Giancarlo Stanton has missed significant playing time since his MLB debut in 2010 and has never played more than 150 games of a 162-game season (145 and 123 games being his next two highest totals). In spite of his injury-shortened seasons, Stanton has still been among the league home-run leaders in 2011, 2012, and 2014 (his 150, 123, and 145-game seasons, respectively).
|Season||Games||PA||HR||HR MLB Rank||Injury Report|
|2011||150||601||34||9||Hamstring issues limited time|
|2012||123||501||37||7||15-day DL: Arthroscopic knee surgery|
|2013||116||504||24||T-31||15-day DL: Strained right hamstring|
|2014*||145||638||37||2||Season-ending facial fracture|
|2015||74||318||27||T-25||15-day DL: Season-ending hamate (hand) fracture|
|2016||119||470||27||48||15-day DL: Strained left groin|
|8||Ken Griffey, Jr.||238|
Given Stanton’s injury-plagued career, his career home-run numbers are a lower bound on what he may have accomplished had he played full, injury-free seasons following his debut. To quantify how Stanton’s injuries have suppressed Stanton’s career power numbers thus far, I extrapolated the home-run totals of Stanton’s injury-shortened seasons into full-season hypothetical home-run totals (hHR) using the formula below:
hHR = FLOOR(HR/G * 162)
The formula simply assumes that Stanton maintains his HR/G rate through a whole 162-game season and then conservatively rounds down. We can now compare home-run totals between the real Giancarlo Stanton and our hypothetical Giancarlo Stanton. I excluded his 2010 debut from the extrapolation.
|Season||Games||HR||HR MLB Rank||hGames||hHR||hHR MLB Rank|
The real Stanton never led the MLB in home runs, but our hypothetical Stanton climbs into the MLB lead in three of his hypothetical seasons (2012, 2014, and 2015).
Career-wise, our hypothetical Stanton would have hit 275 total home runs. This hypothetical Stanton adds 67 home runs to his real total, jumping from 16th to second place on the Age-26 leaderboard, only 23 home runs behind the far-away leader, Alex Rodriguez.
|2||Giancarlo Stanton (hypothetical)||275|
|9||Ken Griffey, Jr.||238|
|17||Giancarlo Stanton (real)||208|
Of note, using the same formula to calculate Stanton’s career strikeout totals predicts a whopping 1271 strikeouts for our hypothetical Stanton. His 977 strikeout “real” total through age 26 (second-highest) balloons and surpasses Justin Upton’s age-26-leading 1026 for a clear command of first place.
In reality, Stanton is a three-time All-Star, a Silver Slugger (2014), and a Home Run Derby champion (2016), and he historically ranks among the best in home-run totals for his age, all while facing injury issues in all of his first six full big-league seasons. Our hypothetically-healthy Giancarlo Stanton greatly improves his career numbers and garners himself a few MLB home-run crowns, giving a glimpse into how much larger his career numbers could be today had his first six full seasons been injury-free. As Stanton’s career progresses, it will be interesting to see where his home-run totals end up, and, unfortunately, how much greater they could have been.
Credit to Baseball-Reference for all publicly available data.