton clubbed off Brewers starter Marco Estrada traveled a combined 907 feet. The first and longest was this majestic blast hit just to the right of the equally majestic Marlins Park dinger machine:
According to ESPN's Home Run Tracker, the above home run traveled 463 feet, the third-longest of Stanton's 2014 season. It should come as little surprise, then, that Stanton owns the league's longest average home run at 429.9 feet. And it should be no surprise that the longest home run of the season has come off Stanton's bat, a 484-foot shot against the Padres on April 4:
Stanton has been launching baseballs into the deepest corners of major league ballparks since arriving with the Marlins in 2010. Even though Stanton didn't get the call until June of his rookie year, he ranks sixth in the majors with 131 home runs since 2010, behind Jose Bautista, Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols, Adam Dunn and Adrian Beltre. Limit it just to the 450-plus-foot moonshots like Friday's, however, and Stanton jumps to the top of the list.
Stanton has hit four of those 22 450-foot blasts this year. Only 16 other hitters have even hit one 450-foot home run this year, and only two others -- Mike Morse and Justin Upton, both hulking figures themselves -- have two.
But perhaps the most impressive aspect of Stanton's power display in 2014 has been his ability to use center and right field like a left-handed slugger might. Many of Stanton's most memorable blasts from his first four seasons were pulled near the left field foul pole, like his 462-foot scoreboard-busting homer off Jamie Moyer in May 2012.
But Stanton's power up the middle and to right field is comparable to some of the game's strongest left-handed sluggers. Stanton is just one of eight hitters with five left-handed home runs to right-center or right field since 2010:
The other seven hitters on the chart above are all left-handed. Few hitters have the strength necessary to wait back and drive pitches on the outer half of the plate like Stanton does, as he showed on this 452-foot shot off Mike Minor in 2013:
This season has seen Stanton use the opposite field far more often. Seven of Stanton's 14 home runs have been right of center, and five of those seven have been hit at least 400 feet. Stanton has already done as much damage to the opposite field in the first two months of 2014 as he typically does in a full season:
At Marlins Park, where a 335-foot right-field fence quickly juts out to a 392-foot right-center power alley, Stanton doesn't get too many chances for cheap opposite field home runs. His home runs to the Marlins Park right field usually leave on a line, like this one off Dodgers pitcher Scott Elbert on May 4:
For the first time in the last three years, Stanton has gotten through the season's first two months without any injury issues. In 2013, Stanton missed 36 games with a right hamstring strain, and the year before he dealt with knee issues throughout training camp and eventually underwent surgery to remove loose bodies from the joint. This year, Stanton has yet to even be listed as day-to-day according to Baseball Prospectus's injury listings.
Fully healthy, Giancarlo Stanton is proving what anybody paying attention already suspected after his first four years in the league. He is the game's premier power hitter, and at only 24 years old, we can only imagine what he will do with the time left ahead of him.
All statistics in this article as of the beginning of play Saturday. Home run data from HitTrackerOnline.com, an ESPN Stats and Info site.