Looking ahead to the 2019 season the Yankees are very home run-heavy, so what should we expect from Giancarlo Stanton this year?
In 2017 Giancarlo Stanton hit an amazing 59 home runs on his way to the National League MVP. The feat was made more astounding as Stanton played his home games in Marlins Park which was ranked 25th for home runs by ESPN MLB Park Factors. When he was traded to the Yankees that offseason, the question on every fan’s mind was, “How many home runs will Giancarlo Stanton hit in Yankee Stadium?”
Stanton’s 2018 power numbers, however, did not live up to expectations. From a terrible start to the season, to a nagging hamstring injury, Stanton was not able to repeat his dominant MVP season.
That being said, Stanton still slashed .266/.343/.509, hardly a bad line. In fact, his 38 home runs were tied for sixth in the Majors. Though remaining on the field enough to amass a career high in plate appearances with 705, Stanton was obviously hampered by that hamstring, which sapped his power.
If he can hit 38 bombs with a gimpy leg, what can Stanton do if he remains healthy in 2019?
Stanton Projects More Power
Fangraphs has compiled several of Giancarlo Stanton’s 2019 projections from various sites.
Each model calls for Stanton to hit at least 42 home runs and slug at least .541. Stanton’s career slugging percentage, including 2018, sits at .550 so these projections can be considered slightly conservative.
The other conservative estimate common across all these projection models is Stanton’s plate appearances. Depth charts project a low of 609 PAs and ATC a high of 653. Another words, the projections believe Stanton will not be healthy this year. Perhaps they are right. Stanton has had injury problems in the past, however the ones he has missed significant time for are more freak than reoccurring.
After playing 150 games in 2011, Stanton missed 223 games over the next five seasons with various injuries, including a broken wrist and shattered jaw both due to hits by pitch.
Since the beginning of 2017, however, Stanton has only missed 7 games. Of course, he was nagged by that hamstring last year, but he still played on. Should Stanton be healthy this season, what kind of numbers will we see?
If we take another look at the projections we can find what Stanton’s PA/HR is and work backward to get a different home run projection based on the number of plate appearances. Taking the approach that Stanton will be healthy, let’s estimate 700 plate appearances.
At the low end, ATC projects Stanton to hit 42 home runs over 653 plate appearances, good for a home run ever 15.5 plate appearances. Over 700 plate appearances, should ATCs rates hold, Stanton would be expected to hit 45 home runs. Not bad for a low-end projection.
At the high-end Depth Charts projects 45 home runs over 612 plate appearances, or a home run ever 13.6 plate appearances. Over 700 PAs that would amount to 51 home runs.
So, based on current projections, if Stanton is healthy, he can be expected to hit between 45 and 51 home runs.
But what if the projections are wrong?
After all, Stanton is coming off one of the lowest slugging percentages and home run rates of his career. In 2015 and 2017, Stanton hit a home run every 11.7 PAs. In both of those seasons, he slugged over .600. The difference between 2015 and 2017 for Stanton is that he took a fastball to the wrist in 2015 which ended his season after just 74 games.
Can Stanton regain his health and his stroke and slug over .600 again? It’s certainly something he’s capable of. Further, in 2015 and 2017, Stanton was on the Marlins, hitting in Marlins Park for half his games. How many home runs became doubles or outs in that park? In Yankee Stadium, we could see a healthy Stanton threaten 60 home runs again.
— Max Wildstein (@MaxWildstein) February 9, 2019
One thing is for sure, Stanton will be working hard to perform at his best this year. I doubt he wants to hear the boo-birds at Yankee Stadium again.