Giancarlo Stanton’s season has been something of a nightmare. He’s hitting just .197, slugging .426, and his strikeout rate is an astronomically high 35 percent. He recently went through a stretch in which he struck out 17 times in 21 at-bats. It’s been a bad season, okay? It’s bad. Stanton does still have one thing going for him, however, and that’s his ability to hit the baseball extremely hard.
This play shows up as a double play in the box score from last night’s game, but thanks to Statcast, we know that it was actually much more than that (mobile users turn screen sideways or click here for video):
That grounder had an exit velocity of 123.9 mph. No ball has been hit that hard since MLB started tracking exit velocities last season. I hope Brian Dozier sees this video, and understands how lucky he is to still have a hand.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the Statcast era, it’s that Stanton is in a league of his own when it comes to scorching baseballs. Last year, Stanton owned the four hardest hit balls of the season, and led the league in average exit velocity at 98.5 mph. His average is down to 95 mph this season, but he’s also hit the five hardest balls of the season. The craziest thing is that none of those balls left the park. He’s hit a single 120.1 mph, another grounder at 119.8 mph, and two other singles at 119.3 mph and 118.9 mph, respectively.
Here’s hoping Stanton plugs the holes in his swing and starts putting some of those screamers into the gaps and over the fence, because a world in which Giancarlo Stanton isn’t the biggest tater-mashin’ badass around is a gloomy one. While you wait for Stanton to return to form, pray for the infielders who have to keep fielding his outs.