The Next Giancarlo Stanton Has Arrived

Editor’s note: The FanGraphs Community Blog has received multiple submissions about Franmil Reyes lately, so we are running a pair together today. Here is the other. Happy Franmil day.

When you consider a power hitter like Giancarlo Stanton, it’s hard to think of any other player that can crush the ball the way he can outside of his teammate Aaron Judge. However, there appears to be a young slugger who resembles Stanton in many ways that everyone should be paying more attention to. This is a player who debuted in 2018, and is playing in his first full season in 2019. Meet Franmil Reyes, the 23-year-old Padres outfielder who has 15 home runs through his first 50 games this season. Obviously it’s pretty significant to compare any baseball player to Giancarlo Stanton, right? What’s awesome about this comparison specifically is that Reyes stacks up with Stanton in almost every statistical category from the 2018 season. Take a look at how their offensive numbers compare:

Giancarlo Stanton & Franmil Reyes, 2018
Name BB% K% ISO BABIP OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
Stanton 9.9 % 29.9 % 0.243 0.333 0.343 0.509 0.360 127
Reyes 8.4 % 28.1 % 0.218 0.345 0.340 0.498 0.360 129

As you can see above, Reyes and Stanton produced almost identically at the plate last season. Of course Stanton produced over the course of a full season, while Reyes played slightly more than half of a season’s worth of games (87). Nonetheless, the similarities between their statistical outputs are remarkable. When we get into the Statcast numbers from the 2018 campaign, the two sluggers once again compare pretty well:

Giancarlo Stanton & Franmil Reyes, 2018
Player Avg Exit Velo FB/LD Exit Velo GB Exit Velo
Stanton 93.7 mph 99.7 mph 91.4 mph
Reyes 92.3 mph 96.4 mph 90.1 mph

With this data, it’s clear that Reyes didn’t quite hit the ball as hard as Stanton. Despite their similarities statistically, Stanton definitely showed a better ability to crush the ball than Reyes did. We’re looking at the 2018 data because Stanton is currently hurt, but Reyes’ 2019 Statcast data has actually improved this season. Here’s how he’s performed in the same categories thus far:

Franmil Reyes 2019
Avg Exit Velo FB/LD Exit Velo GB Exit Velo
92.5 mph 97.3 mph 86.2 mph

Outside of his ground ball exit velocities, Reyes has started hitting the ball harder this season. Reyes is much younger than the 29-year-old Stanton, so there’s room for him to grow as a player moving forward. The current fly ball and line drive average exit velocities of Reyes in 2019 (97.3 mph) are almost identical to Stanton’s 2016 average on the same batted balls of 97.0 mph. Still, the issue of age difference remains. So let’s compare each of their first seasons in the big leagues. Here’s how they stack up:

Giancarlo Stanton & Franmil Reyes, First Seasons
Season Player Games PA ISO OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
2010 Stanton 100 396 0.248 0.326 0.507 0.356 118
2018 Reyes 87 285 0.218 0.340 0.498 0.360 129

It’s pretty impressive that Reyes produced offensively better than Stanton did during his rookie year in multiple categories, and shows how similar the two players can be. In most of the statistics above, Stanton and Reyes produced at roughly the same rate. What’s interesting is that Reyes has continued to improve, as illustrated by his 2019 Statcast data. Reyes has a barrel percentage of 17.9% in 2019, which ranks in the top 4% in baseball. MLB’s home run leader Christian Yelich is barreling balls at a 19.4% rate this season, to give you an idea of how well Reyes is performing. Stanton, by the way, had a 17.4% mark in 2017, the year he was named the NL MVP.

While his average exit velocities don’t quite compare with Stanton’s, Reyes has actually been better than the Yankees’ slugger in some aspects of his game. Additionally, these are two hitters who actually have fairly similar stances in the box, as you can see in this side-by-side comparison:

They both stand off the plate so they can get extended on pitches in all locations of the strike zone. The stances of each player aren’t identical, but they certainly resemble one another. It’s easy to think that this is something very small, and that it doesn’t necessarily mean much as far as their performances are concerned. However, the two players have hit balls at nearly identical launch angles recently. Reyes’ average launch angle this season has been 10.1 degrees, while Stanton’s in 2018 (his most recent full season) was 11.6 degrees. That’s just another way that they’re remarkably similar, and it makes the comparison between the two sluggers even more intriguing.

Although Giancarlo Stanton is currently injured, a slugger named Franmil Reyes is now here to replicate his success. They both hit the ball harder than the vast majority of all major leaguers. Last season, Stanton’s exit velocity was in the 99th percentile for the league, while Reyes currently ranks in the 93rd percentile among big leaguers in the same category in 2019. Although Reyes’ 2018 performance put him on the map as a player, this is the year he’ll become a star that baseball fans will talk about along with the other well-known mashers in MLB.

All data courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball Savant.

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When he is not spending time with his family or loved ones, Conrad does all he can to better understand and appreciate the beautiful game of Baseball. Twitter: @conradparrish

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