Yankees’ $98 million outfielder going through another cold streak

MLB: Houston Astros at New York Yankees, giancarlo stanton
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

For the Yankees to advance deep into the postseason, they need every bit of offensive firepower available, which means veteran slugger Giancarlo Stanton must contribute significantly. Although the 34-year-old has experienced a few productive stretches this season, his overall performance has been marked by inconsistency.

Stanton’s Struggles and the Yankees’ Offensive Needs

Stanton, under contract with the Yankees until 2028 with a $10 million buyout option, presents a dilemma for the team as younger players like Jasson Dominguez and Spencer Jones are poised to become major league regulars. Given Stanton’s hefty salary, the Yankees face a tough choice between benching him and trying to utilize his abilities despite his limitations.

Currently, Stanton’s stats include a batting average of .225, an on-base percentage of .275, and a slugging percentage of .471, with 13 home runs and 29 RBIs. His projected home run total for the season would be his highest since 2017.

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
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

Performance Lows and Potential Adjustments

However, Stanton’s performance over the last 15 days has been underwhelming, batting only .170 with four home runs and a .688 OPS. His offensive contributions have been limited to occasional home runs, with a noticeable decline in plate discipline and an increase in strikeouts, his highest rate since a short 2019 season.

Despite these challenges, Stanton’s power metrics remain strong, boasting a 52% hard-hit rate, an 18.1% barrel rate, and an average exit velocity of 92.9. These figures show that while he still has significant power, his overall effectiveness in the lineup suffers when he’s not hitting home runs.

Recently, the Yankees attempted to optimize their batting order by moving Alex Verdugo back to the fifth spot and Stanton to cleanup, though this adjustment failed to yield positive results during Thursday’s game, where Stanton struck out four times without reaching base.

Looking ahead, the Yankees must consider how to best integrate Stanton into the lineup, especially with the impending return of Anthony Rizzo. While it may not be necessary to keep Stanton in the cleanup spot given Verdugo’s performance, the Yankees could also look to strengthen their lineup by acquiring another strong hitter as the trade deadline approaches. This move would provide additional support and flexibility in their offensive strategy.

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