Stats & Info: Giancarlo Stanton

Top stats to know: 2014 Home Run Derby

July, 14, 2014
Jul 14
11:42
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Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY SportsYoenis Céspedes looks to be the 1st back-to-back-winner since Ken Griffey Jr. in 1998 and 1999.
The 2014 Gillette Home Run Derby gets going at 8 p.m. ET from Target Field in Minnesota (ESPN and WatchESPN).

The competition features some new rules this season.

Five players from each league bat in the opening round, with seven outs instead of 10. The player who hits the most home runs from each league gets a bye to the third round. The two players with the next-most home runs go head-to-head in the second round. The head-to-head winners will face their league's top seed in the third round, with the winners from each league going against each other in the final round.

Here's a look at the numbers for each of the 10 participants.

Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays
Bautista will captain the American League team. The last four Home Run Derby champs have been from the American League. The last NL winner was Prince Fielder in 2009. Bautista was the runner up to Fielder in 2012 when Fielder was a member of the Detroit Tigers.

Bautista is a huge fan of Target Field. He has a .966 slugging percentage and 11 home runs in 59 at-bats there.

A player’s home run park percentage is the percentage of stadiums at which a home run would have gone over the fence under calm conditions (70 degrees Fahrenheit, no wind). Of the 31 players to hit at least 15 home runs in the first half, Bautista has the highest home run park percentage, 94.7 percent (meaning on average, his home runs would have been out of 30 of the 32 parks).

Yoenis Céspedes, Oakland Athletics
Céspedes, the defending champion, is looking to become the first back-to-back winner since Ken Griffey Jr. won in 1998 and 1999.

Céspedes hit a total of 32 home runs in last year’s Home Run Derby, which was eight more than any other contestant.

Target Field has a shorter power-alley in left center field than last year’s host park, Citi Field (377 feet versus 385 feet), though it does have a slightly longer distance to the foul pole (339 feet versus 335 feet). Twenty-six of Cespedes’ 32 home runs in last year’s Home Run Derby were hit to the left of center field.

Cespedes has not shown the power he showed in 2013. Last season, he averaged 403 feet per home run. This season, he’s averaging 383.5 feet per homer.

Josh Donaldson, Oakland Athletics
Donaldson has 20 home runs this season, with 15 coming on the inner half of the plate, or off the inside corner.

Donaldson would be expected to pull the ball on Monday night, but he has very good opposite-field power. His seven home runs to the opposite field are one shy of Nelson Cruz for the major-league lead.

Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins
Dozier will be trying to join Ryne Sandberg as the only players to win the Home Run Derby in their home ballpark. Sandberg did so in the early days of the event, in 1990.

Dozier’s home runs have a distinct characteristic. He likes to hit them on pitches up at his shoulders and above. His six home runs on pitches above the top of the strike zone are twice as many as anyone else in the majors.



Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles
In contrast to Dozier, Jones likes the ball low. Eleven of his 16 home runs (69 percent)have come against pitches in the lower-third of the strike zone or below. The only player in the majors with more such home runs is Mike Trout with 16.

Jones is trying to become the first Orioles player to win the Home Run Derby since Miguel Tejada in 2004.


Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies
Tulowitzki finished tied for the NL lead with 21 home runs in the first half, with 14 of them coming at Coors Field.

He’s trying to become the first Rockies player to win the Home Run Derby.

Todd Frazier, Cincinnati Reds
Frazier has already matched his career high for home runs in a season with his 19 at the All-Star Break. Though he’ll likely take aim for left field at Target Field, he might poke a few out to the deepest parts of the park. Frazier has seven home runs to straightaway center field this season. Only Carlos Gomez (eight) has more.

Justin Morneau, Colorado Rockies
Morneau is the only left-handed hitter in this year’s Home Run Derby.

Seven of the past nine and 14 of the past 18 Home Run Derby winners have been left-handed hitters. The only right-handed hitter to win in the last six Derby's is last year’s winner, Yoenis Céspedes of the Oakland Athletics.

Morneau is very familiar with Target Field from his time with the Minnesota Twins. His 20 home runs there are second-most by a left-handed hitter, trailing Jim Thome’s 24.

Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers
Puig hit 12 home runs in the first half, but he hit them pretty far, averaging 417.3 feet per home run (fourth-best in the majors).

Puig’s shortest home run of the first half was 390 feet, making him one of two players to hit 10 home runs and have all of them calculated at 390 feet or more (Jay Bruce is the other).

Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins
Stanton averaged 423.8 feet per home run in the first half, the best of anyone in baseball with at least 10 home runs.
He also led in average speed off bat (109.5 miles per hour), 425-foot home runs (nine) and 450-foot home runs (five).

Stanton’s 484-foot home run on April 4 is the second-longest home run of the year (Mike Trout, 489 feet on June 27 is the longest).


ESPN HR Tracker derby dream team

July, 8, 2014
Jul 8
11:26
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Mike Ehrmann/Getty ImagesYoenis Cespedes will attempt to defend his 2013 Home Run Derby title.

