Why Giancarlo Stanton Is Still Not a Top-10 Position Player

Although this season for Giancarlo Stanton was one for the record books, this monumental display of power should not be enough to warrant a spot in the top 10 of baseball’s best position players.

While Stanton did have an impressive season to say the least, and with an NL MVP seemingly locked, he wasn’t even the best in the NL alone. With the NL being the easier of the two leagues, most certainly, it seemed that Stanton had every advantage there could’ve been given — aside from playing in Coors for 81 games.

Here’s how his 2017 season fared:

59 HR and 132 RBI paired with 32 2B. with a .281 / .376 / .631 slash line (1.007 OPS) 6.9 WAR / and a whopping 156 wRC+

Mind you, these numbers are indeed phenomenal, but they are not deserving of being named “Top 10” in baseball, let alone “NL MVP.” Giancarlo did what no one had done in over a decade, and that is hit 59 homers (Ryan Howard hit 58 in 2006). He surpassed every personal best of his entire career, and rewrote his own book — which was filled with injury questions, as well as his inability to hit for average.

However, factoring in the huge increase in the amount of home runs hit this season, Stanton’s monumental 59 is slightly less impressive.

% OF RUNS OFF OF HR

2017- 42.3 % (+2.1 %)

2016- 40.2 % (+2.9 %)

2015- 37.3 % ( / )

NUMBER OF HR HIT

2017- 6,105 (+495)

2016- 5,610 (+701)

2015- 4,909 ( / )

With this being known, there were 41 players with over 30 homers, as well as Kris Bryant, Bryce Harper, Jose Ramirez, and Mike Napoli being notched with 29.

Giancarlo Stanton’s career numbers should not boost him to the top-10 consideration, so why would one season justify such? Stanton is a career .268 hitter, and never hit more than 37 homers in a single go (although yes, he never played more than 150 games). Even with his AS recognition in 2014, in which he slugged 37 to pair with a 6.3 WAR season, he wasn’t even considered top-5 then. The drastic injuries that Stanton has faced, as well as his lack of defensive abilities and base-running abilities, mean his value is hurt. Even for the 2017 NL MVP, Stanton shouldn’t win.

59 HR- 1st in NL

132 RBI- 1st in NL

.281 AVG- 24th in NL

.376 OBP- 14th in NL

.631 SLG- 1st in NL

6.9 WAR- 2nd in NL

156 wRC+- 2nd in NL

Although Stanton did indeed have the edge in the majority of these categories, it is seen that aside from his impressive slugging percentage, he was not even top-10 in any other categories. If we’re being honest with each other, Anthony Rendon, Justin Turner, and Joey Votto all put together more impressive and stand-alone seasons.

Rendon- .301 / .403 / .533 slash with a 6.9 WAR and a 143 wRC+ over 605 PA at 3B

Turner- .322 / .415 / .530 slash with a 5.1 WAR and a 151 wRC+ over 533 PA at 3B

Votto- .320 / .454 / .578 slash with a 6.6 WAR (1B gets brutalized for WAR) and a 165 wRC+ over 707 PA (record number for walks taken in a season)

However, this discussion is not about whether or not Stanton should win MVP. It is whether or not Stanton should be considered a top-10 position player in the game of baseball. In my opinion the list currently stands as such:

  1. Mike Trout
  2. Jose Altuve
  3. Bryce Harper
  4. Paul Goldschmidt
  5. Kris Bryant
  6. Joey Votto
  7. Josh Donaldson
  8. Manny Machado
  9. Buster Posey
  10. Daniel Murphy

(with Rizzo, Judge, Lindor, Gary Sanchez, Freeman, Corey Seager, and Nolan Arenado in the territory)

The reasoning behind this list is both the strength of their position, as well as their career history and trajectories. Trout is easily the greatest player in the game, and shows no signs of slowing down. Altuve is the best infielder in the game right now, and I don’t see him ever hitting under .300 for the rest of his career. Harper is younger than Trout, and has already accomplished things that no player can imagine, and possesses five tools to his game. Goldschmidt, like Votto later on, is the epitome of consistency. Bryant, Donaldson, and Machado are all in a different breed of third basemen (Nolan not far behind) with their amazing offensive production, and defensive splits. Posey is the best catcher in baseball, and hits supremely well for average. And Daniel Murphy is the same as Posey, where he is a phenomenal contact hitter, with the power upside. With the other players in the area, all of them are young with upside, and their minor-league track records mixed with their current production at the major-league level lead me to believe they’re the real deal.

Stanton may barely crack T20 in my eyes. With the fact that he is too slow and lumbering in the basepaths, mixed with his horrid defensive splits (10 DRS, below average/ 6.7 UZR, below average/ -.5 dWAR), he’s a one-dimensional player. Stanton clearly is a generational talent, and possesses power like no other in baseball, but with his poor attitude and colossal contract, he should be labeled overrated. He is making nearly 30 million dollars per year, and for a player who has only surpassed a 6 WAR twice over his eight seasons, it makes you question how truly valuable he is.

According to Marlins new CEO and part owner, Derek Jeter, the Marlins are “in a rebuilding process,” which Stanton responded to with “I want no part in a rebuild.”

What does the future hold for Giancarlo Stanton and his massive $220 million that is due? The world will just have to sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.



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Want to get into Sabermetrics, post college... Majoring in Statistics, Minoring in Communications

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fl_baseball95
Member
fl_baseball95

“Stanton is a career .268 hitter, and never hit more than 37 homers in a single go”

didn’t know FanGraphs is going back to the 90s, using batting average and home run count now…

“Anthony Rendon, Justin Turner, and Joey Votto all put together more impressive and stand-alone seasons.”

yet Stanton is tied or better in WAR, OPS, and wRC+ so?

