Wipe up your drool. Yes, it was real. You really saw that last night. That happened.
Giancarlo Stanton dunked on the entire Home Run Derby and everyone in attendance.
He isn’t technically an All-Star, but he is one in our hearts and eyes. Never mind that he didn’t get voted onto the team, or that he’s only hitting .233, or that he went through a Stanton homer-sized swoon for a few months and is currently only the fourth-best hitter on his team by wRC+.
Nay, what matters is that Stanton is the baseball version of the Incredible Hulk.
That highlight package doesn’t quite do what Stanton did on Monday justice. Here’s all 24 homers that he hit in the first round of the competition, but even that doesn’t show the prodigious pace with which he deposited shot after shot into the seats.
Stanton first competed in 2014, under the simply awful format that forced him to wait hours between rounds. He was effectively iced and went out of the second round with a whimper. The new clock-based, hit-all-the-damn-dingers-you-can format allowed him to total 61 homers in just over 12 minutes of work between all three rounds.
Somehow, he managed to almost hit a few balls out of Petco Park. Petco Park is notorious for being a pitcher’s haven. They’ve brought in the walls, sure, but the walls weren’t exactly an issue for Stanton, who was peppering the second deck and upper levels of the Western Metal Supply Company sign over and over again.
This is the kind of showing that Stanton has caused many to dream of for so long. He is perhaps the most physically impressive player since Bo Jackson, and his home runs routinely cause even the most jaded of fans to guffaw. His violently simple swing and massive frame transform his body into a human missile silo. At age 26, he has already hit 201 home runs, and has months to go before he reaches his 27th year. The only reason he doesn’t have more is that he has only played in 145 or more games twice in his previous six seasons in the big leagues. Health woes have found him like vengeful bloodhounds, be they in the form of knee surgery or a fastball to the face.
If he stays healthy, Stanton will make his own fortune. 600 home runs could quite easily be attainable, even if he plays out the full life of his massive contract in cavernous Marlins Park. If he moves somewhere like Camden Yards or Fenway, or, God forbid, Coors Field, there’s no telling what could happen.
Stanton won’t play in tonight’s game. He didn’t play well enough to earn a spot on the National League team, but he may have provided the most entertaining moment of the midseason festivities. We’ve never seen a Derby performance on this kind of level before. Stanton will likely continue to hit well once play resumes (he’s hit to a 166 wRC+ over the last 30 days), and he’ll be a vital part of the Marlins’ push for a playoff spot.
Giancarlo Stanton isn’t an All-Star. But he has a potential Hall of Fame career ahead of him, and nobody’s likely to provide any sort of spectacle tonight that could even hope to come close to the madness that he wrought on San Diego during the Derby.