The Gillette Home Run Derby (Monday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN/WatchESPN) captains Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Bautista will announce their teams this evening on the 6 p.m. ET edition of "SportsCenter." The ESPN Home Run Tracker team put together the lineups it would most like to see, using data from every home run hit this season.

American League

Yoenis Cespedes
Yoenis Cespedes hit a total of 32 home runs in last year’s Home Run Derby, eight more than any other contestant. Target Field has a shorter power alley in left-center field than Citi Field (377 feet vs. 385 feet), although it does have a slightly longer distance to the foul pole (339 feet vs. 335 feet).

Of Cespedes’ 32 homers in last year’s derby, 26 were hit to the left of center field.

Nelson Cruz
Nelson Cruz leads the majors with 28 home runs. He also has 19 homers off fastballs this season, four more than any other player.

Cruz has hit 2.1 miles worth of home runs this year, which leads the majors. He's also shown some of the most raw power in baseball, being tied for fourth in the American League with five homers of at least 425 feet.

Jose Abreu
Jose Abreu has 27 home runs, second-most in MLB behind Nelson Cruz. Abreu is one of three players to hit two or more miles worth of home runs this year.

David Ortiz
David Ortiz is one of four players to hit a 475-foot home run this season. Ortiz’s 482-foot homer on April 22 traveled 119.9 mph off the bat, the highest for a home run this year.

Ortiz has 16 homers of at least 400 feet this season, tied for fourth-most in the league. The only players with more than Ortiz are Edwin Encarnacion (injured), Mike Trout (has already declined derby consideration) and Giancarlo Stanton.

National League

Giancarlo Stanton

Stanton’s average home run to this point in the season has traveled 423.8 feet, the longest of any player with at least 10 homers. Stanton’s average is no sample-size fluke either: His 21 homers are the most of the 11 players averaging at least 410 feet per home run.

Stanton has nine homers this year that traveled at least 425 feet, most of any player in the league. Stanton has five 450-foot home runs; no one else in the league has more than two. Stanton has more 450-foot home runs than any other team in MLB.

Michael Morse
Michael Morse has eight 425-foot home runs, two 450-foot home runs and an average distance of 420.5 feet. All of those are second in the league behind Giancarlo Stanton.

Morse ranks in the top 10 in the National League in average distance, speed off the bat and apex among players with at least 10 home runs.

Justin Upton
Justin Upton has hit four 440-foot home runs, trailing only Stanton and Morse for the most in the majors. His 477-foot homer on April 10 is the fourth-longest in baseball this season and the longest at Turner Field since September 2010.

Ian Desmond
The shortest of the 15 home runs hit by Ian Desmond this year was calculated at 387 feet, making him the only player who has hit at least 15 homers that all traveled at least 375 feet. His average home run distance is 416.4 feet, the fifth-longest in the majors (mininum 10 HR).

Desmond’s 462-foot shot on April 21 is the second-longest home run recorded at Nationals Park since ESPN began tracking home runs in 2006.

Encarnacion, Stanton powerful in May

June, 1, 2014
Jun 1
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May was a memorable month when it came to home-run hitting, particularly for a couple of players, one who couldn’t stop hitting home runs and the other, who couldn’t stop hitting long home runs. Here are our honorees for this month.

HR Hitter of the Month: Edwin Encarnacion
Edwin Encarnación hit 16 home runs in May, joining Barry Bonds, Mickey Mantle and Mark McGwire as the only players in major-league history to hit at least 16 May homers.

After only going deep twice in April, Encarnación had five multi-homer games in May, tied for the most in a calendar month in MLB history.

Encarnación’s May homers traveled a total distance of 6,639 feet, over 1,300 feet further than the next closest hitter (Nelson Cruz, 5,321 feet).

Encarnación pulled all but one of his home runs in May and has pulled 72 home runs over the last three seasons – the most in baseball.


Trevor Ebaugh


Road Warrior of the Month: Nelson Cruz
Cruz warranted recognition in May as well and he gets it from us in this regard.

Cruz plays in homer-friendly Camden Yards, but showed he can hit home runs anywhere at any time. He had the most road homers of anyone in May with nine.

He averaged 414.4 feet per road homer, almost 17 feet longer than his average home run at home.

Long Drive Champion of the Month: Giancarlo Stanton
Giancarlo Stanton led the majors in average home run distance in May (minimum five home runs), averaging 437.1 feet per homer. Stanton hit eight home runs in May; the shortest of which was 412 feet (the average home run distance in baseball this season is 396.8 feet).

Stanton leads the majors in 450-foot home runs this year and crushed two in May to up his season total to five.

Stanton has more 450-foot homers than every other team in baseball.

On May 23, Stanton hit two homers calculated at 463 and 444 feet. The 907 total feet is the second-furthest total distance in a game this season, falling short by one foot to Michael Morse, who hit a combined 908 feet of home runs on April 23.

Longest homer of the month: Paul Goldschmidt

On May 28, Paul Goldschmidt drove a Troy Patton fastball 470 feet to center at Chase Field in Arizona for the longest home run of the month. The 470-foot home run is a career long for Goldschmidt.

