Stanton, Rizzo adopt major changes with Sean Casey’s guidance

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Yankees key veterans Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton have embraced major adjustments to their hitting stance with the guidance from Sean Casey. Ever since the new hitting coach took over, all eyes were on how he would help these veterans break out of their slump.

It is highly unlikely that the Yankees’ offense will make a complete comeback to juggernaut status solely through the contributions of the same bats that struggled during the months of June and July. The expectation of such a drastic transformation from Sean Casey is unrealistic.

The positive aspect is that nobody realistically expects such a dramatic turnaround. The team understands that they need to bolster their lineup with a few more impactful hitters and the return of Aaron Judge to become a consistently relevant force. In the meantime, the fans are looking for tangible progress, even if small, to show that the team’s management is actively striving to recapture the former glory of the Yankees.

Stanton, Rizzo seem to have adopted changes

Ever since the arrival of hitting coach Sean Casey during the All-Star break, and likely owing to the valuable four-day break to rest and rejuvenate, Stanton’s performance has significantly improved, resembling his prime form. He has achieved a .222 batting average with an impressive OPS+ of .883 and four home runs. On the other hand, Rizzo’s performance hasn’t been as remarkable until his outstanding four-hit afternoon against Kansas City on Sunday. In the eight games leading up to that, he had struggled to hit any home runs and seemed to be lacking direction in his performance.

Yankees' Anthony Rizzo in action against the Royals.
New York Yankees

Despite the current outcomes, the coaching staff, led by Sean Casey, has introduced noticeable and fundamental changes for both hitters. These changes were evident on Sunday, as both players adopted more pronounced crouches, which altered their eye levels and aided in getting their front foot down effectively.

Drawing definitive conclusions about the positive changes in both players at this point would be premature. In fact, it’s too early to determine if Rizzo has made any changes at all, as his overall performance in the second half of the season remains lacking and discouraging.

However, Stanton has displayed a renewed sense of aggression, recapturing some of his ferocity in the second half of the season. The first half was hindered by a mid-April injury, and he was pushed back into action without Aaron Judge’s support. On the other hand, Rizzo managed to break free from his prolonged slump on Sunday, performing with newfound freedom and relief, as if a significant burden had been lifted off his shoulders.

Yankees Giancarlo Stanton hit a home run to give the Yankees lead on July 22, 2023, at Yankee Stadium.
Anthony Jacques

Even Erik Kratz, the former Yankee backup catcher, shared his perspective on the changes, though it seemed like he might have been implying that both players were burdened by the weight of their substantial contracts.

In any case, they are now in a better position, so the objective has been achieved.

The outcomes from Sunday’s game should be viewed with skepticism, considering the opponent was the Kansas City Royals, and Jordan Lyles may not be the most formidable pitcher. However, when you factor in DJ LeMahieu‘s impressive .344 batting average in the second half of the season, along with his game-winning home run to the opposite field on Saturday, there are valid reasons for temporary optimism. This optimism is fueled by noticeable adjustments that are evident even to casual observers. Fans simply want to see the team show some competitiveness and commitment, and it seems that Casey and the coaching staff have succeeded in delivering on those fronts.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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3 thoughts on “Stanton, Rizzo adopt major changes with Sean Casey’s guidance

  1. Too small of a sample size to say that anything has changed. We will see as the series with the Orioles closes & the series with starts this week.

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