Giancarlo Stanton is currently one of the best players in Major League Baseball and he is also joining elite company when looking at the history of the game.
The Miami Marlins have not had many All-Star Game starters in franchise history but Stanton is currently on his way to joining the short list. As of the last ballot update, Stanton was second amongst all National League outfielders in votes. The top three will start the game barring injury.
Stanton currently leads the National League in runs batted in and is tied for the lead in home runs. His .300 average and .396 on-base-percentage are nothing to ignore either. The slugger boasts a robust .983 OPS which is good for third best in the NL per MLB.com.
Stanton's stats could be listed all day as could his accomplishments over his short but productive career. The key though is to take a step back and look at how he measures up against the greats in MLB history.
The first name to look at is arguably the greatest slugger of all-time, Henry Aaron. The man who once held the HR record for MLB and some would say still does. Earlier on Wednesday, a graphic was tweeted by ESPN.
In that graphic, Aaron's stats are shown as actually being worse than Stanton's through 550 career games. Stanton has 31 more home runs than Aaron did at that point and the two are in a lock for OBP and slugging percentage.
Consider another legendary slugger, Harmon Kileebrew. His average 162- game season was .256/.376/.509 with 38 HR and 105 RBI per Basebal-Reference.com. Extremely solid statistics and the reason Killebrew is in Cooperstown.
Stanton's average numbers are eerily similar however at .269/.359/.541 with 39 HR and 102 RBI. In fact Stanton's career average OPS of .900 tops Killebrew's which sat at .884.
Killebrew and Aaron of course continued to have tremendous success during long careers while Stanton is still at the beginning of his. He would need to keep this production up to join them on the wall of the Hall of Fame one day. There's no reason to believe he won't however as long as he can stay on the field.
The Marlins have a rare talent in the middle of their lineup, their best offensive force since Miguel Cabrera was in South Florida. That talent comes with a price however and Stanton may eventually play his way out of town just as Cabrera did due to increasing salary demands. That's why the biggest question may end up being which team's hat Stanton ends up wearing on his plaque in Cooperstown.