Has there ever been more of a desperate need for a Stantonian hot streak? Giancarlo Stanton is on this team to be the second guy who no pitcher wants to see. When Aaron Judge is not on the field, this team needs to fall back on Stanton. There have been some positive signs for him in the last two weeks, but they haven’t come consistently enough. After a rough month of June, Stanton has bounced back to the tune of a 110 wRC+ through the first couple weeks of play in July. That’s better, but it still isn’t up to his par.
In Colorado last week, I thought he might have been turning a corner. One of his most important skills is the ability to make quick timing adjustments in the middle of an at-bat. When he came to the plate with two runners on in the second inning against Connor Seabold, it was crucial that he put together a quality at-bat. At first, he seemed over matched, but the tide changed quickly. Let’s jump into the details:
Pitch 1 (0-0 count, 4-seamer)
Pinch me if you’ve seen Stanton be weirdly late on a 94 mph fastball in the middle of the zone before. Perhaps I should be a little fairer and say this one was at the top of the zone, but either way, it’s another 0-0 pitch that Stanton just simply did not seem ready for. I like that he is attacking elevated pitches with a runner on third, but man does he have to be more prepared in getting his barrel out. Heading into the next pitch, the hope was he would make the quick change.
Pitch 2 (0-1 count, 4-seamer)
This one was marginally better, but he was still beat by it. The location on this was actually a slight improvement though, as it was in the upper corner in on Stanton’s hands. But after these two swings, Seabold was in the driver’s seat with the option to work in whatever direction he wanted. He could go back up in the zone or try and catch Stanton cheating. He had a few chances to go either way.
Pitch 3 (0-2 count, slider)
This was not a good pitch at all. It may have barely started in the zone, but with Stanton’s eyes set inside and up, this was an easy take. I’m not sure if it was his intention or not, but if it was a setup pitch, the next should be somewhere on the outer third up in the zone. Let’s see if the theory is correct.
Pitch 4 (1-2 count, 4-seamer)
Nope! They wanted to go right back up and in after seeing Stanton’s first two late swings. This one was lower in the zone and the Yankees slugger was able to get a little more barrel on it. After this pitch, I wasn’t sure where the Rox battery would go. This still wasn’t a great swing from Stanton, but do you really want to give him another shot at the fastball?
Pitch 5 (1-2 count, 4-seamer)
Okay, so here is the thing about this swing. No, it’s not like he overcame his previous three swings and got on top of the high fastball. However, he did make the most of a mistake pitch and that is what good hitters do! Don’t get me wrong, it would have been nice to see him take one of these high pitches into the gap, but when you’re struggling, you usually only get one legit pitch to hit. Stanton got his chance and launched it over the wall, securing a big enough lead to get one of their lone wins in the last few days.