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Can Mike Stanton hit 40 homers in his first full season?

Jan 10, 2011, 10:22 AM EDT

mike-stanton

Mike Stanton hit 43 homers between the minors and majors last season, including 22 long balls in 100 games with the Marlins following his call-up in mid-June, which has Joe Frisaro of MLB.com wondering if he can break the franchise record for homers in his first full season.

Gary Sheffield owns that mark with 42 homers in 1996 and no other Marlins hitter has homered even 35 times in a season, so Stanton doing age 21 what only one other player in only one other season could do during the team’s 18-year history seems pretty unlikely regardless of his immense power potential.

Looking beyond the Marlins, here’s a list of the most homers by a 21-year-old in baseball history:

Eddie Mathews       47     1953
Albert Pujols       37     2001
Hal Trosky          35     1934
Miguel Cabrera      35     2004
Jose Canseco        33     1986
Bob Horner          33     1979
Jimmie Foxx         33     1929
Andruw Jones        31     1998
Ruben Sierra        30     1987

Of all the great young sluggers in baseball history Eddie Mathews is the only one to smack 40-plus homers as a 21-year-old, and Mathews and Albert Pujols are the only ones to top 35 long balls at age 21. Stanton definitely has the ability to join them in 2011, but Marlins fans shouldn’t be disappointed if he manages “only” 30 homers in his first full season.

  1. Old Gator - Jan 10, 2011 at 11:53 AM

    At this point, Feesh fans should be more concerned about the Iron Giant’s AB-killer golf swing. The worst thing that could happen would be if he became a Dave Kingman style all or nothing 40-plus homer guy with a .235 BA and walk totals you could tally on your fingers. There will already be a lot of pressure on the big kid this season to fill the hole left by Scrooge McLoria’s salary dumping of Dan Uggla as it is.

    No one denies how strong the Giant is, but this particular Piscaphiliac would be happy with 25 homers out of him along with a more disciplined, carefully defined hitting zone that results in fewer chased pitches into the irridium layer or low earth orbit, more runners advanced, more base hits and more walks – more productive at-bats in general.

    • JBerardi - Jan 10, 2011 at 3:10 PM

      He’s always had really high K rates, and that’s not something that tends to change dramatically for guys. On the other hand, he’s also had good walk rates, and that’s a workable combination. Some approximation of Adam Dunn’s numbers seems likely to me.

      • Old Gator - Jan 10, 2011 at 3:44 PM

        If he were 25 or so and had four years under his belt I’d probably agree that he was more or less as good as he was going to get. But we watched Derrek Lee have two terrible attempted break-in seasons until he got his swing straightened out. The Iron Giant is still young enough that a good batting coach and a desire to get his swing under control could make some significant changes possible.

  2. bigtrav425 - Jan 10, 2011 at 12:02 PM

    If he is a overall good hitter then yes i think he can..if he is just a average hitter then prolly not…unless like mentioned above he turns into dave kingman

  3. apbaguy - Jan 10, 2011 at 12:07 PM

    There you go again, trying to impose your Beane-like dreams on the obviously unsuited. What’re you trying to do, turn the poor kid into…the non-Jack Cust? Seriously, chicks dig the long ball. So do GM’s. .250, 32 HR’s. 125 K’s, 56 BB’s. Not bad for 21.

    • Old Gator - Jan 10, 2011 at 12:15 PM

      Great. Where’d they finish?

      Speaking of chicks loving the long ball, I once met Jacques Derrida at a party at Cornell. I was pretty well marinated myself so when we were introduced I asked him why he couldn’t just write simple lucid sentences instead of indulging in all those rhetorical pyrotechnics. He laughed and replied that he wrote that way because women loved it. Really.

  4. summerof67 - Jan 10, 2011 at 12:50 PM

    Not to forget – in 1965, Tony Conigliaro, age 20, led the American League in home runs with 32.

  5. apbaguy - Jan 10, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    Ok, last I heard, Phenomenology v. Structuralism did not have the same impact on females as did a Bon Jovi concert ca. 1987 or a long HR by a 24 year old millionaire. But maybe it worked for Jacques, because he could work it, with the French North African accent and all.

    You should try it, next time you’re in downtown Macondo, using your best Pepe le Pew:
    “Halo, bebee, let me tell you why deconstruction ees so a misnomer”.

    • Old Gator - Jan 10, 2011 at 3:41 PM

      I should add that Jacques was about 5’5″ tall or some such thing – I was definitely looking down at him, neurochemically derailed or not – and he was smoking a cigar that was bigger than his head. This was a man who understood how to overcompensate. And yeah, he had that French-Algerian thing working smoothly in his patois. And yeah, he was surrounded by adoring coeds. But it was Cornell in the late 70s. Very minor outbreaks of acne had already driven all the good looking ones into the gorge.

  6. Jonny 5 - Jan 10, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    He could. But would he be disrespecting Sheffield by doing so? I can think of one guy who’d think that.

  7. Panda Claus - Jan 10, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    Forty-seven homers in the not-so-lively era of 1953? Clearly this provides support to the “Eddie Mathews was a juicer” accusers. Is Jeff Pearlman aware of this list?

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