Monday, April 9, 2018


(Source: AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
It has to be an unfamiliar feeling for him. Being booed, that is. Giancarlo Stanton won the NL MVP award, led the National League in home runs, and was traded to the most storied franchise in baseball. His first real chance at playing in the postseason, he hits two home runs in the season opener, and then gets booed in the home opener at Yankee Stadium. He hits his third homer of the season in the second game, only to get booed again a few at-bats later. A few more games only reinforced it.

(Source: John Munson | NJ Advance Media)
Welcome to Yankee Stadium, G. It goes to show that even if you win an MVP, striking out five times in a game makes a strong case for fans to let you have it. On Sunday, he had another 5K day. So, we are seeing a pattern here. Personally, I hate booing my own players. The thing is, we all need to get used to it. Stanton is clearly a free swinger, and we are seeing it in a major way. What is unusual and panic-inducing among some is how his strikeout rate has jumped. His career strikeout percentage (the percentage of plate appearances that resulted in a strikeout) is 27.8%. The major league average during his career has been 20%. This year so far, it jumped to 36.6%. Furthermore, the 5 strikeouts per game stat is glaring right now. He never had a 5K game before in his career, and he’s had two in a week. The last time he even had a 4K game was on July 1, 2016, which was a 12-inning affair.

(Source: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara)
I find it interesting that the same stats that are causing panic and frustration are reasons to be hopeful. Here’s how I see it. This is not the hitting profile of Giancarlo Stanton. To think that he is going to strikeout in more than one-third of his plate appearances over the course of a season is ludicrous. If you’re worried about that, take a deep breath and remember that we’re only 10 games in.

The other factor to consider is what I like to call “New Yankee Syndrome”. A top-flight name signs with the Yankees and they try to be superhuman out of the gate. Each time I pull up my Tino Martinez stats and now my Didi Gregorius stats and we see how trying to fill big shoes shows up in the box score. To be completely honest, I was shocked when he hit two homers in his first game. He was back within my expectations after the home opener. Because nothing says “I’m trying to do too much” like striking out 5 times in a game.

(Source: Tom Szczerbowski / Getty Images)
Bottom line, we still have an awesome lineup despite what the naysayers are saying this week. He will settle down, and the coaches will work with him just like they worked with Aaron Judge when he was swing-happy.  He will settle down and we will have his power in the middle of the lineup. If you’re worried, take a deep breath. We only just started.

--Ike Dimitriadis
BYB Contributor
Twitter: @KingAgamemnon

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