Shortest Home Run of the Month: Miguel Cabrera
On May 17, Miguel Cabrera wrapped a home run around the Pesky Pole at Fenway Park that was calculated at 329 feet, the shortest home run of the season (not including inside-the-park homers). It is the shortest home run Cabrera has hit since ESPN began tracking home runs in 2006.

Short home runs in Boston are nothing new. Since, 2006, the 10 shortest home runs in the majors have all been hit at Fenway Park (excluding inside-the-park home runs).

Breakout Performance of the Month: George Springer
Astros rookie outfielder George Springer hit 10 home runs in May, including a seven-game stretch in which he hit seven homers. According to Elias, only one other rookie in baseball’s modern era (since 1900) had a stretch to equal that (Rudy York, 1937).

Trevor Ebaugh

The month of April in home runs

May, 1, 2014
May 1
11:02
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ESPN Stats & Info
Giancarlo Stanton crushed the ball in April, earning him our Home Run Hitter of the Month award.

ESPN Stats & Info's Home Run Tracker Team tracks every home run hit in the majors. Here are a few standout performances from the month of April.

Home Run Hitter of the Month: Giancarlo Stanton
Giancarlo Stanton dominated the home run headlines in April, hitting three of the nine longest homers of the month. On April 4, he launched an Eric Stults pitch 484 feet to left center field for the longest home run in the history of Marlins Park and the longest home run of the 2014 season.

Stanton wasn’t done there, as he added a 469-footer on April 12 and a 457-footer on April 15. There have been 13 home runs hit of 450+ feet in all of MLB this season, and Stanton has hit three of those. In fact, since his rookie season in 2010 no hitter has hit more 450+ foot home runs.

Performance of the Month: Michael Morse
At Coors Field on April 23, Michael Morse hit a 458-foot homer off Tyler Chatwood in the second inning and a 450-foot homer off him in the third inning, the two longest home runs of the season at Coors Field. Morse became just the third player since ESPN began tracking home runs in 2006 to hit two 450+ foot home runs in the same game.

It was quite an April for Morse as he added 449 and 442 foot home runs as well and finished the month with a major league leading 440 foot average home run distance, 42.5 feet further than the MLB average (397.5).


Other notable performances

ESPN Stats & Info
Ortiz hit the longest home run by a Red Sox hitter since ESPN Stats & Info began tracking home runs.

• On April 22 David Ortiz hit a ball 482 feet off Masahiro Tanaka at Fenway Park, the second longest homer of the season. Not only was it the longest homer for Ortiz since ESPN began tracking homers in 2006, but it was also the longest home run by any Red Sox hitter. It was the second longest home run hit by anyone at Fenway Park in that period, trailing only Vladimir Guerrero's 484-foot shot against Curt Schilling on July 30, 2006.

The ball left Ortiz's bat at 119.9 mph, the fastest off-bat speed for any home run hit this season. It is the third fastest speed for any home run in the last four seasons.

• White Sox slugger Jose Abreu set an all-time rookie-record with ten home runs before May. Abreu is the only hitter in the American League to hit three home runs of at least 430 feet. On top of that, Abreu hit the two longest homers at Comerica Park this season despite only playing four games in Detroit.

• Earlier this month Albert Pujols became the 26th member of the 500 home run club with a 430-foot homer at Nationals Park. Since ESPN began tracking home runs, six players have reached the 500 homer mark and Pujols’ traveled the furthest (430 feet).

Fernandez can't be beat in Miami

April, 30, 2014
Apr 30
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With each start, Jose Fernandez just keeps getting better and better.

And when Fernandez pitches at home, it’s a mismatch for him against his opponent.

Fernandez improved to 12-0 at home for his career with his eight innings of scoreless, two-hit dominance against the Atlanta Braves. His career ERA at home now sits at 1.00.

The Elias Sports Bureau provided a bevy of notes on Fernandez.

Let’s run through them:

The 1.00 ERA is the lowest for a pitcher in his first 19 career home starts in the last 100 years. The previous low was Vida Blue’s 1.28 (1969 to 1971).

He’s the fourth pitcher in baseball’s modern era (since 1900) to win his first 12 home decisions, joining LaMarr Hoyt (16), Johnny Allen (16) and most recently David Palmer (13 from 1979 to 1982).

Fernandez is the second pitcher in the last 100 years who allowed no earned runs and had eight strikeouts in three straight starts at the age of 21 or younger.

The other was the Rangers' Ed Correa in 1986 (also three straight).

In terms of more recognizable names, Fernandez joins a list of pitchers 21 or younger to throw three straight starts of at least seven innings without allowing an earned run. The others to do so in the divisional era (since 1969) are Dwight Gooden (five straight), Matt Cain (four) and Fernando Valenzuela (three).

How Fernandez won
Fernandez had a very effective breaking ball on Tuesday, which isn’t unusual.

He threw 31 against the Braves, the third-most he’s thrown in a game in his career. They netted him eight outs (including a career-best six strikeouts) and yielded only one baserunner.

Location-wise, Fernandez's control was pinpoint. He threw 48 of his 98 pitches on the outer third of the zone or off the outside corner, and the Braves were 0 for 17 with 6 strikeouts in at-bats ending in a pitch to that location. The 17 outs were a career-best.

