The Yankees are getting underrated production from their $98 million outfielder

MLB: New York Yankees at Kansas City Royals
Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Giancarlo Stanton, the New York Yankees‘ seasoned outfielder, often captures the attention of fans and analysts alike, not just for occasionally swinging at pitches in the dirt but for his capability to launch balls deep into the night sky. Despite some regression in recent seasons, Stanton’s raw power continues to be a formidable asset for the Yankees.

Analyzing Stanton’s 2024 Performance

The 34-year-old veteran experienced a notable dip in performance in 2023, marking it as his career-worst season with a batting average of just .191 and a slugging percentage of .420 across 101 games.

Despite hitting 24 homers and driving in 60 RBIs, his wRC+ of 89 classified him as a below-average player for the first time. However, the 2024 season has seen a resurgence of his characteristic power, ranking in the 100th percentile for bat speed and 99th percentile for both average exit velocity and barrel rate.

While his whiff rate and strikeout rate remain concerningly high, Stanton has adapted his approach at the plate under the guidance of the Yankees’ coaching staff, who have encouraged him to be more aggressive.

This strategy has resulted in a hard-hit rate of 53.8%—the highest since 2021—and a barrel rate of 19.2%, his best since 2019. Over 63 games this season, Stanton’s stats include a .238 batting average, .488 slugging percentage, 17 home runs, 40 RBIs, and a 122 wRC+, indicating a significant improvement over the previous year.

May 18, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton (27) hits a solo home run against the Chicago White Sox during the third inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees Need Stanton to Remain Healthy

Despite his prowess at the plate, Stanton’s defensive contributions have diminished, making it crucial for him to maintain his health to continue impacting the game with his bat. With a contract that extends until 2028, including a $10 million buyout option, Stanton’s role with the Yankees seems secure, though the emergence of young talents like Jasson Dominguez and Spencer Jones may eventually influence his position on the team.

Stanton’s ability to deliver in clutch situations, particularly with runners in scoring position—boasting a .269 average and .537 slugging percentage—remains a key asset for the Yankees.

His performance in these moments will be vital for the postseason, suggesting that while adjustments may be needed to his aggressive batting style, his presence in the lineup is still crucial for the team’s success. As the Yankees continue their campaign, managing Stanton’s health and optimizing his contributions will be paramount in their pursuit of a championship run.

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