NEW YORK (CBS SPORTS) — Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton has famously struggled so far in this, his first season in pinstripes. Following Tuesday night’s blowout loss to his former team (MIA 9, NYY 1), Stanton is batting .197/.293/.409. What makes all that seem worse is that he’s batting .086/.179/.171 in the Bronx, which explains why he’s been booed with some frequency thus far.
Those struggles have led Stanton’s rookie manager, Aaron Boone to think about dropping Stanton in the Yankee batting order. Via the AP, here’s what Boone had to say:
“I might flirt with splitting different guys up and stuff, but not moving him down too far because he’s one at-bat away from getting it locked back in and then the last thing you want is him down in the order getting pitched around. He’s too premier of a player and an at-bat away from, in my eyes, locking it in. So I might juggle with the top five or six, but as far as moving down significantly, no.”
Stanton’s batted third in every game he’s played this season, but Boone hints at the possibility of that changing. Nothing drastic, as Boone says, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Stanton in, say, the five hole at some point this week. If anything, this could be Boone’s way of trying to take a little pressure off Stanton.
As for those struggles, no, they probably won’t last. At this writing, Stanton has come to the plate 75 times in 2018. That small sample size overwhelms any other concern. Yes, the fact that he’s struck out in almost 40 percent of his plate appearances is somewhat worrisome, but his exit velocity and launch angle are right in line with 2017 levels. What also may drive some disappointment is expecting Stanton to repeat last year’s bestowals. His 2017 campaign will likely up as a career year. He can still be a valuable contributor — and worth all that money — if he settles in somewhere south of the lofty heights of last season. Again, though, the small sample size lords over all at the moment.
In that sense, Boone’s plan to move him down in the order is nothing more than an effort to help him unlock his usual production. Time alone would probably take care of that, though.