Taking it to another level: Stars making cases for Cooperstown

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To say that Giancarlo Stanton is merely on a tear at this point may be an insult of the highest order to the Marlin. Through the All-Star break, Stanton was having a perfectly ordinary season for a star slugger, hitting .277/.360/.572 with 26 home runs, and most of the slugger talk was surrounding the slam-dunk Rookies of the Year, Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger. Since baseball's mini-vacation, however, Stanton has wrought a terrible vengeance on opposing pitchers, hitting 26 home runs in just 48 games through Friday, good enough for a .301/.415/.801 triple-slash line.

That line is crazy enough to get my stat senses tingling. What's more is that he isn't just having a great season, but one that puts him firmly back in the Hall of Fame trajectory, a path that injuries diverted him from to a degree.

First off, can Stanton catch Barry Bonds for the single-season home run record? As much as baseball would like to have an seasonal home run leader who isn't part of a drug controversy, Stanton needs 21 home runs in 26 games to tie the single-season record. That's a tall order. As scary as Stanton has been over the course of the past two months, it's asking him to improve on that ridiculous HR rate by 50 percent. That's not happening. But he's now just a hair under 50/50 to get to 60 home runs in the ZiPS projections, and that's nothing to sneeze at, with only five players in MLB history hitting the 60-dinger threshold.

But let's move beyond that to the more interesting question, his long-term outlook, and the outlook of other players who have done enough this season to have an impact on their shots at Cooperstown.