Is the Yankees’ slugger injecting himself into the MVP conversation?
As the Yankees continue rolling, one of the biggest bodies in their lineup has been producing in an even bigger way.
Giancarlo Stanton heard the boo birds early in his tenure with the Yankees. He’s had his ups and downs since being traded to New York, but this season has seen him become an absolute beast.
He has arrived, and he is putting a dent in the American League playoff chase with every thunderous swing.
The Yankees have been playing well across the board, but Stanton has picked big moments to make his presence felt.
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— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 29, 2021
Since Aug. 15, Stanton has been one of the hottest bats in all of baseball. He has appeared in 39 games over that stretch, accounting for 158 plate appearances. What has he done with those opportunities?
- 20 runs scored
- 17 home runs
- 40 runs batted in
- .322/.361/.712 slash line
- 1.073 OPS
- 1.427 Wins Probability Added
For the sake of comparison, Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. — who is chasing a potential triple crown — has a 11 home runs and 17 RBI with a slash line of .309/.385/.549 in 182 plate appearances. Those are really good numbers, but not as good as Stanton has been over the same stretch in 24 fewer plate appearances.
Stanton, with Aaron Judge, has been one of the biggest catalysts in the Yankees’ run to the top of the American League Wild Card race. They’re in front of the Blue Jays in the standings at the moment; Stanton’s undeniable role in the Yankees’ success has to be noted.
However, it appears the front-runners for the Most Valuable Player Award in the American League may all be on non-playoff teams.
Most believe the winner will be Shohei Ohtani, and rightfully so. He has been remarkable at the plate and dominant on the mound. According to Baseball Reference, Ohtani leads all of Major League Baseball with 8.9 WAR this season.
The only player many believe has a shot at stealing the award from Ohtani is Guerrero, and he’ll likely need to finish the season with the Jays getting into the postseason and a triple crown to win the award. Even then, Ohtani’s performance both offensively and on the mound will likely be too much to overcome.
Others mentioned in the conversation for the AL MVP have been Marcus Semien of the Blue Jays and Salvador Perez of the Royals.
Semien (7.2) has actually out-paced Guerrero (6.9) in WAR this season. Perez, meanwhile, has established a new record for home runs from a catcher this season, breaking Johnny Bench’s long-time mark.
Of those five players, none figures to be in the playoffs without a strong final week from Toronto.
Could Stanton’s late-season impact get him a vote on ballots? It should. The chances he passes Ohtani for the award are long, but he should at least be in the conversation.