Yankees OF/DH Giancarlo Stanton‘s slow start to the 2018 season continued in his first two plate appearances on Tuesday against the Marlins, his former team. In the first inning, with runners on first and second and no outs, Stanton grounded into a 4-3 double play. In the third inning, with runners on first and second and one out, Stanton popped out to second base.
After his second at-bat, Stanton slammed his bat in frustration. Fans at Yankee Stadium, also frustrated, booed him once more, per Nick Stellini of Sporting News and Baseball Prospectus:
Given the strong negative reaction to Stanton thus far this season, one would think Stanton’s numbers are abysmal, but they’re not. He came into Tuesday’s action with a .745 OPS, which is much lower than his .912 career OPS, but certainly passable.
The issue is really the manner in which Stanton is struggling. He’s rarely homering. In fact, he hasn’t homered in nearly two weeks. He’s striking out a ton, including racking up five punch-outs in two separate games, becoming only the third player since 1908 with two or more such games in a season (Ray Lankford had three in 1998; Deron Johnson had two in 1964). Stanton is also coming off a career year in which he led the majors in both home runs and RBI with 59 and 132, respectively. The expectations were high and the owner of baseball’s largest contract has yet to live up to them in baseball’s largest media market.