On Monday night, Giancarlo Stanton hit his first home run of the 2019 season to give the Yankees a 10-2 lead over the Toronto Blue Jays. New York would only end up winning 10-8 but that’s a conversation for another day.
When Stanton returned from a torn bicep that kept him out since March, he went 0-for-4 with 2 strikeouts. Yankees Stadium erupted in boos and ‘you suck’ chants.
Imagine hitting 59 home runs, winning an MVP award and being traded to New York only to get booed whenever you make the slightest mistake.
Why do Yankees fans hate Giancarlo Stanton?
Giancarlo Stanton at-bats feel like automatic outs which is a totally unfair non-statistic to put on Stanton but Yankees fans, like all sports fans, appreciate effort and want to see players battling in the batter’s box.
It’s the reason why Brett Gardner still gets love even though he’s only batting .234 and is a one-man rally killer. Once a week, Gardner will have an at-bat where he’s fouling off pitches and really making opposing pitchers work.
When Stanton steps up, it feels like all of his at-bats end in three quick pitches. He takes a pitch for a strike. He swings through another pitch. He takes a third pitch. Out. Inning over.
Last season, Stanton led the team with a career-high 211 strikeouts. He averaged one strikeout every three plate appearances. Especially Stanton strikes out because he’ll swing with all of his might at an 84mph changeup off the plate as if it’s a 100mph fastball down the middle.
The Yankees are currently 2nd in the AL in runs and have the 4th best team batting average. Also worth noting that they’re 8th in strikeouts currently and were 3rd in 2018.
When you have DJ LeMahieu frequently putting together multi-hit games and former strikeout lords like Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres transforming into reliable consistent clutch hitters, it’s even more noticeable when Stanton fails.
This is not the year to sit in the middle of the lineup and strikeout several times in one game. We don’t have time for that shit. No one wants to hear ‘They didn’t bring Stanton in to get base hits. They got him to hit home runs’.
Fortunately, we live in a world of options. It doesn’t need to be either a home run or a strikeout. Stanton could draw a walk. He could hit a double to the wall. But nope, three pitches and back to the dugout.
But it’s also important to point out his 13-year/$325 million contract. There are a few levels to this.
It’s a tough look being the highest paid player in a sport and a nonfactor in your team’s success. Even though baseball isn’t a sport with a salary cap and teams can spend however much they want, there is an inherent tie between your financial worth and your own field expectations.
If Jacoby Ellsbury was making $2 million a year then no one would care that he’s hurt all the time.
If anything, Yankees fans would actually feel bad for the guy who keeps getting injured every time he’s attempting to rehab a completely different injury.
Instead, he makes $21 million a year so he’s hated. Fair.
Personally, I think Stanton was nervous as hell last year and he’s coming back from injury this season with a team that’s 20 games above .500 without both him AND the face of the team, Aaron Judge.
He might have a huge second half of the year surrounded by Luke Voit and Edwin Encarnacion with absolutely no pressure on him.
Giancarlo Stanton has awful at-bats. He makes a shit ton of money. And he doesn’t really effect wins and losses. Stanton has the dream job.
We should all be praising him as our George Constanza. Show up to work. Do nothing. Get a direct deposit. Repeat. What a legend. He’s MY MVP.