What to do about Stanton? Simple, bench him for home games!
Posted on April 25 2018
When the New York Yankees managed to trade the Miami Marlin for slugger Giancarlo Stanton the baseball-loving free world assumed one thing. A whole lot of home runs were going to be flying out of Yankee Stadium once the 2018 season started.
The addition of Stanton was going to turn the front end of the Yankees lineup into a modern- day Murderer’s Row. Sadly, that hasn’t happened (yet). Instead, the Yankee Faithful have been treated to a historically bad start by one of the game’s elite sluggers.
Tons of theories have been floated around by the media and fans. Everyone seems to know what to do but Stanton and the Yankees. But the numbers don’t lie. The answer is actually fairly simple. It may not be ideal, but it’s an easy fix.
He needs to sit out home games.
This has nothing to do with being booed by the home crowd every time he has a five-strikeout game (two, so far). There is no need to protect his ego even if it is fragile. With the way he’s played at home, he deserves to be booed.
It has to do with his production
Jorge L. Ortiz presented an interesting take on Stanton’s production so far this season in a recent USA Today article. Prior to Thursday night’s 4-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays at home, Stanton had played in eight games at Yankee Stadium. In those eight games, he’s had 39 plate appearances in which he has it a single home run and struck out 20 times. His batting average is just .086 at home and his OPS a dismal .351.
However, on the road, it is an entirely different story. In eight games away from Yankee Stadium, he has stepped up to the plate 36 times. In those appearances, he has hit two home runs and stuck out nine times. His batting average is a respectable .323 and his OPS an impressive 1.094.
He’s not exactly knocking them out of the part every other game on the road either. But he is playing much better on the road.
Clearly, he needs to sit when the Yankees are playing in New York.
But the Yankees are obviously not going to do that. Whatever issues he has with playing at home are just going to manifest and eventually affect his road game as well—and the very notion is just plain silly.
Okay— so, then what can they do?
The harsh truth is that there is little they can do next to ask the fans to be nice to him (because New Yorkers are known for taking it easy on under-performing superstars). Part of the issue is simply the fact that he is ow in New York rather than Miami.
No one cares what happens with the Marlins. The only time they made the highlight reel was when Stanton hit a home run. Otherwise, no one cared about them.
But in New York, everyone is watching every move the players make, good and bad. Expectations are high as well. When the team or a player are not living up to them, the fans and media let the players know about it.
It is not unusual for a player to begin a new season with a new team in a slump, especially sluggers. They want to give their new fans something to cheer about and start to press at the plate. When they do, they start to miss more, and their strikeout rate goes up— as Stanton’s has so far this season.
He’s certainly not the first slugger to have issues after switching teams. When Albert Pujols left the St. Louis Cardinals for the Anaheim Angels back in 2012, he didn’t hit a single home run in April. His first didn’t come until the 28th game of the season in early May (and his 16th game at home).
Pujols went on to hit 30 home runs that season.
So, relax Yankees fans. Stanton is going to be fine. He just needs a little time.
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