2018 Pinstripe Preview: Giancarlo Stanton
The Yankees will head into this years’ spring training with considerably more hype and buzz than previous years. The Yankees look different now than they did in any other time in recent memory. The roster is loaded with young players and budding stars but for the first time in several years, the Yankees will feature a bonafide superstar in the middle of their lineup in Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton is as fearsome a hitter as you’ll find in MLB and is coming off season in which he won the National League MVP award. He will now join Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez in the middle of what should be a really fun lineup to watch every day. For the cost of just Starlin Castro and a few lower level prospects, Stanton will now call Yankee Stadium home.
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Stanton put on one heck of a show at the plate in 2017, smashing 59 home runs while posting a .281 batting average with 132 RBI, a .376 OBP and a .631 slugging percentage. For his efforts he was rewarded with the NL MVP, a Silver Slugger award and his fourth career All-Star appearance. He set career best marks for home runs, hits, runs scored, doubles and RBI and his 59 home runs were the most in single season since Barry Bonds hit 73 in 2003. Stanton has displayed frightening power at the plate for his whole career and last season it all came together for him as he turned in a career year. The Yankees can only hope he continues to put up years like that going forward.
Stanton’s work in the field gets far less attention than his work at the plate but he is a solid fielder. He is a right fielder by trade like Aaron Judge, and like Judge, he has a big frame but moves well for his size and has a strong arm. In 2017, he started 149 games in right field and made just four errors while posting a .988 fielding percentage with nine assists. We will see going forward how much time Stanton will actually see in the Yankees’ outfield, but he will not be a liability when he takes the field.
There has been some concern for Stanton throughout his career in regard to injury and that is definitely warranted, especially considering the size of his contract going forward. Stanton has a big, athletic build but that has not stopped from him being bitten by the injury bug. Over the years he has missed large chunks of time with, among other things, a broken hand in 2015, a broken jaw after being hit in the face by a pitch in 2014, as well as injuries to his groin, abdominal, knee, hamstrings, quadriceps and shoulder in the years prior. He is coming off of a year where played a career high in games and was finally able to stay on the field and coming to a team that might not feel a great sense of urgency to put him in the field. Although he is a solid fielder, Stanton is perhaps the third or fourth best outfielder on the Yankees. Because of that, the team will likely be able to mix and match his appearances in the field with regular appearances at DH to keep him fresh. Stanton’s contract represents a significant investment and it will only pay off if he remains on the field.
Coming off his epic 2017 season and stepping into the middle of the Yankee lineup, the expectations for Stanton and this Yankee team will be high. If Stanton is able to repeat his 2017 season and play the majority of the games, then he will likely put on a show again this year. The ability to make regular appearances at DH will be a new and welcome option for Stanton and the Yankees will probably take advantage of that with both Stanton and Judge. Both are capable outfielders and should prove to be fairly interchangeable. Based on his career thus far, Stanton will probably good for a batting average of at least .260-.270 with around 35-40 homers. You might think that number is a little low, but Yankee Stadium should be a very friendly park for Stanton to hit in and I’m prepared to be wrong on that one. As long as he stays on the field, Giancarlo Stanton will be a force in the middle of the Yankee lineup and well worth the price of admission.
Article by Matt Graziano