Yankees are doomed if Giancarlo Stanton’s disappearing act continues


Thankfully, the New York Yankees have largely been humming along and don’t have much more work left ahead of them before the season’s conclusion to clinch the AL East. They’ve all but officially staved off the unthinkable collapse many fans felt might’ve been real back in the beginning of the month.

But there might be another “collapse” around the corner when the playoffs begin, if certain players don’t shape up or get back to full strength. There are many to discuss, but perhaps none more integral to the Yankees’ success than Giancarlo Stanton.

The acquisition of Stanton back in 2017 was met with both excitement and confusion. Excitement because, well, he was the reigning NL MVP and was one of the best hitters in MLB. Confusion because the Yankees’ offense wasn’t necessarily “the problem.” It wasn’t the best, but it was evident the team needed pitching, first and foremost. So inheriting Stanton’s $325 million contract would obviously inhibit them from making the necessary upgrades.

Anyway, Stanton’s largely been a sunk cost at this point. Sure, he had a good 2018, a tremendous second half to 2021, and an impressive first half in 2022, but so much of the rest of his time in New York has been characterized by injuries or less-than-impactful play.

Injured in 2019. Injured in 2020. Bad for the first half of 2021. And now very bad in the second half of 2022. Stanton, though beloved by many fans, has been hit or miss since arriving for the 2018 season, which just isn’t “enough” for what he’s making. Not only that, but his impressive presence largely dictates the success of the offense. As you can see, that unit has taken a hit over the last couple months. It’s directly tied to his play, too.

Giancarlo Stanton’s disappearing act could kill the 2022 Yankees

This is by no means a dig at Stanton. It’s just what … has happened. Injuries have largely locked him into the DH role, which affected manager Aaron Boone’s ability to diversify the lineup. Stanton, when he plays defense, is a much better hitter, too.

Now, whether the Yankees mismanaged his Achilles injury or there was a classic “miscommunication” between Stanton and the team, it seems that injury from late July is still plaguing him. The walk-off grand slam against the Pirates quieted the narrative of Stanton’s struggles, but the above numbers can’t be ignored.

He’s been back for a month now after missing a full month. But even before he was officially put on the shelf, his decline had begun.

On June 30, he had a .249 average and .858 OPS with 19 home runs. On Sept. 27, he’s hitting .211 with a .745 OPS and 28 home runs. His last 28 days of action have featured a .160/.259/.333 slash line with four homers, 11 RBI and 33 strikeouts in 75 at-bats. Since the beginning of July (that aforementioned span of 42 games), he has nine homers and 23 RBI. He’s struck out 59 times and has just two doubles.

Looking deeper into the splits, it could be argued he’s the catalyst for Yankees’ victories. When he’s in the lineup this year, the Yankees are 66-39. They’re 28-20 without him. Additionally, in wins, Stanton is hitting .235 with an .871 OPS, 44 runs scored, 23 homers, 60 RBI and 74 strikeouts in those 66 games (243 at-bats). In losses, he’s batting .168 with a .520 OPS, 6 runs scored, 5 home runs, 15 RBI and 55 strikeouts in 39 games (137 at-bats). Could argue he’s sometimes the direct reason they lose, too!

Compare those numbers to Aaron Judge and you can see the difference:

He might still be hurt, yes. But he’s remained in the lineup without an issue for a full month now. If he can’t get it together over the next week, the Yankees will have their hands tied in the postseason, especially with DJ LeMahieu not fully healthy and other players (Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa) still underperforming.

Brian Cashman acquired Stanton to elevate this lineup — not have him become an eternal “what if” with how the 2019 postseason ended. If the slugger doesn’t even become “serviceable” before the ALDS begins, just tack it on to the list of other problems the Yankees are facing once the competition levels up.