The Yankees might have unlocked the key to Giancarlo Stanton

MLB: Chicago White Sox at New York Yankees
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Giancarlo Stanton’s performance over the past three years has been a rollercoaster of highs and lows for the Yankees. On his best days, Stanton can single-handedly drive the team’s offense, displaying the kind of power that once made him an MVP with the Miami Marlins. However, his inconsistency has sometimes hindered the team’s efforts.

Although the peak form of his Marlins days seems long past, the Yankees continue to give him opportunities to recapture his former glory and contribute significantly to the lineup.

Challenging Seasons and Signs of Recovery

Last year marked a career low for Stanton, as he posted a batting average of just .191 with an on-base percentage of .275 and a slugging percentage of .420, amassing 24 home runs and 60 RBIs over 101 games. This performance was notably his poorest, highlighted by an underwhelming 89 weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+).

This season, however, has seen an uptick in Stanton’s performance. Despite an on-base percentage still below 30% for the third consecutive year, he has managed a .250 batting average and a significant increase in slugging percentage to .500 across 39 games. With 10 home runs and 24 RBIs so far, he is on track to hit 40 home runs this season, which would dramatically increase his value and help justify his $32 million salary.

At 34 years old and with a heightened risk of injury, Stanton rarely plays in the outfield anymore, as the Yankees aim to preserve his health. His ability to deliver strong performances when healthy is undeniable, but injuries can swiftly disrupt his rhythm, leading to rapid declines in his output.

MLB: Houston Astros at New York Yankees, giancarlo stanton
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Yankees’ Batting Order Adjustments

Recently, the Yankees have experimented with Stanton’s position in the batting order, moving him from the cleanup spot to fifth, behind Alex Verdugo. This change has proven beneficial: while he hit .200/.246/.292 in the fourth spot, his statistics improved dramatically to .284/.333/.654 in the fifth position. This adjustment may have provided Stanton with a psychological boost, allowing him to feel less pressure in high-leverage situations and more comfort at the plate.

As the season progresses, the hope is that Stanton can build on this stronger start and deliver consistent performances, rather than sporadic bursts of brilliance. While he can be a game-changing asset on any given day, his potential to become a liability remains, underscoring the ongoing challenge for the Yankees in managing his role effectively.

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