Like you, when I saw that Giancarlo Stanton wouldn’t be ready for opening day, I let out a very audible groan. Generally speaking, I’m more tolerant of frequently injured players than most fans are. It seems many of us forget that these guys frigging love playing baseball and they feel exponentially more frustration than we do about them not being on the field. The player certainly didn’t choose to be injured.
I’m also high man among Yankee fans concerning Stanton specifically. Many Yankee fans have short memories and/or the tendency to oversimplify situations. (Trust me. I read the comments on Yankee posts online. I don’t recommend it.)
Seriously, if you think acquiring Stanton was a move the Yankees should regret, you need to take a step back and reevaluate. He was acquired for Starlin Castro. Starlin Castro, who fans believed to be a good player only because he replaced Stephen Drew.
Want some perspective that might make you drop the torches you have out for Stanton?
Since the trade, Castro has acquired 4.1 WAR for Miami. Stanton has put up 4.4 for the Yankees. In 2018, Stanton lowered his value as measured by WAR by changing positions to help the team (something Derek Jeter never did), he changed leagues and cities and played most of ’18 through injuries. Then, as we know, he missed all but 18 games last season.
And he’s still provided more value than Castro since they were traded for each other.
Jesus pinstriped Christ, Castro played in 162 games last season and accumulated 0.8 WAR. Stanton accumulated 0.4 in 18 games.
And another reminder: A healthy Stanton is the 2nd best player on the Yankees. He’s only 30 years old and there is a lot more WAR left in him. But here it comes…
I’m not a complete idiot. That’s when and if he’s healthy, which is clearly a serious issue.
As someone with a background in Exercise Science, I strongly suspect the problem is one of the following possibilities:
- Getting very bad advice regarding his strength and conditioning program.
- He’s ignoring all advice and doing what he believes works.
- Some combination of numbers 1 and 2.
I tend to think number 3, although to be clear it’s just an educated guess on my part. As I’ve mentioned here previously, nobody outside the Yankees’ S&C program knows what’s really going on. Fans never know if athletes are getting good advice or not, whether they ignore it because they think they know better, whether a player trusts “their guy” from back home more, or whether the athlete just doesn’t do anything. (Although with Stanton it’s safe to say we can rule out that last one…)
Based on videos posted online I think it’s more likely he’s getting some bad advice and is also being stubborn by refusing to accept that what worked for him in his early twenties doesn’t work for him in his early thirties. That, unfortunately, is a VERY common mistake in the world of exercise – what worked when you were 20 won’t work when you’re 30. What worked when you’re 30 won’t work when you’re 40, etc., etc.
Hopefully, this latest episode forces a paradigm shift among those who give Stanton advice and with Stanton himself with regards to his S&C program.
Because whether you agree with my above assessments or not, there’s one thing we certainly agree upon: Baseball is a lot more fun when Giancarlo Stanton is on the field than when he isn’t.
Did I miss something? Let me know.
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