The postseason is inching near, but what should the Yankees be expecting from Giancarlo Stanton in his first career postseason appearance?
In the past nine years, Giancarlo Stanton has graced us with some of the greatest power hitting in all of baseball. but now he finally enters his first postseason. With the Florida/Miami Marlins, Stanton not only never made it to the playoffs but never even had a winning record with a ball club.
On December 11, 2017, Giancarlo Stanton is traded by the Miami Marlins to the New York Yankees for some minor leaguers and Starlin Castro (Thanks to our Captain Derek Jeter). For the Yankees, it has been twenty-six years since the last time they would finish under .500.
So, with Stanton putting on pinstripes it was almost guaranteed that he would finally check that box off his list. On August 26, 2018, nearly a month and a half before the season ends, the Yankees stamp their 26th consecutive winning season. On September 22 of this year, the Yankees would also give Stanton another box to check off, clinching a playoff spot.
Now we get into the real discussion, How will Stanton perform? Will the nerves get to him the way they got to Luis Severino last year? Will he overcome the jitters and become The Great Stantino? Well, let’s look at the stats and see what we can figure out.
Before we dive into Stanton’s stats and take wild guesses, let’s do what I do best and dive into the past. I’m gonna bring up a similar player and compare exactly how he did in his first playoffs and maybe see if there are some similarities down the line. The player I wanna talk about is Bob Horner. Horner was a career .277 hitter, a slugging percentage of .499 and an On Base Percentage of .340.
Comparing that to Giancarlo Stanton it almost seems too perfect. Stanton is a career .267 hitter, a slugging percentage of .545 and an On Base Percentage of .357. Why would I group these two fine ball players together? While not only sharing similar stat lines, it also took Horner five years to make the playoffs. In 1982, Bob Horner would finally get to step on a postseason baseball diamond, let’s see how he did. Horner would get up to the plate eleven times in his only series. Of those eleven plate appearances, he would strike out twice and only hit the ball once.
He would finish the ’82 playoffs with a .091 batting average. Now Bob Horner and Giancarlo Stanton are at the end of the day different players, but what if Stanton suffers the same fate as Mr. Horner?
One warning sign that Stanton might not be ready for the postseason is how he is performing in the month of September. As the month gears towards a close Stanton has put up his worst numbers of the year. In August, Giancarlo boasted a .267 average in that month. In September, Stanton has dropped that monthly average to hitting .154 with three games yet to be played. However, the slugger did launch two home runs in the series finale against the Rays, which is a promising sign.
The last deterrent for Stanton is how he performs with runners on base. With the bases empty and no pressure on his shoulders, Stanton is slashing a .284 average with 22 home runs. With runners on base, Stanton drops his stats to .228 and 13 home runs. Stanton struggles and struggles in the worst way possible. One word, Strikeouts. With no runners on and 334 plate appearances, Stanton has struck out 114 times. With runners on base and 67 fewer appearances at the plate (267), Stanton still has 94 strikeouts. This is not what the Yankees need when runners are on base and Stanton is the worse culprit of this.
I believe Stanton may struggle in his first playoff appearances, but that’s okay. What makes the Yankees this season such a special team is that when one player isn’t performing, others take charge. With Judge back and healthy, Andujar having a Rookie of the Year season, Voit becoming the greatest first baseman in the galaxy (I kid, but the big boy has power) and all the role players doing exactly what they were brought in to do.
I think the New York Yankees will, at the end of the day, be a force to be reckoned with and Stanton performing well is just the cherry on top.