A lot of talk regarding the Yankees has been focused on Giancarlo Stanton, but he will surely be better in 2019 for New York.
There’s been a lot of negative talk about Giancarlo Stanton’s first season with the New York Yankees. A team with World Series aspirations traded for the reigning NL MVP, and he didn’t exactly produce the numbers everyone expected.
He didn’t belt a league-high 59 homers, but it’s unfounded to state that Stanton’s first season in the Bronx was a failure. Sure, he was a little too off-and-on, but he carried the team while some of the Yankees’ best players were injured. The Yankees surely wouldn’t have won 100 games without him.
So, I think fans need to lay off a bit. Yes, it was a down year compared to 2017 for Stanton, but let’s not act like we all of a sudden have some replacement-level player manning the DH spot. Stanton hit .266/.343/.509 with 38 homers and 100 RBIs. He posted a +4.0 WAR season. That’s one heck of a season.
I expect his 2019 season to be even better. Why? Well, let’s use real life for an example. Imagine you leave your current job and take the exact same position with a new company. It’s the same position, but sometimes it takes some time to transition. You can’t tell me you were better on your first day than you were on your 365th day. It takes time, especially when you’re moving from a penny-stock company to a Fortune 500 company.
I don’t just have some unfounded confidence that Giancarlo Stanton will be better in year two. I have real numbers from former players to back it up. So, let’s take a look at some big-time players and how they fared in year one compared to year two in the Bronx.
First up is Carlos Beltran. Beltran in the year before he came to New York had a 131 wRC+ and +2.7 WAR. In year one with the Yankees, he posted a 97 wRC+ and -0.5 WAR and in year two with the Yankees, Beltran bounced back with a 119 wRC+ and +1.7 WAR.
Jason Giambi had a 193 wRC+ and +9.2 WAR the year before coming to New York. In year one, he had a 175 wRC+ and +6.6 WAR and in year two, Giambi continued to decline a bit by posting a 149 wRC+ and +5.0 WAR.
Third, we have Brian McCann, who posted a 122 wRC+ and +2.8 WAR before coming to the Bronx. In year one, he posted a 94 wRC+ and +2.3 WAR, and 106 wRC+ and +2.9 WAR in year two.
In the year before arriving in New York, Alex Rodriguez posted a 151 wRC+ and +9.2 WAR. Then in year one, he had a 131 wRC+ and +6.6 WAR, before returning to form and posting a 174 wRC+ and +9.1 WAR in year two.
Gary Sheffield was similar to Giambi as he had a 163 wRC+ and +7.3 WAR before arriving in the Bronx. In year one, he dropped off a bit with a 141 wRC+ and +3.8 WAR and it continued in year two with a 137 wRC+ and +2.4 WAR.
Hideki Matsui went from a 109 wRC+ and +0.2 WAR in year one as a Yankee to a 140 wRC+ and +3.0 WAR in year two.
Last but not least is Mark Teixeira, who also followed in the footsteps of Sheffield and Giambi. He posted 152 wRC+ and +6.9 WAR prior to joining the Yankees, then 142 wRC+ and +5.1 WAR in year one, and 128 wRC+ and +3.4 WAR in year two.
Giambi, Sheffield, and Teixeira all continued a steady decline from the year before joining the Yankees, to year one, and then into year two. But those three had posted absolutely monster and unsustainable numbers.
Beltran, A-Rod, McCann, and Matsui on the other hand, posted great numbers before arriving, struggled in year one, and bounced back in a big way in year two. That’s especially true for Matsui and A-Rod.
The point is that it takes a while to adjust to new surroundings. Especially so when those surroundings change from a largely irrelevant franchise to the greatest sports franchise in the world.
Stanton went into 2018 with a career .268/.360/.554 (144 wRC+) batting line. I’m not saying he’s going to turn around and hit 60 homers again in 2019. I definitely think it’s reasonable to assume that it only gets better from here.
Giancarlo Stanton is still in his prime and I think it’d be foolish to give up on him already. I expect a monster 2019 season from the second Smash Bro.