It would be impossible to tell the story of Giancarlo Stanton’s 2019 season without mentioning his injuries. The 30-year-old outfielder was plagued with pain, missing a total of 144 games due to a torn left bicep, a left shoulder strain, a sprained right knee and a strained quad that agitated him throughout the postseason. After a strong first year in pinstripes, his second year was beyond dreadful.
2019 Statistics: 18 games, 72 plate appearances, .288/.403/.492, 3 home runs, 12 RBI, 8 runs, 139 wRC+, 0.4 fWAR
2020 Contract Status: In sixth year of 13-year, $325 million contract
When Stanton was on the field, he was able to show flashes of his incredible power, but having played a mere 18 games, those moments didn’t happen too often. However, there is one at-bat we can all recall. It was in Game One of the ALCS with Zack Greinke on the mound for the Astros. The Yankees had a 2-0 lead in the top of the sixth until Big G stepped up to the plate. He drove a fastball into the Astros bullpen in right field to extend New York’s lead to three.
Many fans will be quick to resent Stanton, mostly because of his large contract and because he hasn’t had his “Yankee moment” yet, but it’s also easy to forget that he led the Yankees with 38 bombs and 100 RBI in 2018. Plus, he was the NL MVP with the Miami Marlins in 2017 before being dealt to the Bronx. Stanton is an elite player who was extremely unlucky this past season.
His season represented a sample size, so take these numbers with a heaping of salt, but it seemed like he saw the ball very well. He barreled up 25% of balls and smashed baseballs at an average exit velocity of 92.3 mph. Along with that, he walked 16.7% of the time. In the playoffs, he walked during 22.2% of his plate appearances. Against Greinke in the ALCS, the Yankees hit seven pitches over 102 mph. By himself, Stanton recorded three of those balls, including his first hit, which was clocked at 107.1 mph off the bat.
One of the main things the Yankees missed was his presence overall. There was rarely ever an assault of Aaron Judge, Stanton and Gary Sanchez, followed by the many other power bats on the roster. Stanton is always a threat at the plate no matter the circumstance, and his existence in the lineup just deepens the Yankees’ attack. There weren’t many bright spots for Stanton in 2019, but fortunately for him, he has the entire offseason to get healthy and make his body right. Hopefully he can turn it around and help his team in 2020 and beyond.