*This article was originally published on the Baseball Hot Corner.
Giancarlo Stanton is reportedly on the verge of signing a contract extension with the Miami Marlins, north of $300 million as the cornerstone of the franchise. When Stanton came up in 2010, under the first name Mike, he was known simply as a chiseled outfielder with mammoth power. In his first year in the big leagues, Stanton knocked 22 balls out of the park, but also struck out 34 percent of the time.
What truly shows Stanton’s progress as a hitter as he has matured, are his hit rates and finding a closer correlation to a 50:50 singles to extra base hits ratio.
*EXBH = Extra Base Hits
2010: 100 Games Played .259/.326/.507, 93 Hits, 22 Home Runs
2011: 150 Games Played .262/.356/.537, 135 Hits, 34 Home Runs
2012: 123 Games Played .290/.361/.608, 130 Hits, 37 Home Runs
2013: 116 Games Played .249/.365/.480, 106 Hits, 24 Home Runs
2014: 145 Games Played .288/.395/.555, 155 Hits, 37 Home Runs
5-Year Career: 634 Games Played .271/.364/.540, 619 Hits, 154 Home Runs
For his young career, Stanton is a 52:48 singles to extra base hits ratio hitter. In comparison, the closest to the goal of 50:50 in the top 10 all-time home run list is Barry Bonds at 51:49. Stanton’s ability to hit the long ball with ease, but add more singles to his repertoire this year, is making Stanton a truly great overall hitter.
Barry Bonds 1986-1990: 717 Games Played, 688 Hits, 117 Home Runs
Through their first five seasons in their careers, Bonds and Stanton stack up in different ways. Stanton has averaged 30.8 home runs per year, while Bonds only averaged 23.4, but was more of a gap-to-gap power hitter that used his speed to get doubles, triples, and stolen bases. Bonds also averaged 137.6 hits per year, while Stanton has only averaged 123.8. This is largely due to Stanton’s injury history, as Bonds played in 83 more games through his first five seasons.
If Stanton stays healthy, he is on his way to ungodly numbers. Just look at his 162-game average: .271/.364/.540 with 39 home runs, 102 RBI, 89 runs, and 158 hits. He is the young, raw phenom that is worth every penny to build a baseball team around, but will have that injury question hover over him until he can fully beat it.