Monday night featured another win in the books for the New York Yankees, and Giancarlo Stanton once again delivered a big hit to get his team on the board first.
In the top of the third inning, he ripped a laser double into the left field gap (which probably would’ve been a homer in the old Camden Yards) that scored Anthony Rizzo from FIRST BASE to put the Bombers up 1-0 over the Orioles.
New York didn’t look back after that, triumphing 6-2 with Stanton finishing the evening 1-for-4 with an RBI and a walk. As it stands, the slugger is hitting .289 with an .875 OPS (158 OPS+) with 10 homers and 32 RBI through 33 games.
Wow! Pretty awesome. And if you look closer into the numbers, you’ll realize Stanton performs much better with one simple adjustment: when he’s also taking reps in the outfield.
Don’t believe us? Well, last season, Stanton’s blazing hot final two months featured more action on defense and we’re witnessing that same exact trend in 2022.
During Monday night’s game, the YES Network graced fans with some very important splits to validate this belief, and though the sample sizes are vasty different, you can clearly see Stanton is more effective when he’s not fully entrenched in the DH spot.
Giancarlo Stanton is much better when he can play defense for the Yankees
To further drive the point home, Yankees broadcaster Cameron Maybin also spoke about the importance of Stanton getting that change of pace in his day-to-day for a multitude of reasons.
First and foremost, Stanton is a good defender! He enjoys playing the outfield. He’s far from a liability, and his presence out there allows for manager Aaron Boone to be more flexible with the lineup. Secondly, Maybin said what many fans had surmised — Stanton not solely having to concentrate on his approach at the plate has perhaps helped him loosen up a bit, which has him performing at an MVP level.
During his years in Miami, he could never DH because he was in the National League. Switching leagues to the most high-profile franchise and then being moved to that role on a full-time basis certainly contributed to his streakiness, which fans have yet to really see in the extremes based on what they’ve been used to since the start of 2021.
All of his All-Star campaigns came when he was a full-timer in the field, which includes his MVP 2017 and MVP runner-up 2014. He’s much older now, but at the very least it appears he needs that change of pace because his DH numbers, while still very good, are still lagging way behind his output when he’s playing both sides of the ball.