“Giancarlo Stanton’s career numbers should not boost him to the top-10 consideration, so why would one season justify such?”

yet you place Judge in consideration for top-10… from his one season, where’s the consistency?

Matt1685
Member
Matt1685

Lack of history and a negative history are not equivalent. Put another way, with Judge one has the basic struggle of small sample size, and so one must rely on other forms of judgment. But that is no excuse to throw out the known history of a player that does have one. As far as other forms of judgment for Stanton, would you want to claim that there is good reason to believe Stanton has turned a corner to a new tier of production after 7 previous years of Major League production? Or that he will suddenly improve his defense or base running? What odds would you be willing to lay for such things? What about Judge? What odds would you lay that he can meet or exceed his rookie production some time in the next 3 seasons?

So, I am not sure what you mean by lack of consistency. Should all judgment be made only with historical data, throwing out any candidates that have a small sample size? Deciding who the “best players in baseball” are of course depends on the definition one chooses. But I personally would find a definition that throws out young players from the conversation, for the sake of consistency, very unsatisfactory.

fl_baseball95
Member
fl_baseball95

also… “mixed with his horrid defensive splits (10 DRS, below average/ 6.7 UZR”

FanGraphs’ own glossary classifies a UZR of +5 is “Above Average” and a DRS of +10 as “Great”… so what’s the deal?

snyderjeff1
Member
Member
snyderjeff1

For my money, Top 5 are Trout, Altuve, Harper, Votto, Bryant.

Rob
Member
Rob

What’s the point of this article? It seems like you are either answering a question that was never asked or having an argument with yourself. And I think you lost the argument.

FL baseball has a point, batting average, HR, and RBIs are not good stats to use to argue a players value. But that’s besides the point since he was great in all 3 even despite his batting average.

You bring up his defense a lot but really fail to prove anything other than he has had poor defensive seasons in his past based on defensive metrics whose measure are questionable. Any if you do look at those defense metrics, UZR he has only had 2 seasons below zero and one fairly close to 0, and DRS only one negative season.

Stanton tied Rendon for the highest WAR in the NL per fangraphs and lead the the NL in WAR per baseball-reference. So whether you believe so or not, he WAS top 10 this season by WAR and similarly by wRC+.

How exactly was he given every advantage possible? Playing in the NL isn’t enough to prove he had any advantage. His ballpark suppresses runs and HRs, being 28th and 25th in the league respectively and he played on a team that won only 77 games.

You also mentioned his contract but fail to explain that he was paid only 14.5 mill this season and was worth over 55 mill.

So I would take some time looking at more reliable statistics that would give a better overall picture of Stanton and his colleagues.

THAT GUY
Member
THAT GUY

What you’ve just written is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone who read this piece is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Wilmerrr
Member
Wilmerrr

Out of all active players, Stanton is tied with Goldschmidt for fifth in career wRC+ with 144. Exclude Pujols and Cabrera then he’s third.

In WAR/PA he’s 11th.

FanGraphs Depth Charts RoS projects him as the 8th best position player in the game at 5.4 WAR.

Then consider that he is still just 27 and played a completely healthy, 159-game season in 2017.

I must also point out that you seem to have completely misinterpreted the advanced fielding statistics. 10 DRS and 6.7 UZR are: A) single-season samples, and B) above average by definition. Overall he seems to be an average to below-average defender, and same with baserunning.

Perhaps one could argue convincingly that Stanton is overrated, and that he is far from a top-10 player, but that is not what you have done here in this article.

Matt1685
Member
Matt1685

Is time on the field not a valid criterion when judging who are the top 10 players in the game? It’s a somewhat different question, but I think it’s closely related enough to be relevant, and a question that provides perspective to the one the author proposed: If you were going to build a team around one positional player for the next two years, would Stanton be in your top 10 list of positional players around which to build?

Dominikk85
Member

biggest issue with stanton is his injury prone-ness which usually doesn’t get better with Age. you can basically book him for missing 30 games a year which hurts his real (and Fantasy) value.

citing his average is of course pretty out dated but his Ks of course do somehwat Limit his upside in the on base percentage department. despite a good (albeit not Dunn-esque) 11.8 walk rate his career OBP is “only” .360 which of course is is tied to his Ks and batting average. Most of the real elite hitters are at or Close to .300 and 400+ with their OBP. Average is a bad stat but it has a pretty big correlation with OBP.

However if he can stabilize his Ks in the low 20s he might get his OBP to around .400 which would Change things for him. His power is off the Charts and if he can creep a Little closer in the on base department he could indeed become a top10 Player.

however with the injury and strikeout history I’m sceptical for now, but nontheless he is an elite Player albeit probably not quite top10.

BTW this year stanton is of course a top3 Player, my Analysis is looking at his career and Outlook going Forward.

TKDC
Member
Member

You should not ever cite RBI on this website. I get maybe mentioning it as a reason he will win MVP, but you have to caveat that.

On batting average, I do think there is a point with talking about batting average for sluggers. There might be a better way of talking about it, which would be BB% and K%. But there really is something to sluggers with middling batting averages having a tendency to crater (like Chris Davis, Ryan Howard). When you’re one skill is the home run, you have to do it awfully well to maintain a high value. A low batting average is very indicative of a power hitter that does not have a lot of other offensive skills.

Michael
Member
Michael

Not sure how this one made it on to the site.

Earl of E
Member
Earl of E

His “poor attitude”? He is a “generational talent” but simultaneously not a top 20 player? This is possibly the worst written thing I have seen on this site. You guys need an editor.