At age 24, Giancarlo Stanton already has 150 career home runs, and 33 this season, putting him in a three-man race against the White Sox's Jose Abreu (33) and the Orioles' Nelson Cruz (34). But there’s one thing in particular that sets Stanton apart: He doesn’t discriminate with his power.
All three hitters in the hunt for 2014’s home run crown have shown impressive pop, but Stanton’s consistent power to all parts of the field is what truly distinguishes him. Stanton has hit 10 of his homers to left, four to left-center, eight to center, eight to right-center and three to rightfield. He’s shown significant power to all areas of the ballpark, drilling round-trippers into every corner of the stadium.
Contrast that to Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, who thrives almost exclusively when pulling the ball. He’s smacked 24 home runs, exclusively to left or left-center.
Granted, Bautista is an extreme case: Ninety-five percent of his home runs have been pulled to leftfield as a right-handed hitter.
So what about when Stanton is pitted against his 30-plus-homer brethren? Abreu, the 27-year-old Cuban, has hit 12 homers to left, four to left-center, nine to center, and only seven total to right-center and right. The MLB rookie has racked up an impressive total of home runs to the bleachers straightaway from home plate. However, his home run total to the opposite field (7) doesn’t stack up to Stanton's (11). The same narrative plays out with Cruz: Seven opposite-field home runs compared to 24 hit to all other parts of the field. What’s more, Stanton’s raw power is virtually unrivaled by anyone else in the Majors. Five of his long balls have traveled 450 feet or more, including this 484-foot blast against the Padres on Apr. 3.
Cruz hasn’t hit any such moonshots. Of Abreu’s 31 home runs, only one traveled at least 450 feet.
On top of those numbers, the 6-6, 240-pound Stanton is significantly younger than the other guys in the hunt for the 2014 home run crown; he is three years younger than Abreu and a decade younger than Cruz. Even 23-year-old Los Angeles Angels phenom Mike Trout hasn't displayed the same opposite-field strength as Stanton this year. Of his 29 home runs, only four have been hit to the opposite field.
Stanton has established himself as arguably the best home run hitter in the game, and he has yet to hit his prime. And if you're an opposing pitcher in the National League, that’s a terrifying thought.