Giancarlo Stanton thrives unnoticed as all focus is on Aaron Judge

Aaron Judge, Rizzo, and Giancarlo Stanton
John Allen
Tuesday March 21, 2023

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TAMPA, FL. — Giancarlo Stanton is quietly having a good Grapefruit League season while Aaron Judge had to deal with screams from fans and critics who wanted autographs, pictures, or to be noticed. He had moved right into Judge’s shadow and didn’t get much attention.

The 6-foot-6 giant hung out on the field in Dunedin, Florida, after batting practice on Saturday before a game against the Blue Jays. Giancarlo Stanton waited for Aaron Judge to finish his work and then walked with him as they went to the locker room and talked.

One of the biggest hitters in the world, the massive physique of Giancarlo Stanton stands out almost anywhere. However, he doesn’t get as much attention as the Yankees captain, as the AL MVP has become the face of not only the team but also the game.

“I think he probably likes that,” Yankees hitting coach Dillon Lawson too agreed. “His personality style is to be under the radar.”

If Giancarlo Stanton stays healthy this season, it’s likely that his play will make him harder to ignore.

The 33-year-old hasn’t hit any home runs. But Giancarlo Stanton has shown glimpses of his regular-season form with a 118.6 mph single on Thursday.

Manager Aaron Boone has said over and over that Giancarlo Stanton needs to stay healthy.

Giancarlo Stanton has been hurt a lot over the past four seasons. He has only played in 290 of the Yankees’ 546 regular-season games. Even when he was in the lineup, nagging injuries often kept him out of the outfield or made it hard for him to swing the bat.

Giancarlo Stanton hits the hardest among the current bunch of Yankees. If he stays healthy, it will be the first time since 2018 that he hasn’t been on the injured list.

“I think that if he stays healthy and Judge stays healthy, you’re looking at potentially 100 home runs between them,” Lawson said. “Giancarlo has a skill set that is unmatched.

“Even with Judge, Big G actually has a little bit more bat speed than someone who just hit 60-plus home runs and is obviously capable of doing that [himself].”

Giancarlo Stanton hit 59 home runs with the Marlins during his MVP season in 2017. Since then, he hasn’t come close to that number.

In 2018, when he and Judge both got MVP votes and became the Yankees’ version of the Bash Brothers, he hit 38 home runs. Giancarlo Stanton was great for the first three months of the season last year. In 63 games, he hit 19 home runs and had an OPS of .858.

Then, he hurt his Achilles, which put him on the injured list and seemed to bother him for the rest of the year. In August and September, Giancarlo Stanton had to play as the Yankees DH.

Judge became the focus of opposing pitchers, the media, and fans when he hit an AL record 62 home runs last season. His historic season earned him a $360 million contract and the title of Yankees captain.

“I don’t look at it like that,” Giancarlo Stanton said when asked if the focus on Judge benefits him. “I don’t have that focus. We have a very big responsibility for this team and the city to help us win every night, and it’s just the ultimate goal.”

Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees want Giancarlo Stanton to be in the starting lineup as much as possible. He played right field for the third time on Sunday. Boone wants him in the outfield so he can change the lineup and because it’s better for his health. The Yankees think that Stanton’s body will stay active and healthy if he sometimes plays in the outfield.

Boone has said that if Giancarlo Stanton was healthy, it would be a “massive” season, maybe for both him and Judge.

“Stanton having Judge helps Stanton. But Judge having Stanton helps Judge, too,” Lawson said. “Big G had that experience; knew what it was like to be in a home run race.

“How many people on the planet could understand what it is to do what they do?”

Giancarlo Stanton, on the other hand, didn’t want to make any predictions or talk about his own goals. He only has one as he starts his fifth year in The Bronx.

“Championship. That’s it,” Stanton said. “You can’t skip to that. Everything before that has to go well, and you have to take those steps to get there.”

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