Giancarlo Stanton hits a grand slam home run against the Chicago White Sox during the second inning on Aug. 7, 2018, at Guaranteed Rate Field, in Chicago.

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Murti: Two Factors Hold The Key To An Improved Stanton In 2019

Sweeny Murti
February 18, 2019 - 4:33 pm
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What’s a bigger factor for Giancarlo Stanton to have a better season in 2019?  A year under his belt to ease his comfort level in New York or the full off-season to heal his nagging hamstring?

Like Forest Gump said at the end, “I think maybe it’s both.”

Stanton played through a left hamstring issue that was probably never bad enough for him to be placed on the disabled list according to Aaron Boone, but it definitely would have resulted in more days off Boone said Monday. 

The injury first cropped up in early August and wasn’t really right until close to the end of the regular season according to Stanton. 

By the end of the year Stanton had played in 158 games.  He had his best power month in August with 9 home runs, 9 doubles and 20 runs batted in—all of which came with Aaron Judge out of the lineup with a fractured wrist.

“That wasn’t the best for me, my hamstring, but I wasn’t worried about that,” Stanton said Monday.  “If I could go out and produce or help us the slightest bit I was going to be out there.  But it was quite the factor.”

For the season Stanton hit .266/.343/.509 (.852 OPS) with 38 homers, 34 doubles, 100 runs batted in, 70 walks and 211 strikeouts.  His swings and misses and his streakiness made for a difficult first season in pinstripes, but Boone appreciated how Stanton refused to sit out at a crucial time of year.

“That’s one of those things we kind of loved about him last year—his ability to post when he wasn’t perfect,” Boone said.  “His commitment to posting, knowing we (were) a little beat up…I thought he did a really nice job even on days where it was bothering him the most…I thought he still ran the bases well, was very much under control and was able to kind of play through it. Towards the end of the year he got more and more healthy.”

Yankees' Stanton: Hamstring Issue Was 'Quite The Factor' In 2018

As for getting used to the American League as well as the New York spotlight, that’s an area that most of us naturally assume gets easier after year one. 

“I think that’s (true) generally speaking,” Boone said. 

But there was a more tangible factor Boone was more excited about.

“I think the one thing with Giancarlo that we noticed as we dug into things…the more he sees a pitcher, he’s one of those guys that really benefits from that,” Boone said.  “He gets a pretty significant spike across the board as he starts to see guys, more so than your normal person.  As a hitter I think the more you can see a pitcher it helps the hitter probably a little more than a pitcher.  But I think in Giancarlo’s case that’s proven out over the years.  Hopefully just being more comfortable in the league, in the American League East again, I think that should be something that will benefit him.”

Stanton wasn’t overly enthusiastic in his comments to reporters, but still got the idea across that he would feel more comfortable this time around.

“I got one year of the division, the league under my belt so everything’s more comfortable with that aspect in terms of facing some of these guys and teams again and more often,” Stanton said.  “The general approach wasn’t much different.  It’s just a matter of seeing the guys—their release points, their tendencies and whatnot.  The overall approach for me doesn’t change too much.”

If either or both of these factors are more in Stanton’s favor from the start of this season, it could be a very improved player the Yankees see in 2019.