Over the last few of weeks, we've offered introductions to our Best Players of 2015 series. We set the stage for the whole endeavor, and we then revealed the players who landed between 45th and 11th on the list. If you need a refresher on the methodology, nine of our writers ranked players based on how well they thought players would perform during the 2015 season. They ordered them from No. 1 to No. 20, and those players got point values (20 for first, 19 for second, etc) and were ranked by the sum of their points. The highest possible score is 180. We're already told you Anthony Rendon ranked 10th, Jose Bautista finished ninth, Miguel Cabrera landed at eighth, Josh Donaldson ended up seventh, Buster Posey was sixth, and Felix Hernandez took fifth.
No. 4: Giancarlo Stanton, Right Field (Miami Marlins)
Steve Mitchell/USA Today
Somehow, Giancarlo Stanton is just 25 years old. He's been around a while, as he arrived in the big leagues early and for good in 2010. The mashing outfielder strikes out a fair amount, but the damage he does during the remainder of his plate appearances makes him a sight to behold no matter the cast of characters around him.
And that cast will be the Marlins for several more years after Stanton signed a massive contract that could keep him in Miami for 13 seasons and earn him more than $300 million. He may opt out when the time comes, but for now, he'll anchor baseball in Florida and it's not hard to see why our voters peg him as the fourth best player in the game.
Why We Love Him
Giancarlo Stanton might be a solid corner outfielder or he might not be. He might not be a standout base runner. But he's not terrible at either of those things, so we get to shove them aside and talk about the offense because the offense is extraordinary.
Stanton ran a career high 159 wRC+ in 2014 on the heels a tremendous walk rate and immense power. He hit 37 HR while calling Miami home and filled in the gaps with more than 30 doubles in just 145 games. If he hadn't missed time at the very end of the season after being hit in the face with a pitch, he might well have had a 40 HR season in an age when no one hits 40 HR.
His ability to get on base and hit for power puts his bat rare company. He's not quite on the level of Trout's entire game and he lacks Cabrera's longevity and superhuman contact ability, but there's no doubt he's one of baseball's best hitters.
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And the projections are buying what Stanton is selling. Steamer likes him for 5.5 WAR in 600 PA. ZiPS predicts 5.7 WAR in 614 PA. PECOTA sees a 5.9 WARP in 604 PA.
If he's entering his peak rather than leaving it, those projections might be conservative, too.
Where He Fits In
Statistics via FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus.
Neil Weinberg is the Associate Managing Editor at Beyond The Box Score, the Site Educator at FanGraphs, and writes enthusiastically at New English D.