Giancarlo Stanton has had his fair share of struggles this season. The five-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger has put up disappointing numbers for a Bronx Bombers team that has failed to live up to expectations. As the season winds down and the Yankees playoff window is still open by the slimmest of margins, one question can be asked: What happened this year?
“A lot of things didn’t go as planned this year,” Stanton told reporters on Wednesday night following a 6-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. “But we’re not fully out of it until we are.”
Looking at Stanton’s numbers this season, there are a few alarming trends that will need to be addressed before Opening Day of 2024. His BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is .197, the lowest mark in his career. While this can certainly be seen as unlucky and an anomaly, it points to a much larger trend that Stanton is not making the same contact as he once was.
According to FanGraphs, Stanton’s soft contact percentage is currently 20.7% while his medium contact percentage is 38.4%. For someone whose game is predicated on power, the same pop has not been there in 2023.
Another reason for the struggles? Too much elevation.
The former MVP has a line drive percentage of 11.6%, a career low, and a flyball percentage of 44.6%, the second-highest mark of his career. The same power that was once the norm has been nonexistent.
“I’m not putting the ball in play,” Stanton said.
Over his last 12 games, he is 3-for-43 with three home runs and 20 strikeouts. While it’s easy to say that Stanton is simply “striking out too much” his strikeout percentage this year is 28.8% — only a couple of points higher than his career average of 28.2%.
As Stanton seemingly transitions into a new part of his career, the soon-to-be 34-year-old must adapt and make adjustments to his approach. Something he is well aware of.
“A lot of things I have to work and adjust on,” he said. “But if you guys just think I’m just showing up there and going out and not working then I don’t know what to tell you.”