Giancarlo Stanton – Honorable Mention

Giancarlo Stanton - Yankees Outfielder

Giancarlo Stanton has appeared in three times as many games (128) as he did in the previous two years combined. This alone fueled the lineup. 

Giancarlo Stanton has not had an excellent year for the Yankees in 2021. But he’s been a consistent presence in their lineup, put up decent numbers (.269 BA, 30 HR, 80 RBI, .353 OBP, and an OPS of .847 that is more than 100 points above the major league average this year), and we’re still counting.

But, perhaps, Stanton’s most significant contribution to the team came when Aaron Boone allowed him to play in the outfield, something he did 46 times so far this season.

In retrospect, the move seemed innocuous, leaving the question of why it wasn’t done sooner and why the Yankees insisted on treating Giancarlo Stanton with kid gloves.

Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge - Healthy Yankee Studs
Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge – Healthy Yankee Studs

Stanton’s play in left field opened up the DH spot in the lineup, giving Boone room to operate and choose among several to bat in that spot.

Over 94 chances in the outfield, Giancarlo Stanton handled all but one cleanly.

In turn, it appeared he felt more a part of the team, there was a lift in his steps, and his offense perked up considerably.

A few weeks after playing in the field, he told Sports Illustrated “I think it’s helped kind of not just focusing on hitting, You always want to be your best in the box and feel like you’re in the best mind frame. But that also means turning it off for a second and using that focus somewhere else. So yeah, being out there… it helps in some way.”

With all of that, however, Stanton falls considerably short in two categories that result in his Honorable Mention standing.

Those 145 strikeouts and the 21 times he grounded into double plays (the most ever in his career) hurt the Yankees on many occasions.

Still, Stanton’s presence in the Yankee’s lineup, and later with the additions of Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo, gave the team a “new look,” and one that propelled them forward.

Fresh Legs Moving Forward

At age 131, Giancarlo Stanton is in the waning years of his prime, and if he holds to form with his peers, the Yankees can only look forward to two more years of production from him.

After that, the Yankees are staring at five more years and roughly $124 million remaining on his contract expiring in 2028 when Stanton will be 38.

On the bright side, though, and assuming Giancarlo Stanton remains healthy (it’s OK if you chuckle), he is effectively operating on fresh legs, given all the time he missed previously, together with his exclusive use as a DH.

In any event, Stanton is not made from the same material as Jacoby Ellsbury, for example, a player who gave the appearance of taking the Yankees money on the run.

He comes to play, and he wants to play. Pride is something he wears on his shoulder, and it appears he knows that he owes the Yankees something, not the other way around.

Come 2022 and the expected retirement of Brett Gardner, Stanton will be granted additional playing time in the field, composing an outfield mainly of Stanton (LF), Aaron Judge (CF), and Joey Gallo (RF).

Giancarlo Stanton made a significant contribution to the Yankees in 2021. Not outstanding – good enough.

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Steve Contursi
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