June 25, 2024

During spring training, the Yankees are experimenting with various batting order configurations to strengthen a unit that faced challenges in 2023. The acquisitions of Juan Soto and Alex Verdugo are expected to significantly bolster their chances of contending for the World Series. However, manager Aaron Boone faces the task of finding the optimal lineup to establish both balance and chemistry.

While Aaron Judge and Soto are slated to hold prominent positions at the top of the order, there’s anticipation for a notable adjustment in the cleanup spot. Giancarlo Stanton’s performance has declined in recent seasons, prompting consideration for a change in this key batting position.

Since 2021, Giancarlo Stanton has experienced a rapid decline in his performance, culminating in a career-low 2023 season. He posted underwhelming numbers with a batting average of .191, an on-base percentage of .275, and a slugging percentage of .420, along with 24 home runs and 60 RBIs across 101 games. His strikeout rate, hovering around 30%, reached concerning levels. Remarkably, it marked the first time in Stanton’s career that he recorded a wRC+ below 100, indicating an 11% worse performance than the average MLB hitter. Particularly alarming were his statistics with runners in scoring position, where he batted just .200 with a .280 on-base percentage and a .411 slugging percentage, striking out 27 times in 90 at-bats.

Given these struggles, the Yankees are left with no choice but to consider moving Stanton. As their $98 million slugger with only a buyout option remaining in 2028, Stanton’s lackluster performance is a pressing concern for the team. Unfortunately, his performance in spring training has not shown signs of improvement, with a meager .067 batting average, .176 on-base percentage, and .067 slugging percentage across six games and 17 plate appearances. While Stanton typically requires significant time and at-bats to find his rhythm, his current form offers little cause for optimism, especially compared to the promising performance of Juan Soto. This situation presents a less than ideal scenario for the Yankees.

Jack Curry of the YES Network hinted that the Yankees’ lineup for Sunday’s game might closely resemble their Opening Day order. This adjustment would see Giancarlo Stanton positioned in the number six spot, shifting him two places away from the clean-up role, which Anthony Rizzo could potentially assume.

Even Gleyber Torres, following a strong offensive season, currently finds himself batting ahead of Stanton. However, if Stanton continues to struggle, there’s a possibility he could further drop down the order. This situation raises questions about Stanton’s long-term future with the team.

Looking ahead, there’s speculation about the potential for Spencer Jones, who showcased his abilities during spring training before being reassigned to the minor league camp, to eventually replace Stanton in late 2025 or beyond. This scenario would entail the Yankees parting ways with Stanton and absorbing the financial implications, allowing younger players to assume outfield roles and utilizing the designated hitter spot as a rotational asset.

Despite these considerations, Giancarlo Stanton underwent significant weight loss during the offseason to enhance his mobility while maintaining his power. He still possesses impressive bat speed and formidable power, but his diminishing confidence and evident regression remain pressing concerns for the Yankees.

Yankees could be planning a big batting order change for struggling slugger

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