Fernandez got hitters to expand the strike zone. He threw 52 pitches out of the strike zone and the Braves swung at 26 of them. His 50 percent chase rate and 13 outs recorded out of the strike zone were both career-bests.

The Braves tried to get to Fernandez early in at-bats, but that didn’t work. He got a career-best five outs on the first pitch.

Giancarlo Stanton in a supporting role
Usually, Marlins games are dominated by the story of monstrous home runs by Giancarlo Stanton, who was overshadowed by Fernandez on this night.

Stanton’s home run on Tuesday measured 391 feet, notable as it was his shortest home run this season. He’s averaged 427 feet on his eight home runs in 2014.

Stanton’s average home run over the last four seasons has averaged 416 feet. Among those with at least 20 homers in that span, only Justin Upton averages more distance on his long balls (419 feet).

Harper, Upton, Stanton play to strengths

April, 27, 2013
4/27/13
10:54
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Let’s go inside the longball and summarize some of our best notes on the day’s most notable homer-hitters.

Harper and Ott … expect that a lot
Bryce Harper’s ninth home run came in the Nationals 24th team game. The Elias Sports Bureau tells us that the only player under age 21 to hit more home runs than that within his team's first 24 games is Hall of Famer Mel Ott, who had 10 for the 1929 Giants.

Harper has played in 23 of the Nationals 24 games. It took Harper 75 games played to hit his ninth home run last season.

Harper now has 31 home runs for his career, just over halfway to Ott’s total of 61, which ranks as the most for someone before they turned 21.

What has led to Harper’s success this season? Dominance of the inner half of the plate has been a big part of it. He’s 16-for-32 in at-bats that end with pitches on the inner-half of the plate, or off the inside corner.

Harper’s home run on Saturday came on a pitch knee-high, on the inside corner. Seven of his home runs this season came on inner-half pitches. He had nine such home runs last season.

Justin Upton keeps pace
Justin Upton hit a 423-foot home run in the Atlanta Braves loss to the Detroit Tigers.

That basically matched Upton’s average homer distance for the season, a major-league best 423.5 feet

All 12 of Upton's home runs have measured at least 400 feet.

Upton is two home runs shy for the major-league record for the most by the end of April. Albert Pujols set the mark with 14 for the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals and Alex Rodriguez tied that with 14 the following season for the New York Yankees.

Upton’s success has come against pitches in the lower-half of the strike zone, or below the knees. Saturday’s homer was his 10th against a lower-half pitch. He had a dozen home runs against pitches to that area last season.

Stanton finally hits one out
Giancarlo Stanton’s first home run of the season came in the Miami Marlins 18th game of the season and was a prodigious blast, calculated at 440 feet by ESPN Home Run Tracker.

Stanton has nine home runs of at least 440 feet since the start of 2012, tied with Miguel Cabrera for most in the majors.

It actually took Stanton longer to hit his first home run last season (20 games). The homer was only his second extra-base hit in his last 59 plate appearances.

Stanton homered against an inner-half pitch, something he did 21 times last season. He averaged a homer for every 42 pitches to that area last season. He has one in 153 inner-half pitches this season.

Stanton’s biggest issue this season is that he hasn’t gotten many pitches to hit. As a result, similar to past seasons, he’s extended his swing area a bit. That’s gotten him into trouble. He’s made 29 outs this season against pitches out of the strike zone, tied for eighth-most in the majors.

2012 HR Awards: Stanton reigns supreme

November, 10, 2012
11/10/12
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Without further ado, we present you with our end-of-season Home Run Tracker Awards.

*Please note: All information goes back to the 2006 season, the first year of the ESPN Home Run Tracker database. In addition, this excludes inside-the-park home runs unless otherwise indicated.

NO-DOUBTER OF THE YEAR
2012 Winner: Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins (494 feet)

Giancarlo Stanton won the award for longest 2012 home run by hitting a 494-foot blast on August 17 off Josh Roenicke at Coors Field. It was the fifth-longest home run since ESPN HR Tracker began in 2006.

WALL-SCRAPER OF THE MONTH
B.J. Upton
Upton
2012 Winner: B.J. Upton, Tampa Bay Rays (323 feet)

B.J. Upton hit a 323-foot home run off Ervin Santana on April 24, the shortest home run of the season and the shortest home run at Tropicana Field since the beginning of ESPN HR Tracker in 2006.

MOONSHOT OF THE YEAR
2012 Winner: Todd Helton, Colorado Rockies (162 feet)

Todd Helton’s walk-off home run off J.J. Putz on April 14 had an apex of 162 feet, the ball hanging in the air for 6.92 seconds. It had the highest apex since 2009, when Alex Rodriguez hit a 390-foot home run with a 169-foot apex.

LINER OF THE MONTH
2012 Winner: Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles (43 feet)

Adam Jones’ 354-foot home run off Edwin Jackson on June 23 had an apex of 43 feet, the lowest by an Oriole player and the lowest at Camden Yards since the beginning of ESPN HR Tracker in 2006.

