TAMPA, FL - FEB 19: Giancarlo Stanton (27) waits for the pitch in the batting cage during the New York Yankees spring training workout on February 19, 2018, at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
The Yankees’ designated hitter and outfielder crushed a home run over the left-center field scoreboard and out of George M. Steinbrenner Field during a batting practice session on Thursday. The home run can be watched above, courtesy of NJ.com.
Although Stanton led the Yankees in home runs (38) and RBI (100) in 2018, the 29-year-old slugger experienced extremely hot and cold streaks at the plate throughout his entire first season in the Bronx.
“I’ve got one year in the division and the league under my belt, so things will be more comfortable in that aspect, facing some of these guys and teams again more often,’’ Stanton recently told reporters.
Stanton was also hampered by a nagging hamstring injury late in the second half of the year, and it played a part in a 29-game stretch in which he hit a measly three home runs with an OPS of .537 in 130 total plate appearances.
“That wasn’t the best for me,’’ Stanton said of the hamstring injury that surfaced. “But I wasn’t worried about that. If I could go out and produce or help us try to win, I was gonna be out there. But it was quite a factor.”
The injury didn’t keep Stanton out of the lineup. He still managed to play 158 regular season games — the second-highest mark of his career — and while Aaron Judge was sidelined with a fractured right wrist from late July to early September, Stanton managed to carry the Yankees’ offense with 17 doubles, 10 home runs, 23 walks, and 25 RBI in 198 plate appearances.
“One of the things we loved about [Stanton] last year was his ability to post when he wasn’t perfect and his commitment to posting knowing we were a little beat up,’’ Yankees manager Aaron Boone recently said. “I thought he did a really nice job, even when he was dealing with [the injury] and on some of the days it was bothering him the most, still to see him govern himself… I thought he still ran the bases well, very much under control and was able to play through it and toward the end of the year he was more healthy.”
While it took some time for Stanton to get acclimated to the New York City expectations and atmosphere, he said one of the biggest differences between playing for the Yankees and Marlins was actually playing in competitive games for multiple months.
“When you’re in it past May 7 — which I’d never done — every single game, a win or loss, is huge for the season,” Stanton said. “It’s different. It’s different when you lose three in a row and it doesn’t really matter and you lose three in a row and someone’s gonna pop off… I guess that was the biggest challenge.”
The Yankees will play their first Grapefruit League exhibition game on Saturday afternoon in Fort Myers against the defending-champion Red Sox.