After miring for eight years in Miami, Giancarlo Stanton is ready to spearhead a new Murderers’ Row in the Bronx.
Last Sunday, I was drafting my fantasy baseball team for the 2018 season. With the third pick, I selected Giancarlo Stanton despite Yahoo! Sports’ ranking him 7th overall and the third-best outfielder in the game behind Mike Trout, the top fantasy player in pretty much any format, and Charlie Blackmon.
Why third? Was I reaching?
If healthy, Stanton is set to do something unprecedented: after Frank Robinson, the former Marlin can become the second player in baseball history to win both the AL and NL MVPs in his career, the first to ever complete the feat in consecutive seasons.
As he will likely hit between Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez for the majority of the season, Stanton can become the first American League hitter to eclipse 60 homers since Roger Maris in 1961, all while leading the league in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS with protection he never quite saw in Miami, hitting in a ballpark like Yankee Stadium for 81 games, about a quarter of them against Baltimore and Tampa Bay’s dwindling and inconsistent rotations.
In 2009, the Yankees added Mark Teixeira to a lineup that featured the likes of Alex Rodriguez, already a two-time MVP in pinstripes, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, three years removed from finishing second in the AL MVP race, Jorge Posada, and Hideki Matsui. The addition amounted to the franchise’s 27th World Series championship, although fellow signee CC Sabathia proved instrumental in bringing home New York’s first title since 2000.
Stanton is joining a lineup that features the reigning AL home run leader and AL MVP runner-up in Aaron Judge (52), Gary Sanchez (33), Didi Gregorius (25), and Brett Gardner (21), with other hitters capable of hitting 20 homers over a full season, if healthy (Brandon Drury, Greg Bird, Aaron Hicks, and Neil Walker). The addition of Stanton to an already juiced lineup is the type of move that is championship caliber and can put New York over the top in the American League.
Of the aforementioned bunch, Stanton is clearly the most prolific slugger, amassing two NL home run titles and four seasons of 34 homers or better. In fact, in seasons in which Stanton has totaled 123 games or more played, he has never hit less than 34 homers. In being asked to split outfield and DH duties, Stanton has a shot to eclipse 150 games for only the third time in his career, the designated hitter distinction being a luxury Stanton has never savored in his eight year career.
By the dollar, Stanton is set to make $25 million in 2018, although he came to the Bronx in a trade that only yielded Starlin Castro, already on his way out with the emergence and return of top prospect Gleyber Torres, and two prospects, one inside the farm’s top ten and another outside of the top thirty. His 2018 campaign ought to prove he is worth every cent, more so if he can help deliver a championship.
While the Yankees could use another arm to keep pace with the Houston Astros, who added Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole in the past year in support of ace and former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel, the Yankees now feature a deeper, more potent lineup than Houston’s, and Giancarlo Stanton, an AL MVP candidate, is a major reason why.
Don’t be surprised if that move for Stanton, one nobody could have foreseen at last December’s winter meetings, amounts to another World Series title under general manager Brian Cashman.