Yankees’ $32 million outfielder starting to show signs of life

MLB: New York Yankees at Oakland Athletics, Giancarlo Stanton
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

While the New York Yankees have been navigating choppy waters, a ray of hope emerged on Wednesday night against the Oakland Athletics. Starter Domingo German, an unlikely hero, tossed a perfect game, efficiently striking out nine batters over nine scoreless innings.

German’s Record-Setting Performance

For the first time ever, a pitcher has bounced back from conceding double-digit runs in a game to record a perfect game in the next. German’s achievement marked the fourth perfect game in Yankees history and the 24th in the MLB’s annals. This impressive feat momentarily outshone other significant developments within the team.

Stanton’s Slow Resurgence

Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees’ slugger, who has been struggling to hit his stride, finally showed signs of life. Despite batting only .197 with a .260 OBP this season, Stanton has hammered seven homers and delivered 17 RBIs. Yet, the potential threat of ending the season with a wRC+ below 115 for the first time in his career looms over the veteran outfielder.

The month of June has been particularly challenging for Stanton, with a bleak .138 average and a .233 OBP. However, he broke through with two hits, including a home run, and three RBIs in Wednesday’s game.

The Struggle with Strikeouts

Stanton’s whiff rate has been a cause for concern. His strikeout rate sits at 27.6%, contributing toward his wayward performance. At the start of June, he held a .273 batting average, which has since tumbled by nearly 8%. Nevertheless, Wednesday’s performance against the Athletics hinted at the power and prowess Stanton is known for.

Stanton’s Promising Metrics

Despite his underwhelming performance, Stanton’s slugging metrics still hold promise. He boasts a 53.7% hard-hit rate, a 15.9% barrel rate, and an average exit velocity of 94 mph. With an 8.6° launch angle, if Stanton manages to enhance his contact rate and launch angle slightly, he could rediscover his home run-scoring ability, which could, in turn, improve his wRC+.

The Need for Veteran Presence

In the absence of the reigning MVP Aaron Judge, the Yankees need their experienced players like Stanton, DJ LeMahieu, and Josh Donaldson to step up. These players, usually reliable hitters, have struggled this season, failing to compensate for the loss of their star player. As the Yankees continue to face challenges, the team and their fans are hopeful that it’s a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ these players will regain their form.

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