With Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez still on the shelf, hope has turned to need and Stanton has delivered. The Yankees outfielder and designated hitter has been fully locked in for over a month.
In the second half of the season so far, Stanton is sporting an impressive .298/.354/.595 slash line. That has helped bring his season line up to .281/.348/.532.
Sure, Stanton’s power isn’t in line with his inhuman MVP season in 2017, but that doesn’t really matter. In fact, it matters even less on a team full of home run hitters.
If anything, Stanton’s average, higher right now than the past two seasons, helps round out a lineup that too often lives and dies by the home run. And Stanton’s average, especially in July and August, has been impressive. He hit .323 in July and is currently hitting .313 in August, which has pulled his total season average up to .281. Remember this was the guy who was still hitting just .240 on June 16th.
It’s not just average, though. All season, even through his “slump”, Stanton continued to deliver. His walk rate remains solid with 44 walks so far this season; 35 of those came in the first half.
Stanton also does a good job scoring runs on outs. He currently leads the majors with nine sacrifice flies. Nobody else has eight. Stanton may not be having an MVP caliber season, but he’s rescued a slow first half to have a pretty darn good one.
The thing is, Stanton may be entering one of his fully locked in stretches. Yes, he’s been great for over a month, but he’s kicked into overdrive over the last week or two. His five home runs in the last week lead the majors. He has six multi-hit games since the start of the month. He hasn’t had this type of run yet this season and his stats are still great.
Imagine if he keeps going? It’s probably worth remembering Stanton hit just three more home runs last year in the first half than this year.
While last year’s second half probably isn’t a repeatable feat, it shows that Stanton is capable of basically carrying a team by himself for stretches of time. We might just be entering that time.