This is not meant to be overly informative, but I found it interesting and I thought some of you might feel the same. Every now and then I’ll do some browsing around trying to find minor league careers of players who are doing what Mike Stanton is doing. This is a lot harder than it sounds, as there nothing like Baseball References Play-Index or even league registries. Tack on the fact that Stanton’s power is notoriously rare, and finding comparable minor league players is very difficult.
Well, I was looking at Ryan Howard‘s comparable players (Since Ryan Howard is a possible future comparison for Mike Stanton), and came across one name that surprised me how well it matched up: Jim Gentile.
Take a look at how closely Jim Gentile’s age 19-20 season matched up against Stanton’s age 18-19
Gentile was a year older, and Stanton spent more time in AA, but it’s amazing how close their batting average and power numbers match up. The biggest issue with this though is that strike outs and walks were not recorded back then. Was Gentile’s average an issue because of strike outs, or because of BABIP? We can’t know.
Gentile became a MLB regular at age 26, even though he’d continue to demolish the minor leagues . He’d play for 7 seasons, putting up a very impressive .260/.368/.468 slash line, good for a 141 wRC+. To put that in comparison to this day and age, Ryan Howard’s career wRC+ is 141 (not surprising how Gentile came up as a comparison for Howard). How does his MLB career compare to what my current Stanton projection is? One thing to remember is the time period he played in (the 60’s), so rather than posting the strait peripherals, I’ll be posting the % above league average (For Stanton, I’ll use ML average for past 3 seasons).
As we can see, Gentile has quite the huge advantage in BB and K rates. The question mostly comes down to, can Stanton transform himself into the hitter he was in Jupiter? Doing this would get him around Gentile’s K/BB rates (14% BB rate and 24% K rate would be +61% and +37% over league average respectively).
So becoming Jim Gentile is more of “This is Stanton’s upside” rather than “This is what to expect.” Still, that’s quite the upside. And no Marlin has put up a higher OPS+ than Jim Gentile did in 1961, with a whopping 187. He finished third in MVP voting that year, behind Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. He picked the wrong season to have a career year.