Yankees’ $32 million per season slugger could be the catalyst to a World Series

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

When it comes to hitting home runs and slugging, there may not be a more powerful hitter than Yankees veteran Giancarlo Stanton. Under contract until 2028, with the Yankees holding a $10 million buyout option, the team is keen to maximize any remaining value from Stanton, especially after witnessing two consecutive seasons of decline as we headed into 2024.

Despite a sub-30% on-base percentage for the third consecutive season, Stanton continues to demonstrate elite power capabilities. This season, he is on pace to hit 45 home runs, which would mark his highest total since 2017, during his tenure with the Miami Marlins.

The Yankees Need The Vintage Stanton

Stanton’s performance metrics are impressive: he boasts a 53.6% hit rate, a 19% barrel rate, and an average exit velocity of 93.7 mph. Although prone to swinging at pitches in the dirt, balls Stanton hits into play often result in bewildering distances. Notably, he has hit home runs in back-to-back games this season, including a staggering shot that traveled over 450 feet against the Kansas City Royals—a highlight of a resounding victory.

MLB: New York Yankees at Kansas City Royals
Credit: Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Despite batting .233/.288/.491, which might seem modest at first glance, Stanton’s 122 wRC+ suggests he is 22% more effective than the average MLB hitter—a testament to his prodigious home-run production. His rankings are outstanding: 100th percentile in bat speed, 97th percentile in average exit velocity, 99th percentile in barrel rate, and 96th percentile in hard-hit rate.

However, his performance isn’t without its weaknesses. Stanton ranks in the 9th percentile for whiff rate and 7th for strikeout rate, underscoring his identity as a pure power hitter. Despite challenges in defensive play, the Yankees continue to derive significant value from his offensive capabilities.

With runners in scoring position, Stanton is hitting .281 with a .352 OBP, suggesting he’s locked in when it matters most.

Staying Healthy and Making an Impact

Stanton’s potential impact hinges critically on his health and ability to sustain momentum. His performance was severely impacted by injuries in 2023, causing a notable dip in his statistics. As the team’s primary cleanup hitter, his role could be pivotal in steering the Yankees toward a championship victory or a challenging postseason.

While Aaron Judge and Juan Soto are set to be the main offensive threats, Stanton’s capacity to alter the game dramatically at a moment’s notice cannot be underestimated. The Yankees are counting on his remarkable power to come through in critical moments, proving that even amidst challenges, Stanton remains a game-changing force.

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