Since July 5, Stanton has 29 home runs in 47 games. From July 17 through Aug. 15, he hit 18 homers in 27 games, including a career-best streak of six straight games with a home run. Only five other players in MLB history had 50 home runs by August and, according to Elias, Stanton reached the milestone faster than anyone since 2001, when Barry Bonds hit his 50th in the San Francisco Giants’ 117th game of the season, en route to setting the major league record with 73 homers in a season.
And now Stanton’s consistency gives him a chance to dethrone Bonds as the all-time home-run king.
According to Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections, Stanton will end the year with 58 home runs. Steamer projections are slightly more optimistic with an end-of-season total of 60. But these are averages, making it possible to see Stanton hit more than the 61 home runs Roger Maris launched in 1961 with a smaller, but not insignificant chance, Stanton hits 74 or more.
Let’s start with the chase for Maris, who Stanton believes holds the true home run record.
Stanton has been hitting a home run once every 2.6 games on the season with an even better pace (once per 1.6 games) since July 5. If we go with the full season average Stanton is on pace for a 62- or 63-home run season. If we use his pace since July, he is on track for 69 or 70 home runs. Overall, based on this year’s performance, Stanton has a 56 percent chance of reaching 62 or more home runs.
The more challenging chase for Stanton, however, is for a 73-home run season. Using his season-long averages (a home run once every 2.6 games) gives Stanton a 4.3 percent chance of displacing Bonds at the top of the record books with 74 home runs or more.
Those estimates could be low considering Stanton and the Marlins’ last road trip of the season has them traveling to Arizona and Colorado — two of the best hitter’s parks in baseball — for six of their remaining 10 games of the season.
Chase Field in Arizona ranks fourth this season for home-run park effects, allowing a home-run rate that is 22.4 percent higher than average. Coors Field ranks third (24.9 percent higher than average). Stanton hasn’t visited these parks in 2017, but he has hit home runs in 7.6 and 10.9 percent of plate appearances at those venues, respectively, over his career. And most years his home-run rate in those parks is significantly above his season average. For example, he hit two home runs in 13 plate appearances at Coors Field in 2016 (15.4 percent), more than double his average (5.7 percent) for the season. Knowing this, we can estimate he is most likely to hit between two and five home runs during this six-game stretch, with a high of 12 and an average of four home runs combined for both series.
In addition, almost half of Miami’s remaining games (15 out of 32) are against the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves, teams that surrender the sixth (1.43) and 12th (1.3) most home runs per nine innings this season. The Marlins will also play the New York Mets, owners of the ninth-highest home run rate (1.37 per nine innings), for a three-game stretch in September. In these games he should hit between seven and 14 home runs, with a high of 24 and an average of 11.
Adjusting his season-long home-run rate for strength of schedule and then using that to simulate the remainder of the 2017 season thousands of times, assuming he is fully healthy and isn’t intentionally walked more often as the season progresses, Stanton has a 6.3 percent chance of pushing Bonds aside and becoming baseball’s all-time home run leader. Those certainly are not overwhelming odds, but high enough to make his run at the record worth watching closely.