Is Giancarlo Stanton the strongest hitter the game has ever seen?

On Wednesday’s edition of Pardon the Interruption, Jason Whitlock and Dan LeBatard discussed Giancarlo Stanton, with the latter going so far as to say that he’s the strongest hitter that we have ever seen in Major League Baseball. Of course, the typically foolhardy Whitlock disagreed rather emphatically, but there is absolutely truth behind what LeBatard declared on that particular episode.

It seems like each night, we receive word of yet another Giancarlo Stanton blast that travels over 470 feet. Not only is he on pace for over 60 home runs this season, which would make him the first player in 14 years to do so, he’s hitting those home runs into different area codes. He’s already at 27 home runs for the season, just 10 off of his career high, which he’s reached twice.

Now, Stanton’s contact rate isn’t particularly impressive. His 66% contact rate marks the lowest of his career, if it stays that low, and he’s swinging and missing at his highest rate (15.0%) since 2012. Oddly enough, his swing habits haven’t changed too much, but his contact rates have dropped across the board. Although that’s not something that folks tend to care too much about when you’re making contact with the type of declaration of power that Giancarlo Stanton does seemingly every time he comes in contact with a baseball.

Stanton is making hard contact exactly 50% of the time. No other player in baseball, regardless of league or position, can touch that figure. The two closest players to that are Brandon Belt and Troy Tulowitzki, who both come in at a 44.1% hard contact rate. Combine that with the league’s 11th highest flyball rate, and it’s no wonder that Stanton’s currently sporting a 32.1% HR/FB rate.

But it’s his exit velocity that truly brings what Stanton is doing this year into focus. This is Stanton’s exit velocity from week-to-week this season, in comparison to the league average:

Throughout the entire season, he’s been far above the league average. Look at his last week, where he averaged 105 MPH off the bat. His spray chart helps drive the point home even farther:

That’s an absurd amount of red. In focusing on that particular category, above 115 MPH in exit velocity, Stanton has hit 18 balls that have traveled with that type of velocity. Eighteen. The next closest player to that figure is Carlos Gonzalez, who has hit three balls with an exit velocity over 115 MPH. In fact, the rest of the league combined has hit 22 balls at that velocity. Stanton is averaging 97.5 MPH off the bat. Nobody else in the league has a percentage above 94.

There are a lot of quality power hitters in Major League Baseball, who hit a lot of home runs. But at this point in time, nobody compares to what Giancarlo Stanton is doing. He’s not just hitting home runs. He’s abusing baseballs. Nobody this season can hold a candle to what he’s doing, nor can anyone in the last several years.

As far as LeBatard’s comment related to Stanton being the strongest hitter that we’ve ever seen? There’s certainly reason to find credence in it. We don’t need to sort through a bunch of research to know that players, in general, are exponentially stronger than they were decades ago. So while we can’t conclude that Giancarlo Stanton is the strongest player to ever play baseball beyond a shadow of a doubt, his hard hit percentages and exit velocity indicate that he might be just that.

**Statistics via FanGraphs
***Exit Velocity Data via Baseball Savant

Randy Holt is the managing editor for Statliners. You can follow him on Twitter @RandallPnkFloyd.