Between Gleyber Torres’ continued development, both Aarons (Judge and Hicks) health and DJ LeMahieu’s contract status, one talented New York Yankees‘ slugger isn’t getting enough attention. That, and of course, the fact that, for some people, he is “constantly” injured and had a “down” 2018, his last full season.
Yes, Giancarlo Stanton couldn’t manage to stay healthy in 2019, battling a myriad of physical issues that limited him to 18 games. And yes, if you compare his 38 home runs with the 59 he hit in 2017 with the Miami Marlins, you will surely be disappointed. But when a batter has a .266/.343/.509 line, a 129 wRC+, over 100 runs and RBI, and almost 40 homers and people are still bummed, well, you know you set some lofty standards.
Stanton is perhaps the New York Yankees’ purest slugger. He is capable of going on a home run binge and knock 15 or 20 balls out of the park in a 45 game span. And, believe us, few players work harder on their physique than him.
The Yankees’ premier slugger
If health cooperates, Stanton could lead the Yankees in home runs and RBI and here is why:
- He should be healthy to open the season, if there is one, of course. Stanton suffered a Grade 1 calf strain in late February that limited during spring training, but that is well in the rearview mirror now.
- There is no certainty that the Yankees’ other prime candidate to lead the team in home runs, Aaron Judge, will be healthy to start the season. He is still battling a rib injury.
- He should rotate between left field and the designated hitter spot, keeping fresh throughout the season – in theory.
- He has averaged 34.75 home runs in seasons he has played 100 or more games. That is a very high floor.
- He is among the yearly leaders in average exit velocity and peak exit velocity, per Statcast data. Few batters hit the ball harder than Stanton when he is right.
All in all, we should get past the fact that some nagging injuries derailed his 2019 season, and concentrate on the things that Stanton does right that can justify his lofty contract: hitting home runs. And, if healthy, he will knock his fair share of balls out of the park.