Would the Yankees have surged back into the first Wild Card position without Giancarlo Stanton’s massive hot streak? Probably not. His huge home runs in (and out of) Fenway Park led to New York’s sweep of the Boston Red Sox, and his belting of a pitch way low and inside on Tuesday night helped cushion the Yankees’ win against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Beyond giving Yankees fans fist-pump moments when facing their biggest rivals, Stanton has been on fire in 31 games since August 23rd. Entering play last night, he had a .320/.336/.721 triple slash in that span, launching 15 home runs in the process. The OBP is a bit low for him, but the power display is much closer to what was expected from him following the dizzying hot streaks that fans around the game observed when he was on the Miami Marlins. In a season that’s occasionally been streaky from him, Stanton is having a stretch that matches up to the best in his career.
These huge home runs in pressure-filled games of course bring to mind last year’s postseason. Although the Yankees couldn’t make it out of the ALDS, Stanton hit six home runs in seven games, alongside four walks. Fans may fondly remember his mammoth three-run home run off the Tampa Bay Rays’ Tyler Glasnow to reach an area of Petco Park rarely seen. If he can perform like that through the rest of this season and the potential playoffs, that will go a long way to boosting New York’s offense.
Back in 2017, in his final season with the Marlins, Stanton bashed 59 home runs and won the National League MVP. Perhaps unsurprisingly, that was the last time he had a similar hot streak during the regular season. From a period spanning from late-June through late-August that year, he hit 15 home runs in 32 games, with seven doubles, and had an on-base percentage of over .400. Do you like to see Stanton hit home runs off of scoreboards? I know you do.
The 2017 campaign was really almost one long hot streak (hence the MVP) — to expand out from mid-June to mid-August, Stanton had a span of 26 home runs in 201 plate appearances with a wRC+ of 210. Sammy Sosa owns the record for most homers in a month with 20 in June of 1998, but over the month-long stretch from August 4-September 4, 2017, Stanton essentially matched Slammin’ Sammy with 20 of his own.
As most Stanton fans know though, 2017 was merely his pièce de résistance; he had previously demonstrated the ability to have this kind of sustained success during his earlier Marlins days. From May 6-June 24, 2015, for instance, Stanton hit a wild 21 home runs, with a wRC+ of 173.
Way back in 2012, Stanton led the NL in slugging percentage and made the All-Star team for the first-time as a precocious 22-year-old. During that breakout season, he had a period from mid-August through the end of the year where he hit 15 home runs in 133 plate appearances.
Talk about ending a miserable 93-loss season on a good note. And considering that this run was somehow nearly a decade ago, it’s a reminder that Stanton has been a very good player for a very long time.
Up until last year’s playoffs, all of these hot streaks were in service to a Marlins team that was going nowhere fast, despite their owner’s protestations. Now, like last year, Stanton gets the chance to lead a team in pursuit of a championship. Of course, 2020 also showed that there’s only so many other team deficiencies that his bat can overcome for all the other players. But the idea of Stanton coolly flipping his bat while hitting a bomb in the playoffs against the Astros or the Rays at a packed Yankee Stadium has to be enticing for Yankee fans no matter what.