Yankees have a huge hole in the middle of their batting order

MLB: New York Yankees at Arizona Diamondbacks
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are 6–2 on the season after losing the first game of a three-game series to the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday afternoon. In both of their losses, the Yankees failed to score a run, and the home opener certainly could’ve gone a lot better.

Superstar slugger Juan Soto struck out twice over four at-bats despite some of the calls being questionable in the strike zone. Aaron Judge walked twice, but the top four hitters only contributed one hit, courtesy of Gleyber Torres. Giancarlo Stanton represents a major hole in the batting order, and while the Yankees have been waiting for him to heat up consistently for the better part of three years, those days may be behind him.

The Yankees Need Stanton to Pick Things Up

Stanton has seen regression for three consecutive seasons heading into the 2024 season, but the 34-year-old has started off on a poor note. Over six games and 25 plate appearances, Stanton is hitting .125/.160/.292, including a 52% strikeout rate and 4% walk rate.

Stanton’s hard-hit metrics remain solid and within his career averages despite losing a ton of weight this past off-season to support his overall health and stamina.

With that being said, the Yankees have given him a few days off to open the year, but he still managed to collect a negative -0.2 WAR, suggesting he’s been a net negative.

Defensively, Stanton will likely see minimal innings in the outfield this year, so all of his value should come offensively. Posting a 24 wRC+ indicates he’s been 76% worse than the average MLB hitter.

Now, it is fair to mention that the season is incredibly young, and Giancarlo will have many opportunities to turn things around. Still, there could come a time when the Yankees see more upside in one of their younger outfield prospects.

Jasson Dominguez will be returning over the summer and could steal some of Stanton’s at-bats if he continues to trend in the wrong direction. Even Spencer Jones should be on the shortlist of players the Yankees are willing to call up and give opportunities to, especially since he can play defensive innings as well.

Stanton is Owed a Lot of Money

At this point, even though Stanton is owed $98 million until the 2028 season, when he has a $10 million buyout option, the team could designate him for assignment down the road to offload his at-bats to someone else. With so many talented outfielders vying for starting opportunities, Stanton needs to heat up quickly before the Yankees have no choice but to make a change.

Fortunately, he will have another opportunity to turn the page on Saturday evening against the Toronto Blue Jays with Kevin Gausman on the mound. Gausman is one of the best pitchers in the league, hosting a 2.08 ERA this season over 4.1 innings, so this may not be the game the veteran slugger gets back on the horse.

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