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  • E.J. Fagan

Hall of Famer Giancarlo Stanton?

by EJ Fagan

April 13, 2023

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NOTE: The following comes from EJ Fagan's substack page and is shared with permission.

Please check out EJ's substack page for more great articles.

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Giancarlo Stanton has had a scorching start to the season. My preseason prediction that he wouldn’t bounce back from a down 2022 isn’t looking great right now, and I couldn’t be happier.


Even on a team captained by Aaron Judge, a Giancarlo Stanton home run just feels different.


We haven’t had Statcast for much of baseball history. During the Statcast era, Stanton is the undisputed king of hitting the ball hard:

His flat, late swing is incredible when it works, but it hasn’t worked so much late in his career. Stanton has hit .255/.340/.501 as a Yankee, now beginning his sixth season. That batting line combined with a spotty injury history and weak defensive contributions make Stanton much less valuable than the sound of the ball off his bat would suggest. He’s sitting at 45 bWAR for his career right now, well outside of deserving a spot in the Hall. He has only been worth about 2.2 bWAR per non-pandemic season as a Yankee.


Let’s say that Stanton retires at the end of his current contract in 2027. Let’s also say that he needs to break 60 bWAR to make the Hall of Fame. Stanton would need to average about 3.0 bWAR/season to break that threshold. That’s tough. Stanton’s best hitting season as a Yankee was probably 2021, when he hit .274/.354/.516 in 139 games, and he was only worth 3.1 bWAR. His 2022 season was barely above replacement level. He’s getting older. He’ll probably lose one or more seasons to a serious injury. I wouldn’t bet on Stanton making the Hall of Fame on a slow and steady pace.


But I think there’ some hope. While he is still relatively young, Stanton could still have a big season in him. His (super-freaking-early) Statcast percentile plot is beautiful:


Who is this guy, Aaron Judge? There’s a lot of fun in this figure, but I’m most impressed by the strikeout rate. Stanton has a 11.8% strikeout rate through 9 games, in the 90th percentile for the league. 2022 was a bit of a strikeout disaster year for the big guy, with his rate inching above 30%. If Stanton can make the adjustment, stay healthy can get down to an average or better strikeout rate, he could get his batting average back to above-average levels. I don’t think that a 90+% xwOBA is out of the question. If he hits, say, .280/.350/.550 on the season while playing a decent amount in right field, Stanton could bank 5.0 bWAR 2023. Only Yordan Alvarez has been a better DH than that in recent years.


That kind of performance would be pretty incredible for the 2023 Yankees, but I think it would also make a HOF push realistic. Stanton would only need to average 2.5 bWAR over his remaining seasons to hit 60 bWAR. Add in a little bit of a boost from being The Hardest Hitter Ever, and I think he could sneak his way in.



4 Comments


Mike Whiteman
Apr 14, 2023

If Stanton can get to 500 home runs (he has 381 now), there has yet to be an eligible “clean” player at that level who was denied the HOF.

If he’s a guy who “hangs on“ way past his prime he could get there.

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Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
Apr 14, 2023

If you look at Similarity Scores, the ones over 890 are, in order, Ralph Kiner, Daryl Strawberry, Ryan Howard and Jay Buhner, one marginal Hall of Famer and three Hall of the Very Good. However, the fact that the highest comp. comes in at 910.3, that tells you Stanton is a unique talent. But Kiner's last year was age 32, Darryl played 100 games exactly once after age 29, Howard had -4.8 WAR from age 32 to 36, and Buhner played 100 games once after age 32. Basically, *if* Stanton can stay healthy, he *could* put up some HoF numbers, but the odds are very much against him.

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Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
Apr 13, 2023

The great players who he is similar to who reached the HOF had very productive 30's.


He would need to go on quite a run to get there, I believe.


I hope he does, but I'm not confident that he will.

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fuster
Apr 13, 2023

gotta get that on-base percentage up


he's impressive as all get-out when he clubs the ball.... but the OBP needs a good goosing

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