Giancarlo Stanton reached a pretty significant milestone yesterday. For just the third time in his career, he crossed the 100-RBI threshold. He did so in style, too, by blasting his 38th home run of the season into the seats at Fenway Park. He even got the ball, too, because the fan who caught it hurled it right back at Stanton. That was a pretty solid afternoon for the Yankees designated hitter.
Somehow, Stanton’s season has been underappreciated. He had lofty expectations, but that doesn’t mean his .266/.343/.509 batting line or 127 wRC+ are bad. The 28-year-old basically carried the Bombers throughout the summer. One could argue that without Stanton, the team would probably struggle to make it to the playoffs.
His second-to-none work ethic also flies under the radar, as pointed out by Ryan Ruocco on last week’s R2C2 podcast. Stanton explained his cerebral preparation method, demonstrating that he isn’t just getting by on brute strength and talent. He’s committed to being the best baseball player possible.
“I had to catch up getting to pro baseball. I only played like two months a year until I was in the pros already, so I had a lot of catching up to do — a lot of learning just what a baseball rhythm and how the pitcher attacks you, and throwing pitches here just to change your eye level, and then go back away. You know, I had to learn all those real quick. So, I started to write those down in the minors, and just get my notes, and when I see these guys again, just take a little note. And that helped me, and that just solidified my preparation. Like, I want to know everything I can so I can succeed when I’m in the box. Because if I’m in there and I didn’t know that a guy does this, or he likes to do this to me... I don’t like that. I don’t think I did enough. So I gotta get all the information that helps me and filter out the nonsense and go from there.”
It’s pretty fascinating to think that Stanton keeps a notebook where he records how a pitcher approaches him. This gives fans a greater level appreciation for the slugger. His commitment to improving at the plate and learning is commendable.
I’m not surprised, though, Stanton prepares in such a methodical fashion. How else would he make sure he left baseballs “screaming still.”