Giancarlo Stanton, the reigning National League MVP and one of the best right-handed power-hitters in the game, reportedly has found a new home in the Bronx as a member of the New York Yankees. The Bronx Bombers now have both of the league’s leading home run hitters from 2017: Stanton, who hit 59 home runs for the Miami Marlins — the most in MLB since 2001, when Sammy Sosa hit 61 and Barry Bonds set the single-season record with 73 — and AL Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge, who hit 52.
Stanton will be a great fit in Yankee Stadium. According to Baseball Prospectus’s park factors, Marlins Park was the seventh-most-difficult home run-hitting park for right-handed batters last season. Yankee Stadium, on the other hand, was tied as the second-most-favorable park in baseball for right-handed home run hitters. If you adjust Stanton’s 2017 results, using Yankee Stadium in place of Marlins Park, the 28-year-old slugger would be projected to hit 62 home runs.
Stanton is not merely a home-run hitter — he is the epitome of a slugger. He hit .281 with an OPS of 1.007 in 2017, creating runs at a rate that was 56 percent higher than average after adjusting for league and park effects (156 wRC+). He averaged an exit velocity of 92 mph last season (7th) with the third-highest rate of balls hit on the sweet spot, also known as a barrel, per plate appearance (11 percent). New teammate Judge led the league at 13 percent.
The Yankees’ Opening Day lineup card could be one of the most fearsome handed in by a manager next season. Stanton and Judge are projected to combine for 10 fWAR in 2018, which, if fulfilled, would be one of the six best duos in the majors next season. Based on early projections, New York’s 2018 lineup could score an average of 5.4 runs per game, slightly more than New York scored in 2017 (5.3). Don’t let the minimal improvement fool you — if the Yankees can duplicate last year’s efforts they should have a phenomenal season.
The Bronx Bombers produced the second-best run differential (plus-198) in 2017, suggesting they should have finished the regular season with 100 wins rather than their actual record of 91-71. If the Yankees win just their fair share of games, and get some good luck for a change, they could run away with the AL East and be the prohibitive World Series favorite.
The biggest question is: How much will Stanton contribute to the Yankees going forward, and what will that be worth relative to the $295 million remaining on Stanton’s contract, which runs through 2027?
The answer: A bargain.
Stanton is just nearing his prime and produced a career-high 6.9 wins above replacement last season, which is worth $55.5 million on the open market per FanGraphs. The latest estimates from Dan Szymborski see Stanton producing 7.2 fWAR for New York in 2018, with declines in each subsequent year. Using his fWAR projections and inflating the cost of a win by five percent each season has Stanton’s value topping $450 million by 2027.
Steamer projections are less optimistic for 2018, estimating Stanton to be worth 5.9 fWAR in 2018. Using this projection, and reducing that by one-half a win for each year from ages 31 to 27, while still inflating the cost of a win by five percent each season, has Stanton’s value close to $400 million over the next 10 years. If you use Steamer’s projections but adjust them for just 120 games played each season — adjustments that reflect Stanton being on the disabled list every season from 2012 to 2016 — his value would be close to $300 million over the next decade. In other words, Stanton could be injured every year and still provide value to the Yankees over the life of the contract.
According to the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, the Yankees are 6-to-1 to win the 2018 World Series, second-choice behind the Los Angeles Dodgers (9-to-2 odds) and tied with the Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians. But once Judge and Stanton start hitting balls out of the yard, you can expect those odds to shorten quickly, with everyone looking to catch the Yankees as the best offensive team in baseball.
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