Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton has a chance at redemption as his team begins their quest for a 28th World Series Championship.
Stanton played in only 18 games this season as he missed the majority of the season with a slew of injuries, including a PCL strain that he sustained in June. He returned for the final stretch of the Yankees' regular season to prepare for New York's Division Series matchup with the Minnesota Twins. The 29-year-old tallied eight hits and six RBIs in nine games upon his return from the injured list.
On Wednesday, Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti discussed the pressure that could surround the Yankees' slugger
"If it comes down to Stanton in the 7th or 8th inning with two men on and he strikes out, that's where it's really going to get nasty," Esiason said. "That's the privilege of making $300 million. That's the privilege of being an MVP that came over from one team to another and now is playing left field in the pinstripes. If you play in the pinstripes, in the Bronx, there is an expectation that you are going to perform. If you do not perform, you're going to hear it. I just think he's the guy that a lot of this is going to be circling around because he had missed almost the entire season."
Stanton received his first taste of the postseason with the Yankees last season. He appeared in five games before the team fell to the Red Sox in the ALDS. In the small sample size, Stanton struck out seven times and registered five hits and one home run. It was a significant drop off for Stanton, who led the Yankees' with 38 home runs and 100 RBIs in 2018. Giannotti doesn't believe we'll see a similar result.
"I've sort of had the contrarian take on Giancarlo Stanton and people are asking me, 'why? Why do you believe that Giancarlo Stanton is going to be able to hit in the postseason?' I just think that it's a regression to mean in the opposite direction with him," Giannotti said. "He was terrible last year in the postseason after a pretty good regular season. Then you haven't seen him at all this year and a guy who's that talented and that good, I don't see spitting the bit again in a postseason.
"It just seems like a storyline to me that makes sense where this guy, who has been out driving him crazy - hasn't been able to play - gets his opportunity in a season where there's been so many home runs. He carries this team offensively at times during the postseason."
Esiason credits DJ LeMahieu and Gio Urshela for offensively improving the Yankees' lineup.
"Two players that are different this year that were not here last year that I think will have a profound impact from an every day player's standpoint: DJ LeMahieu and Gio Urshela," Esiason said. "I'm just saying there are two players that were not here last year that really are key guys in terms of getting key hits. That part of it strengthens the Yankees' lineup from going from a home-run hitting team to also a contact-hitting team. That's what I believe was missing last year."