Among the more concerning storylines we monitored in 2023, and one we will watch closely in 2024, is Giancarlo Stanton’s decline. The former MVP and five-time All-Star can still hit the ball harder than anyone, but he clearly lost a step last season. He set career worsts in almost every category, a low point in his mostly excellent career, though he did still smash 24 home runs in 101 games. It wouldn’t be shocking to see him experience at least a partial revival, and he can still crush the ball when he gets a hold of one.
His struggles of late shouldn’t completely overshadow the career he’s had, and his most prominent tool could carry him past some significant names on the all-time home run leaderboard. He’s entering his age-34 season having crested the 400 mark, with 402 dingers, and has his sights set on passing some former All-Stars and legends.
To structure this, I’ll use his percentile projections from PECOTA to see who Stanton will be in line to surpass, depending on how he performs in 2024. After most recently topping greats like Dale Murphy, Andrés Galarraga, and Al Kaline, let’s take a look at who might be next.
1st percentile: 13 homers (415 HR)
Duke Snider, Mark Teixeira, Alfonso Soriano, Darrell Evans
With a mostly worst-case scenario for Big G in ‘24, he can still pass some big names and some old friends. This is an achievable number, and if he plays at all this season, it feels hard to picture him not at least getting to 415.
Snider is a Hall of Famer and eight-time All-Star, who finished with 407 home runs over his 18-year career. With the Dodgers from 1953-57, Duke swatted at least 40 homers in five consecutive seasons with a dominant 161 OPS+ in that stretch.
Big Tex and Soriano were great players in their own right, with 409 and 412 homers respectively, many of which came with the Yankees. Teixeira led the AL with 39 in his first year in pinstripes, and averaged 34 per season during his first decade in the league. Soriano found his power stroke after getting a full-time role with the Yanks before being traded to Texas in the A-Rod deal. He topped out with 46 in his lone season with the Nationals, when he joined the 40/40 club.
Darrell Evans was an underrated slugger who played for over two decades. He topped 40 homers twice in his career, notably 12 years apart, with Atlanta in 1973, and Detroit in 1985.
20th percentile: 18 homers (420 HR)
There is a noticeable gap on the leaderboard here, not passing anyone else in the case of an 18-homer season, but he’d be closing in on the next tier.
50th percentile: 21 homers (423 HR)
Same situation here, but even closer still with his median projection of 21 long balls.
70th percentile: 24 homers (426 HR)
Edwin Encarnación, ties Billy Williams
Edwin is another former Yankee that Stanton could pass with a reasonable 2024. With a repeat of his output last season in 101 games, he would do just that. After a handful of seasons with the Reds, Encarnación broke out with the Blue Jays in 2012, beginning a six-year stretch where he led all hitters with 231 homers and was elected to three All-Star teams. Near the end of his career, he tacked on 13 more with the Yankees in just 44 games with the Yanks in 2019.
Williams is the next Hall-of-Famer in Stanton’s sights, and he was a model of consistency in his 18-year career. Beginning with a Rookie of the Year campaign in 1961, Williams hit at least 20 homers in 13 consecutive seasons for the Cubs to highlight his outstanding career.
90th percentile: 29 homers (431 HR)
Billy Williams, Mike Piazza, tying Cal Ripken Jr.
Just shy of 30 bombs gets Stanton past Williams, and on par with a couple more legends. Piazza (427 HR) is the all-time leader among catchers, well ahead of Johnny Bench’s 389. The 62nd-round draft pick burst right onto the scene in his first full season in 1993, blasting 35 homers to kick off a decade stretch where he averaged exactly that while manning the backstop for Dodgers, Marlins, and Mets.
Ripken is perhaps the biggest name on Stanton’s hit list, as he bashed 431 homers in his career. Over the course of his remarkable 3001 games in the majors, the Iron Man averaged 24 homers per year for 15 seasons from 1982-96. He set a high-water mark with 34 in 1992, likely the best offensive season of his career, in which he captured his second MVP award.
99th percentile: 36 homers (438 HR)
Cal Ripken Jr., Juan González, Andruw Jones, Carlos Beltrán
This is where we start dreaming big. If Big G can tally his most homers since 2018, he would pass another chunk of recent greats. González is a two-time MVP and fellow Home Run Derby winner to Stanton. In an era filled with video game numbers, Juan Gone can often be pushed aside, but his numbers were fantastic. In an eight-year stretch from ’92-’99 he bashed over 300 of his homers, and captured a pair of MVPs for the Rangers.
Jones, who matched González’ mark of 434 home runs, is making his push for the Hall of Fame. The five-time All-Star and ten-time Gold Glover seemed to be on pace for an even bigger number, but his career largely hit a wall once he turned 30. Just three seasons after becoming one of 31 players to ever hit 50 bombs in a season, Jones never topped 20 again. Like some others on this list, he spent the end of his career with the Yankees, which included a nice mini renaissance in 2011 where he hit 13 in 77 games.
Beltrán also spent part of his career twilight in the Bronx on his run to 435 total homers. Like Jones, he’s making a push for a spot in Cooperstown, but is being held back by his involvement in the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. Aside from this, he had an excellent career, making nine All-Star teams as a five-tool type center fielder, including his last with the Yankees in 2016.
40 Home Runs (442)
This number is off of PECOTA’s map, and probably for good reason. But, it’s not like it’s truly impossible, and what is this article if not shooting for the moon?
Hitting 40 bombs, surprisingly for just the second time in his career, would put Giancarlo past Hall of Famer Andre Dawson, White Sox great Paul Konerko, and former Yankee and MVP Jason Giambi. These are more than likely discussions for next offseason, but hey, why not dream about Stanton blowing us all away. Either way, as he likely enters the final four years of his time in New York, we can at least watch his jaw-dropping bombs as he tries to climb up the all-time list.