FAST BALL OF THE YEAR
2012 Winner: Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins (122.4 mph)

Giancarlo Stanton’s second award set a record, as his 462-foot home run off Jamie Moyer on May 21 had a speed off bat of 122.4 miles per hour -- the fastest since the beginning of ESPN HR Tracker in 2006.

SERVER OF THE YEAR
2012 Winner: Ervin Santana, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Ervin Santana gave up 39 home runs this season, the most in the majors. Jason Vargas and Phil Hughes tied for second with 35. Since 2006, only Bronson Arroyo has given up more home runs than Santana.

MASHER OF THE YEAR
Nelson Cruz
Cruz
2012 Winner: Nelson Cruz, Texas Rangers (418.6 feet)

Nelson Cruz averaged 418.6 feet per home run this season, beating out teammate Josh Hamilton by an average of 2.9 feet. Cruz’s 484-foot home run on June 3 was the fourth longest of the season, and he had home runs of 470 and 464 feet as well. Only six of his 22 home runs went less than 400 feet.

Stanton dominates all aspects of HR-hitting

September, 1, 2012
9/01/12
1:51
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Giancarlo Stanton has been almost impossible to pitch to since returning to the Marlins lineup.

This month’s Home Run Tracker monthly awards were dominated by a Miami Marlins player who showed no home-run related issues from missing a month due to injury. Let’s take a look at his accolades and a few others.

Player Power Surge of the Month
July Winner: Josh Willingham, Minnesota Twins
August Winner: Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins

Both Stanton and Chase Headley of the San Diego Padres hit 10 home runs this month, but Stanton gets the tiebreaking nod for this award based on his average home run distance (429.4 feet to Headley’s 398.0).

It is nearly impossible to compete with Stanton here, as six of his 10 home runs went over 430 feet, including three 450-foot home runs on consecutive days.

No Doubter of the Month
July Winner: Cameron Maybin,
San Diego Padres (485 feet)
August Winner: Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins (494 feet)

Stanton hit not just the longest homer of the month, but the longest home run of the season on Aug. 17, a 494-foot blast off Josh Roenicke.

Stanton, who has seven home runs of 450 feet or more this year, hit the fifth-longest home run since the beginning of ESPN HR Tracker in 2006.

Masher of the Month
July Winner: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
August Winner: Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins.

Stanton racks up his third award of the month, averaging 429.4 feet per home run. Stanton hit three home runs of at least 450 feet on consecutive days in August and three others that went over 430 feet.

Next-best on the long-distance list: Justin Ruggiano (averaged 426 feet on his five home runs) and Pedro Alvarez (425 feet on his five homers)

Fast Ball of the Month
July Winner: Garrett Jones, Pittsburgh Pirates (116.6 mph)
August Winner: Adam Dunn, Chicago White Sox (119.1 mph)

Dunn hit a 437-foot home run off Brad Lincoln on Aug. 15 that had a speed off bat of 119.1 miles-per-hour, the fastest homer in the majors all month.

Stanton finished second in the month with a 465 foot, 117.0 mph homer three days later, but the May and June winner could not quite pull off the fast-ball hat trick.

“Mother Nature’s HR of the Month”:
July Winner: Michael Cuddyer, Colorado Rockies
August Winner: Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies

Utley hit a 391-foot home run off Trevor Cahill on August 5 that was aided an extra 37 feet by a 15 mph wind at Citizens Bank Park.

Under standard conditions (70 degrees, no wind), it would have been a routine out in all 30 ballparks.

Team Power Surge of the Month
July Winner: New York Yankees
August Winner: Chicago White Sox

The Chicago White Sox hit 45 August home runs totaling 17,967 feet (3.40 miles worth of homers). Dunn hit four 430+-foot home runs, including a 460-footer on August 13, helping the White Sox’s cause.
ESPN Stats & InformationGiancarlo Stanton had only one home run in April, but since then he's been hitting with power over most of the strike zone.
One game after returning from the disabled list, Giancarlo Stanton recorded his first multi-home run game of the season as the Miami Marlins blanked the New York Mets 13-0 Wednesday night.

As he has done all season, Stanton punished fastballs in this game. Three of his four hits came against heat, and the other came on a slider that was only five miles per hour slower than the fastball on the previous pitch.

The key to getting the young slugger out this season has been to get him to chase pitches outside the strike zone. All four of his hits Wednesday came on pitches in the zone, and all 21 of his home runs this season have been on strikes.

That contrasts sharply to his numbers outside the zone, where he hits .154 and only has four extra-base hits in 91 at-bats this season. Over 40 percent of his plate appearances that end on pitches outside the zone have been strikeouts.

The Mets were unable to get Stanton to chase any of four pitches outside the zone. His first two hits against Chris Young came on the first pitch, a situation where he hits .477 and slugs .818 on the season.

Stanton’s second home run was on a line drive. He leads the majors with seven line-drive home runs this season and his 14 line drives to leave the park since his debut in 2010 trail only Jose Bautista and Mark Trumbo.

Surprisingly, neither of Stanton’s home runs against the Mets topped 400 feet. Coming into the game, 11 of his 19 home runs had a true distance of at least 400 feet.

