FanGraphs Baseball


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  1. Nice article, Eno. Some good stuff on FG today.

    Comment by Eminor3rd — November 3, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

  2. Where Stanton differs from every player listed here is his age. It’s just hard to tell with Stanton because there is nobody to compare him to. I’d say his age makes him more likely to surpass the other players on this list. He’ll start next season at 22 years old. Howard debuted at 25. Stanton is on a different developmental scale than anyone we can compare him to. Not that K’s won’t be an issue, but he’s got far more time to improve before his prime than the other guys mentioned.

    Comment by gregstears — November 3, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

  3. What did the comps average in other stats besides K’s in their 3rd (and later) years?

    Comment by GiantHusker — November 3, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

  4. Great point. Stanton is more likely to continue improving beyond his first two years than Howard for the simple reason that Howard was already in the age range normally associated with a player’s prime when he debuted in the majors. Stanton’s rookie season occured when he was 20; Howard’s when he was 25.

    Comment by alex101 — November 3, 2011 @ 2:44 pm

  5. All I can say is ‘yup.’ You can see it graphically — Stanton’s all alone over there on the left.

    Comment by Eno Sarris — November 3, 2011 @ 3:05 pm

  6. I was thinking the same thing….For instance, does a high or low walk rate the first couple of years foreshadow a different change in K rate over time as a player develops?

    This would probably be hard to correlated, but could be interesting.

    Or swing %, o-swing%, etc…

    Comment by Hank — November 3, 2011 @ 3:16 pm

  7. For me, looking at Stanton’s stats, the key for him to become an elite hitter is not to worry about his K rate, it’s to work on increasing his walk rate. In his case, by lowering his O-Swing %. That’s his key to becoming Jim Thome instead of Ryan Howard.

    Comment by dcs — November 3, 2011 @ 5:49 pm

  8. That graph bears an uncanny resemblance to the new Marlins logo

    Comment by Raymond — November 3, 2011 @ 6:57 pm

  9. So Stanton’s #1 comp on b-ref is Rueben Sierra, who never struck out as much as Stanton does. But his BA was all over the place, long, varied career. Got the injury bug, WAR dragged down by UZR. His #2 comp is Miguel Cabrera, who has always had enormous BABIPs, but cut his K% by quite a bit. 24.3 % to 21.6 % to 18.2 to 16, stabilizing around there, except that absurd year where he was at 12%.
    Cabrera’s a special player, but Stanton could be too. He’s young, he’s athletic, and by all accounts he’s got a head on his shoulders. I think you’re right in the sense that it’s going to be a challenge to get his K% down to even 22%, but I think if anyone could, it might be him.
    I’m also just gonna leave that right here:,2154,4949,1099

    Comment by Max — November 3, 2011 @ 8:45 pm

  10. Interesting article, however like other commentators, I think it is extremely critical to note Stanton’s age.

    At 22 years old, Jonny Gomes put up a 30% strikeout rate and a .789 OPS at AA.
    At 22 years old, Ryan Howard put up a 26% strike out rate an a .827 OPS at A ball.
    At 22 years old, Stanton was playing in the majors with a 28% strikeout rate and a .893 OPS.

    The real problem with projecting Mike Stanton is that over the past 3 decades, there haven’t been many 22 year old players with his skill set.

    Comment by Adam G — November 3, 2011 @ 9:17 pm

  11. Ditto. Or is it Tritto or Quaitto? You’ve almost got to look at the minor league progression of K% with a player that young.

    Comment by reillocity — November 3, 2011 @ 9:22 pm

  12. Great article, the information on how strikeout rates evolve over time is astonishing.

    Comment by YazInLeft8 — November 3, 2011 @ 9:29 pm

  13. click the link ^^^ this Max fellow created … interesting

    Comment by Dan — November 3, 2011 @ 9:49 pm

  14. Correction to Adam G’s comment, which serves to amplify his point: Stanton was only 21 this past season.

    Comment by Bill — November 3, 2011 @ 11:10 pm

  15. I agree with the notion that if stanton can get his K’s to 25% or less it is his walk rate progression that will be the biggest predictor of elite player status. In the 2nd half stanton had 40 walks in 214 AB’s compared to only 30 walks in the first half where he had 30 walks all while lowering his K’s rate. It is often forgotten that baseball is a mental game full of adjustments and Stanton making those mid-season adjustments bodes very well for his continued improvement.

