TAMPA – It may only be early March, but Giancarlo Stanton is already chipping away at some impressive Statcast numbers.
Stanton’s first hit of the spring was a double to left Sunday in a 4-0 win over the Phillies at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
He jumped off his bat against Philadelphia starter Zack Wheeler and the exit velocity was measured at 109.4 mph.
Then, in the fifth, the designated hitter drilled a double to deep center, this time off Ivan Nova, and posted 109.8 mph.
“He seems ready to go,” said DJ LeMahieu. “I had a couple of missiles today. That’s Big G for you there. “
The Yankees have more of that from Stanton, who couldn’t stay healthy for most of the past two seasons before erupting in last year’s playoffs with six home runs in seven games.
“Stanton has been shooting the ball,” Aaron Judge said. “It looks like his playoff form from last year.”
Aaron Boone has spoken enthusiastically about Stanton’s approach this spring, saying the 31-year-old has matured as a hitter and in some ways may be better than in 2017, when Stanton hit 59 home runs and won the MVP of the season. National League while with the Marlins.
He was traded to the Yankees that offseason and hit 38 home runs in his first year in the Bronx while battling a hamstring injury and has since been limited to 41 regular-season games in the past two seasons.
The flashes Stanton showed last October, and again Sunday, left the Yankees excited about what might come next, but he has yet to prove that he can stay on the field.
“Giancarlo is healthy and that’s the bottom line for him now,” Boone said.
While Stanton hit the ball harder than anyone on Sunday, Brett Gardner provided the only runs with his grand slam in the second inning off Wheeler.
“That gives [Gardner] something to talk about with the greats, ” Boone said of the right-field line shot. “That will put some air in your sails.”
The judge said the slider was down and inward, and “right on [Gardner’s] wheelhouse.”
More important than the home run is the quality of the 37-year-old’s at-bats after signing just before the start of camp after a lengthy free-agent process.
“I liked the way he looked,” Boone said.
The manager added that he told hitting coach Marcus Thames that Gardner might be ahead of where he was a year ago right now, but Thames disagreed.
Either way, he was able to wait for Wheeler’s broken ball for his first home run of the spring and then he caught Ivan Nova.
Boone said there are no plans to make cuts to Major League Baseball camp so far, but they will use Monday’s day off to reorganize where some players are, and more players on the 40-man roster are expected to move out of the complex. minor leagues. at Steinbrenner Field on Tuesday.
When asked what he’s noticed the most about his team right now during spring training, Boone said: “Our depth has stood out for me. We are trying to keep the rosters in place for a few days and there are a lot of good players to get in. “
He also praised the team’s “hunger for business and uniqueness taking shape”.