His two homers in the game give Stanton 21 for the season. The Elias Sports Bureau confirms that he joins Alex Rodriguez as the only active players with three 20-homer seasons before turning 23.

Gone Fishing
Jose Reyes extended his hitting streak to 26 games. That’s the longest hitting streak ever for a player after leaving the Mets, snapping a tie with Jeff Kent. It also ties Emilio Bonifacio for the second-longest hit streak in Marlins history.

The 13-run margin in a shutout ties the second-largest in franchise history; the Marlins beat the Colorado Rockies 17-0 in a game in September 1995.

Cruz crushes the ball to earn June HR award

July, 1, 2012
7/01/12
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Ron Jenkins/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Getty ImagesNelson Cruz headlines the June awards with his 484-foot homer against the Angels.

ESPN's Home Run Tracker analyzes video of each home run hit this season and as far back as 2006. Each month, the tracker will detail the best and worst home runs, as well as some other interesting statistics pertaining to the long ball. Below are the notable home runs for the month of June (games through June 30).

No Doubter (Longest true distance)
May Winner: Justin Maxwell (471 feet)
June Winner: Nelson Cruz (484 feet)
Nelson Cruz’s 484-foot blast in Angel Stadium off Bobby Cassevah on June 3 is the longest home run hit this season. It is also Cruz’s longest home run of his career and the longest home run hit at Angel Stadium since the beginning of the ESPN Home Run Tracker in 2006.

Wall-Scraper (Shortest true distance)
May Winner: Jed Lowrie (330 feet)
June Winner: Adrian Beltre (329 feet)
Adrian Beltre drove a Brad Brach pitch off the bottom of the right field foul pole 329 feet in PETCO Park on June 19, giving the Rangers the first two June awards. The 329-foot homer is only the third home run to have a true distance of less than 330 feet this year.

Moonshot (Highest apex - maximum vertical height a ball reaches)
May Winner: Josh Hamilton (153 feet)
June Winner: Jay Bruce (152 feet)
Jay Bruce’s 392-foot home run off Joe Smith on June 18 had an apex of 152 feet, taking the award by one foot over Mark Trumbo, who hit a 364-foot homer on June 10 that had an apex of 151 feet.

Liner (Lowest apex)
May Winner: Adam Dunn (47 feet)
June Winner: Adam Jones (43 feet)
On June 23, Adam Jones hit a 354-foot home run off Edwin Jackson that had an apex of 43 feet and left Camden Yards in 3.06 seconds. It is the lowest apex of the season and lowest apex by an Oriole since the beginning of ESPN Home Run Tracker in 2006.

Fastball (Fastest speed off bat)
May Winner: Giancarlo Stanton (122.4 mph)
June Winner: Giancarlo Stanton (120.0 mph)
For the second month in a row, Giancarlo Stanton takes home the award for the homer with the fastest speed off the bat.

Server (Pitcher who allowed the greatest cumulative distance)
May Winner: Mike Minor
June Winner: Jason Vargas
Jason Vargas gave up 11 home runs in June, including a 457-foot bomb to Justin Upton on June 20. The 11 home runs allowed did not exactly help Vargas’ 7.34 June ERA.

Masher (Greatest average home run distance, min. five home runs)
May Winner: Mark Trumbo
June Winner: Miguel Montero
Miguel Montero’s five June home runs had an average distance of 425.8 feet, edging out Torii Hunter by 1.2 feet. Montero hit a 458-foot home run off Jarrod Parker on June 9 and a 447-foot home run off Yoshinori Tateyama on June 14, helping his cause.

AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
Rangers OF Josh Hamilton paced the American League with 12 home runs in May.

ESPN's Home Run Tracker analyzes video of each home run hit this season and as far back as 2006. Each month, the tracker will detail the best and worst home runs, as well as some other interesting statistics pertaining to the long ball. Below are the notable home runs for the month of May (games through May 30).

No Doubter (Longest true distance)
March/April Winner: Travis Hafner (481 feet)
May Winner: Justin Maxwell (471 feet)
Maxwell is an extremely unlikely winner. The Astro has just 12 career homers, only four of which went more than 400 feet. But on May 28, Maxwell hit an Alex White slider 471 feet to left at Coors Field.

Wall-Scraper (Shortest true distance)
March/April Winner: B.J. Upton (323 feet)
May Winner: Jed Lowrie (330 feet)
The Astros may be six games out of first place in the NL Central, but they claim the first two awards. Lowrie’s 330-foot home run off J.C. Romero on May 5 was originally ruled a double, but upon further review it indeed snuck over the left-field wall.

Moonshot (Highest apex - maximum vertical height a ball reaches)
March/April Winner: Todd Helton (162 feet)
May Winner: Josh Hamilton (153 feet)
When you hit as many home runs as Hamilton, you’re bound to find yourself winning an award. Hamilton hit a 385-foot home run off Jerome Williams on May 11 that had an apex of 153 feet. It is his highest apex home run since July 30, 2008 - a 407-foot blast off Miguel Batista that had an apex of 155 feet.

