Giancarlo Stanton - Time to Sell in Dynasty?

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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.

He was good in the first three months of the season, hitting seven home runs in each of the first three months of the season, but he was other-worldly the rest of the way. He went on to hit 30 home runs in the months of July and August alone, falling just short of 60 home runs for the season (59). After two injury plagued seasons, where he only played in a combined 193 games, Stanton was healthy and able to play 159 games in 2017, posting a .281 batting average in 2017 after only hitting .250 in 2015-2016.

So after an MVP season and the best showing of his career, why would it be a good thing to cut bait on Stanton in dynasty leagues? There are many factors at play, but let's start with the stats.

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Selling on Stanton

First things first, his 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 see that much of 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.

For his career, Stanton has a .958 OPS at home against an .872 OPS on the road and, even though he is going to New York's homer happy stadium, he still has to get used to Yankees Stadium. The Yankees are easily the most stackable team in DFS and players like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Didi Gregorius will give Stanton elite lineup protection. 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.

All of these factors taken into account, it still may be the perfect time to sell high on one of the star players in the game. Stanton's 2017 season is unlikely to be repeated for a multitude of reasons (namely poor batted ball trends and a change of scenery) and he can be moved for $1.25 on the dollar right now. He is valued as a first-round pick because of all of the home runs that he hit in 2017, but there is very little chance that he plays out like a first-round pick. Stanton does not hit for much average (.268 career average), does not run well (six stolen bases on just 10 attempts in the last three seasons), and can be valuable in the trade market. When you add in the fact that fantasy owners will overrrate Stanton because of his move to New York, it may be the perfect time to sell high. There are better options for high-end talent and fantasy owners would be wise to move on Stanton's top-12 value right now.

 

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