    Comment by daniel heit — November 4, 2011 @ 8:27 am

  16. I meant to say 30 walks in 302 AB’s vs 40 walks in 214 AB’s in the 2nd half. Stanton is a beast, but it should also be noted that the new stadium is certainly less favorable for where he likes to hit his shots. An improved skill set that may have been worth 40+ in the old stadium but only be 35 in the new stadium

    Comment by daniel heit — November 4, 2011 @ 8:34 am

  17. Not a good idea for Stanton to aim to be a TTO hitter. Jim Thome was great with a 33% K rate (look at 2001-2003). The difference is that at his peak, Thome hit about 1 HR / 12 AB (iso=0.340). If you are not well below 1 HR / 20 AB, you are not going to be a good three true outcomes hitter.

    Comment by Barkey Walker — November 4, 2011 @ 10:53 am

  18. It’s fun just for the Ruben Sierra WAR career total progression. I suspect that’s the longest post-peak WAR career ever. Max at age 26, played until he was 40, and added no value whatsoever. Amazing.

    Comment by test — November 4, 2011 @ 11:09 am

  19. Thanks for the correction. After considering some things, I really think this whole group of comps should be scratched. As much as I understand the parameters of the survey, it is not really useful.

    A comp I like much more is Darryl Strawberry. At 21 years old, Strawberry had a 27% strikeout rate, and walked about 10% of the time. His ISO that year was .255. By comparison, Stanton had a 27%/11%/.275 line this last year. If we wanted more correlation, Stanton and Strawberry had fairly similar (although not identical) stats through the minors. High strikeout rates, tons of power, and enough patience to make it all work.

    Another player with a similar trajectory for his age with a little less power was Jose Canseco. At 21, Canseco struck out 26% of the time, walked about 10%, and had an ISO of .217.

    If you want a graphical comparison, check this out (it might blow your mind…)

    Ultimately, Strawberry and Canseco both got their K% below 7 times and 2 times respectively. For their careers, Canseco posted a 24.5% K-rate, and Strawberry a 21.7% rate.

    Are strikeouts a concern for Stanton? Of course. But Stanton has already demonstrated a skill set and trajectory in line with 2 hitters that are rarely remembered for their strikeouts. Aside from drugs and PEDs, fans remember Strawberry and Canseco as 2 of the most gifted hitters of their era. They both possessed speed that Stanton does not have, but Stanton also has more raw power, and a higher ceiling as a middle-of-the-order hitter.

    Comment by Adam G — November 4, 2011 @ 8:52 pm

  20. That 5th paragraph should read:

    “Ultimately, Strawberry and Canseco both got their K% below 20% 7 times and 2 times respectively.”

    Comment by Adam G — November 4, 2011 @ 8:54 pm

  21. Strawberry is in the group of comps. So is Canseco. There are 31 guys in there, which is usually better than taking two guys.

    Comment by Eno Sarris — November 4, 2011 @ 9:18 pm

  22. Agree that a larger sample (31) is always going to be better than a group of 2, but in this case the difference in age of the sample members lends itself to leaning more heavily on Strawberry and Canseco.

    Comment by Keith — November 4, 2011 @ 9:33 pm

  23. I’m holding on to Stanton decreasing his strikeout rate like a fat kid holds on to hid Halloween candy. Our league is 8×8 and strikeouts against is a category. Stanton is a keeper for me because even though I get slammed in our league for his strikeouts the homers are worth it.

    Comment by clave — November 5, 2011 @ 8:58 pm

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