Liner (Lowest apex)
Note: There was an adjustment made late from last month which gives Carlos Gonzalez the award for March/April, not Luke Scott/Curtis Granderson.
March/April Winner: Carlos Gonzalez (46 feet)
May Winner: Adam Dunn (47 feet)
Dunn hit a 363-foot home run off Rick Porcello on May 6 that had an apex of 47 feet. It is Dunn’s lowest apex homer since June 13, 2008 - a 400-foot shot off Justin Masterson that had an apex of 45 feet.

Fastball (Fastest speed off bat)
March/April Winner: Travis Hafner (117.2 mph)
May Winner: Giancarlo Stanton (122.4 mph)
Stanton had a superb month of May, hitting 12 home runs. One of those was a 462-foot mammoth shot off the recently demoted Jamie Moyer on May 21 – it had a speed off bat of 122.4 mph. It is the fastest speed off bat since ESPN HR Tracker began tracking home runs in 2006.

Server (Pitcher who allowed the greatest cumulative distance)
March/April Winner: Ervin Santana
May Winner: Mike Minor
Minor and Colby Lewis each gave up 10 home runs in May, but Minor wins the tiebreaker by giving up an average home run distance of 406.2 feet to Lewis’ 383.6 feet. Minor gave up six home runs of 400-plus feet, including a 453-foot blast to Wilin Rosario on May 5.

Masher (Greatest average home run distance, min. five home runs)
March/April Winner: Josh Hamilton
May Winner: Mark Trumbo
Trumbo averaged 424.9 feet per homer in May, best in baseball. For the season, Trumbo has averaged 422.3 feet per homer, has five shots of 430-plus feet and has only hit one less than 400 feet.

For Stanton in May, ball exits stage left

May, 28, 2012
5/28/12
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ESPN Stats & InformationAfter recording just five extra-base hits in April, Giancarlo Stanton has nine doubles and 11 home runs in May.
The Miami Marlins scored three runs in the sixth inning, sparked by a two-run homer by Giancarlo Stanton, to beat the Washington Nationals and improve to an MLB-best 19-8 in May.

The Marlins have a chance to break the franchise record for wins in a month. Their 19 wins this month match the club record, previously set in August 1997.

The club’s resurgence after finishing 8-14 in April has been keyed by Stanton.

After hitting just one home run and slugging .342 in April, Stanton has hit 11 homers and is slugging .735 in May. He ranks fourth in the majors in slugging percentage this month and is tied with Josh Hamilton and Adam Dunn for the most May homers.

His biggest improvement has come in hitting to left field with authority. His slugging percentage to his pull side has more than tripled and 9 of his 11 HR this month have gone to left field.

He continues to adapt to playing at Marlins Park. In the club’s 13 May home games, he has five home runs and seven multi-hit games. In his first 11 home games this season, he hit a single homer and had just one two-hit game.

Stanton struggled against inside pitches in April, but has returned to his normal productivity against those pitches in May. Opposing pitchers are quickly adapting by throwing the pitch less frequently.

He has an isolated power (extra bases per at-bat) of .333 on pitches located on the inner third of the plate in May, after posting just a .034 mark in April. As shown in the table to the right, Stanton has been able to get the ball into the air with more frequency since the calendar turned.

Windy City Winners
• The Chicago Cubs snapped their 12-game losing streak with an 11-7 win against the San Diego Padres.

Something had to give in that game. The 12-game losing streak was tied for the longest in the majors this season with the Kansas City Royals, but the Padres have only five wins away from home, the lowest total in MLB.

• Aided by the wind blowing out to center at 24 miles per hour, the Cubs hit four home runs in a game for the first time since last August. They have won the last 13 games when they reached that plateau.

• The Chicago White Sox also picked up a win Monday behind the arm of Chris Sale. He finished with 15 strikeouts, one shy of the franchise record. Jack Harshman struck out 16 Boston Red Sox hitters on July 25, 1954.

• Sale’s opposite number didn’t have a bad game -- Matt Moore struck out 10 batters. According to our friends at the Elias Sports Bureau, they are the first opposing pitchers with at least 15 and 10 strikeouts in the same game since Pedro Martinez and Steve Trachsel in 2000.

They are the first pair of opposing lefties to each reach double figures in strikeouts since 1992, when Randy Johnson and Mark Langston pulled it off.

Stanton's blast off Lincecum tells the story

May, 26, 2012
5/26/12
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If you’re looking for a microcosm of the past month for Miami Marlins OF Giancarlo Stanton and San Francisco Giants P Tim Lincecum, look no further than the blast Stanton hit off of Lincecum in Miami’s 7-6 win Friday night.

Giancarlo Stanton
Stanton

The home run, a solo shot which came in the fourth inning, traveled 431 feet and was the first ball to hit the home run sculpture at Marlins Park. It was Stanton’s second straight game with a long ball, the third time this month that he has homered in back-to-back games.

As Stanton has gone this season, so have the Marlins. When he struggled in the opening month, hitting only one home run, the team sat in last place. In May, however, he has been on a tear. His 10 home runs this month are the most in baseball, and his OPS of 1.120 is almost double what it was in April. Miami, meanwhile, is right in the thick of the NL East.

