Yankees’ $98 million outfielder could change the course of the offense in 2024

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Juan Soto and Aaron Judge will certainly lead the New York Yankees‘ offense in 2024, but a bounce-back season from Giancarlo Stanton could take them to another level.

Stanton’s Recent Struggles and Offseason Adjustments

At the top of his game, Stanton was regarded as one of the best hitters in baseball, but he has deteriorated over the past few seasons. In 2022, Stanton only hit .211 with a sub-30 % on-base percentage.

In 2023, he played 101 games, hitting .191/.275/.420, including 24 home runs, 60 RBIs, and an 89 wRC+. This was the first time in his career he was labeled as a below-average hitter, and the Yankees paying $32 million per season must carry its weight.

Stanton has been working diligently this off-season to regain his confidence and tweak his fundamentals. He’s made obvious changes to his physical frame, shedding some weight and increasing mobility. He enjoyed five innings of work in a scoreless tie against the Miami Marlins on Thursday. One of his bats resulted in a line drive to right field, catching up to a fastball that seemed out of his reach in 2023.

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Yankees Could Get a Bounceback From Stanton

Manager Aaron Boone has been impressed by Stanton‘s work this off-season and suggested that he still maintains his renowned strength despite losing some weight.

“I know by all the assessments and everything, he’s in a great place strength-wise,” Boone said. “Probably the strongest guy still on the team and all that. And definitely moving better. It’s noticeable certainly to the strength and conditioning staff and training staff that evaluates that in the initial assessment.”

The Yankees are hoping they can get the version of Stanton they received in 2018 when he played 158 games. That season, Stanton hit .266/.343/.509, including 38 home runs and 100 RBIs. Those numbers still aren’t astronomical, but he was a well above-average hitter, and the Yankees simply need that to come to fruition if they often want to take another big step forward.

“He feels good and that’s a big part of it,” Rowson said. “Hitting is mental. He feels dangerous up there every at-bat. So I think the work he did in the offseason is starting to pay off for him right now early on.”

If Stanton regains his confidence, the Yankees can utilize him as their primary cleanup hitter, but they may consider pushing him down the order to open the season if he continues to struggle or showcase inconsistencies. As always, it will boil down to health and consistency. Increased flexibility should reduce the likelihood of muscle injuries for Stanton, which has derailed his rhythm at times over the past few years.

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