This is not a comparison game, but we’re going to compare the Miami Marlins to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a second. These two franchises are in drastically different situations. The Marlins’ first season was in 1993, while the Dodgers’ was more than 100 years before that. Despite this, the Marlins have had one season of 50-plus home runs from a player, and the Dodgers have zero. Baseball, man. Let’s check out how many times Giancarlo Stanton shows up among the Marlins home run leaders for a single season.
Marlins Home Run Leaders: Top 5
Giancarlo Stanton: 59 Home Runs in 2017
We should be thanking our lucky stars that Giancarlo Stanton was healthy enough to play a full year during what was right in the middle of his prime. His 59 dingers are among the most home runs in a season in MLB history, and he made that effort worthwhile. He not only led baseball with that number, but he also led the league with 132 RBI and won his first NL MVP award.
We’ve already discussed how a powerful July and August helped make this performance from Stanton possible (he slugged 30 of his 59 home runs over that two-month span), so let’s look at it in a different way. As one would imagine, when the right-handed slugger was cookin’, the Marlins were winning. He slashed .381/.476/.862 with 41 home runs and 96 RBI in victories. Those numbers dropped to .183/.273/.403, 18, and 36, respectively, in losses.
Also, it’s worth noting that Stanton spent the majority of his plate appearances in the two-hole. He racked up 493 plate appearances in that spot of the order, and it’s a spot where he launched 47 of his home runs. Read more about the night he tied Miami’s single-season home run record here, via Fish Stripes.
Gary Sheffield: 42 Home Runs in 1996
Gary Sheffield also has the pleasure of taking up residence on the Dodgers’ single-season home run leaderboard, but before that happened, he enjoyed his first 40-homer campaign with the Marlins. Sheff had been with Florida since the middle of the 1993 season, but 1996 was the first opportunity he had to play more than 140 games. He appeared in 161, and took advantage by slashing .314/.465/.624 with those 42 home runs, 120 RBI, and 118 runs scored.
The outfielder found a way to be consistent in most situations during this campaign. Whether he was facing a lefty or a righty, at home or away, or before or after the All-Star break, his OPS wasn’t all that different. The same could be said when looking at his performance on a monthly basis — he posted an OPS above 1.000 in five of the six months, with the lone exception being a .985 mark in May. He also didn’t hit fewer than five homers in any month, with April (11) and August (nine) being the high points.
Giancarlo Stanton: 37 Home Runs in 2014
The 2014 season was Stanton’s age-24 campaign, but he’d already racked up plenty of dingers by this point in his career. This performance was the second time he slugged 37 in a season, and it was his third year with at least 30 homers. It was the first time he appeared in 140-plus games since 2011 and it was also the first time he led the league in homers.
Despite playing in a cavernous Marlins Park that’s not friendly to power hitters, Stanton made a habit of slugging plenty of dingers in front of the home crowd. In this instance, 24 of his 37 homers came in Miami. And while he didn’t enjoy a month with double-digit home runs, he did hit eight on three different occasions (April, May, and August). Those were also the only three times he racked up at least 20 RBI in a month, too.
Marcell Ozuna: 37 Home Runs in 2017
While Stanton was busy lighting the world on fire and winning the NL MVP award, his teammate, Marcell Ozuna, was enjoying his own career year at the time. In the two seasons that preceded his 2017 performance, the outfielder collected 33 homers and 120 RBI in 1,102 plate appearances. It took him about half the time (679 plate appearances, to be exact) to outperform both of those numbers (37 homers and 124 RBI).
Similar to Stanton, Ozuna also enjoyed hitting at Marlins Park, where 22 of his homers were launched. And if we look at his season in two-month increments, he remained quite consistent in the power category. Ozuna slugged 14 homers by the end of May, and another 10 between June and July. He finished strong by combining for 13 round-trippers between August and September, as well.
Miguel Cabrera: 34 Home Runs in 2007
We had a tie here between Miguel Cabrera and Stanton, who also hit 34 homers in 2011. So, we went to the tiebreakers, and Miggy won in both wRC+ (142 vs. 141) and fWAR (5.0 vs. 4.2). This was Cabrera’s final season with the Marlins before getting traded to the Detroit Tigers, and he went out with a bang.
It was his fourth straight season with 100-plus RBI, a streak that would go on for another seven years. It was also his third season of 30-plus homers, and his first of seven straight years reaching that benchmark. Regarding 2007, it’s obvious that if you kept Miggy in check at the plate, opposing teams had a good chance of winning. The stark difference in these two situations is quite eye-popping, though. In wins, Miggy slashed .424/.508/.784 with 23 home runs and 81 RBI. In losses, his triple slash dropped to .235/.308/.386 with 11 homers and 36 RBI. For those keeping score at home, that’s an OPS of 1.292 in victories vs. an OPS of .694 in losses.
As it turns out, he got himself onto another home run list or two in the coming years.
Marlins Home Run Leaders: The Rest
Stanton (34 in 2011), Hanley Ramirez (33 in 2008), Cabrera (33 in 2004 and 2005), Dan Uggla (33 in 2010), and Carlos Delgado (33 in 2005), make up the remainder of the Marlins’ top-10 single-season home run leaderboard. Find the rest here at FanGraphs.