Fantasy Implications - Giancarlo Stanton to Yankees

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New York Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton set career highs in games played, home runs, RBI, and OPS, winning the National League MVP in 2017. Stanton was particularly potent in the second half, hitting 33 home runs in 73 games, and posted a Herculean .899 slugging percentage in the month of August alone.

Stanton was traded to the Yankees this offseason for Starlin Castro and two prospects and will now join forces with Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorius, and the rest of the potent Yankees lineup. Stanton and Judge combined for 111 home runs last season, which would be the second-most home runs in a single season for teammates (Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle combined for 115 in 1961). Teammates have not each hit 40 home runs since Alex Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro both topped 40 in 2002 for Texas. A power combo like Stanton and Judge is definitely a rare sight to behold.

So with the NL MVP joining forces with the AL MVP runner-up and a Yankees' team that finished second in the league in runs scored, what will happen to Giancarlo Stanton's fantasy stock in 2018?

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Stanton in Pinstripes

Stanton's 2017 stat line in 159 games looks very similar to his 2015-2016 line in 193 games. Stanton hit 54 home runs and knocked in 141 from 2015-2016 and had 59/132 in 2017. He also hit 32 doubles in both 2015-2016 and 2017, scoring 123 runs in 2017, after scoring just 103 in 2015-2016. Now it is a bit lazy to just say that his jump in counting statistics means that he is well suited for regression, but he also saw a jump in counting stats while his hard-hit ball percentage dropped from 49.7% to 42.9% to just 38.9% in 2017. It is odd to see a hitter experience such a dip in hard-hit ball percentage and a leap in home runs, but Stanton's HR/FB rate was also at a career-best 34.3% in 2017.

Fantasy owners can say that a drop in fly ball and line drive percentage (his 16.0% LD% was at a career-low) could mean that there were more home runs in his bat, but he only had a ground ball/fly ball ratio this low (1.13) two other times in his career. In 2013, when he matched that mark, Stanton hit .249 with an .845 OPS in 24 home runs in 116 games and in 2011 (his second full season when he posted a career-worst 1.18 rate), Stanton hit .262 with 34 home runs in 150 games. It is fair to say that a player that has matured at the plate (.375 OBP in 2017 was the second-best of his career) can be more productive, but jumping from a previous career-high of 37 home runs to 59, while seeing advanced statistics drop, is quite a lot to handle.

While Stanton's career .958 OPS at Marlins Park was strong, he is moving into one of the league's best ballparks in Yankee Stadium. Marlins Park was 25th in home runs in 2017, but Yankee Stadium was 2nd in the league in home runs last season and has been in the top five since 2014. These are very good signs for a slugger like Stanton, who will likely utilize the smaller dimensions of Yankee Stadium.

Stanton will likely see his statistics fall off in 2018, but his addition will help the entire Yankees' lineup. Adding a threat like Stanton to the middle of the Yankees lineup will allow Judge and Sanchez to see better pitches and also give Stanton more run production opportunities. While Stanton may not hit 59 home runs or drive in 132 runs, there is a very good chance that Stanton tops 40 home runs for the second time in his career and he is the odds on favorite to lead the American League in RBI.

So what is the final impact of Stanton's move to the Yankees? Neither Judge nor Stanton should be selected any later than the second round and Sanchez is clearly the top fantasy catcher in baseball. The Yankees are easily the most stackable team in DFS and players like Greg Bird and Aaron Hicks will see a bump in production hitting being the new Murderer's Row in the Bronx. There is a good chance that Stanton and Judge each finish in the top-20, Sanchez in the top-50, and Didi Gregorius and Brett Gardner finish in the top-100.

 

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