Then there’s Lincecum. The NL Cy Young Award winner in 2008 and 2009 struggled yet again on Friday, allowing six earned runs and walking four batters in 5 2/3 innings. Lincecum was rolling along until he was rocked for five runs in the sixth, including a three-run bomb at the hands of Chris Coghlan. The defeat drops Linceum’s record this season to 2-5 and raises his ERA to 6.41.

The Marlins were able to get to Lincecum by putting the ball in the air. Of the 17 balls they put in play against him, 13 were hit in the air, the fourth-highest percentage against him since 2009. The Marlins also were able to lay off the righty’s offspeed stuff, swinging at just 31 percent of those pitches. And they had only five swings-and-misses with him on the mound.

Tim Lincecum
Lincecum

The Giants are now 0-5 in Lincecum’s last five starts, only one of which he made it through six innings. Much like Stanton, Lincecum also got off to a rough start in 2012. He started to turn it around at the end of April, but he has hit the skids again in May. He has only one quality start on the year.

While the Giants remain in second place, they will need improved pitching from their ace if they want to keep pace with the Dodgers. On the other hand, if the new-look Marlins continue to get red-hot hitting from Stanton, they could be a factor in the division race in the months ahead.

US Presswire/ESPN Stats & InfoDuring his 16-game hit streak, Josh Hamilton was 25-for-59 with 10 home runs.
Baseball’s 16th season of interleague play is under way with celebrations of natural rivalries -- Cubs against White Sox, Orioles against Nationals, A’s against Giants among others -- and in one instance a chance for National League fans to get a load of Josh Hamilton.

The Texas Rangers will travel down I-45 and give Houston Astros fans a look at baseball’s hottest hitter.

Hamilton already has the second-highest career batting average in interleague games, but also comes into this series on a historic tear.

Hamilton’s 16-game hit streak came to an end on Thursday when his day off ended early against Oakland. He pinch-hit and ended up 0-for-2 in a loss to the Athletics, but Hamilton still leads the American League in home runs, RBIs and batting average.

Hamilton’s hitting streak included a week, from May 7-13, that might have been as impressive as any in history.

He hit .467 with nine home runs and 18 RBI and an OPS of 1.963. His week included the 16th four-home run game in baseball history, and his nine home runs for the week matched the combined total hit that week by last season’s nine leading home run hitters: Jose Bautista 3, Curtis Granderson 2, Giancarlo Stanton 2, Dan Uggla 1 and Prince Fielder 1.

Texas and Houston meet each season in home-and-home series in interleague play (competing for the Silver Boot trophy), so the Astros have experienced Hamilton’s bat. Over the past three seasons against Houston pitching, Hamilton is 26-for-65 (.400) with four home runs and 13 RBI.

Choice matchup: slider vs. cutter

April, 11, 2012
4/11/12
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AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee
Roy Halladay celebrates after throwing a perfect game against the Marlins on May 29, 2010.
The Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies continue their three-game series tonight (ESPN2, 7 ET). This will be the first game for the Marlins without manager Ozzie Guillén, who was suspended five games by the team for his comments regarding his respect for Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro. This is the first time Guillén has been suspended in his managerial career. Joey Cora will make his managerial debut in the interim.

Starting Pitchers
Josh Johnson and Roy Halladay have started against each other four times, with Johnson’s teams winning three of the four games. Since Halladay joined the Phillies in 2010, they have faced off three times, with both pitchers going at least seven innings. In those games, a grand total of six runs were scored – and one perfect game was thrown (by Halladay).

The key for Johnson tonight will be how he commands his slider. Last season, opponents were 5-for-68 (.074) on at-bats ending in his slider. The league average was .217. Right-handed hitters were just 2-for-40 (.050) against the slider, with Albert Pujols and Justin Turner recording the only hits.

However, in his first outing this season, Johnson had trouble commanding the slider and allowed two hits off the pitch, both to David Frese.

In his first start this season, Halladay recorded the win over the Pittsburgh Pirates after throwing eight innings, allowing two hits, no earned runs and striking out five. The key to his success against the Pirates was his cutter, which has become his main weapon of choice. In that outing, Halladay threw only seven regular fastballs among the 92 pitches he threw.

Key Stat
The Phillies offense has been anemic to start the season. Their four extra-base hits are the fewest in the majors and no team but the Minnesota Twins have scored fewer than the Phillies’ 2.0 runs per game. Not since 1997 have the Phillies scored as few as eight runs in their first four games of the season. Philadelphia finished 68-94 that season and in last place in the NL East.

Player to Watch
Giancarlo Stanton has yet to hit a home run this season after hitting a career-high 34 last year. Overall, Stanton improved across the board in 2011, compared to his rookie year. He cut his strikeouts down, increased his walk rate from the league average to better than 83 percent of the league, all while increasing his power output. His 5.7 Wins Above Replacement, according the Baseball-Reference, ranked second among MLB rightfielders (Jose Bautista, 8.5).

Interesting Fact
Stanton’s full name is a sonorous mouthful: Giancarlo Cruz Michael Stanton. He is not Italian, and Giancarlo is not a family name – his parents just liked it. In school, Stanton, a California native, went by Giancarlo until the fifth grade.

Will Cohen contributed to this post

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