Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton launched his 21st home run since the All-Star break Thursday against the Philadelphia Phillies. His second-half hot start is among the best in MLB history, posting the second-most of any player through 40 games, per the Elias Sports Bureau (via ESPN Stats & Info).
Stanton has his 21 bombs through just 38 games since the All-Star break, giving him two more opportunities to add to his total and catch Mark McGwire. The St. Louis Cardinal sent 23 flying over the fence in the first 40 games of the second half during the 1999 season.
While Stanton's second half has gotten off to a flying start, he's displayed his power throughout the 2017 campaign. Through 124 games played this season, he's knocked 47 baseballs over the fence and has already reached 100 RBI on the season.
The 27-year-old star right fielder has already discussed his opinions on the matter of the single-season home run record, stating that Roger Maris' 61 home runs from 1961 are his target, per the Miami Herald. Stanton also suggested Babe Ruth's 60 home runs could be invalidated because the league had yet to be integrated at the time.
The record books currently display Barry Bonds and his 73 home runs atop the single-season leaderboard, but his 2001 season—along with McGwire's and Sammy Sosa's campaigns—are shrouded with the controversy of performance-enhancing drug use.
Stanton possesses little chance of catching Bonds' mark from 2001, but he would need just 15 home runs over the remainder of the season to beat Maris' total. Given his recent stretch of success at the plate, he may consider himself the record-holder for single-season homers. Whether or not he truly can claim the title would likely be open for interpretation.