Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton: I’m a better hitter now than my 2017 MVP season

Giancarlo Stanton Yankees
Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Giancarlo Stanton couldn’t help but agree when asked if he shares the same view as his manager, Aaron Boone, who said earlier this spring that the Yankees’ slugger is a better hitter now than in his 2017 NL MVP season when he launched 59 home runs with the Miami Marlins. 

“I would say that I have a better sense of the zone, a different approach to pitchers,” Stanton said. “The results or whatever statistically might be minute… but I’m definitely a better hitter than that point. Have the results shown? No. But I am.”

Health has been the overarching issue of Stanton’s Yankees tenure, appearing in a combined 41 games over the last two seasons. But a monstrous 2020 postseason just five months ago — slashing .308/.387/1.038 with six home runs and 13 RBI in just seven games — helped provide a reminder that when he’s right, Stanton is one of the most feared power hitters on the planet.

The most important thing to Stanton right now, though, is making sure that he can be relied upon in 2021 and taking the necessary steps to get there.

“I feel good. During this time, it’s all about getting your rhythm and timing and your sequences right,” he said. “I think the spring at-bats are good to build up and just get there. I don’t really compare to in-season at-bats to spring at-bats. I just take it as the current process of getting ready for the current season.

“You build from however the season ended, good or bad, and make the adjustments to get ready to roll.”

He certainly seemed to be rolling on Thursday night when he launched a laser-beam of a home run over the left-field fence, his first of the spring, that measured at a 115.1-mph exit velocity.

Such ridiculous velocity numbers have become commonplace for Stanton, who also ripped a 109.4 mph double on Sunday, but they don’t mean much to him other than a fun tidbit of information.

“[Those measurements are] something that usually comes to me, but now, most fields have it on the big screen, which is pretty cool for fans and people who might not understand how fast this game moves,” Stanton said. “I wouldn’t say I get much gauge out of it swing-wise or any benefit there.

“It’s just extra added info that’s pretty cool to see especially because, in the first half of my career, I didn’t get to see that.”

High expectations were saddled on Stanton’s shoulders upon his arrival to the Bronx because of his meteoric rise to power in the first half of his career — most notably that 59-home-run season four years ago.  Those numbers mean nothing to Stanton, though, who remains focused on the process of succeeding at the plate more than the results of it on the stat sheet.

“I’m expected to produce the best that I can and be out there on the field so that’s the starter,” he said. “I’m not really worried about the numbers that come if I’m out there. I’ve never — looking back over the years — said that I want to hit this many [home runs] or do that.

“If I’m out there and have time to adjust to what I see or any new rhythms of the game to how I’m being pitched, that’s the most important aspect.”