Upon entering Saturday’s game against the Red Sox, Giancarlo Stanton’s July has not been something to write home about. His line this month, not counting yesterday’s action in Fenway, sits at .230/.309/.361, which equates to a .288 wOBA and an 88 wRC+. Those are not numbers we expect from Stanton. So what’s behind them? Fastballs.
This month, Stanton has seen a season-high amount of fastballs at 60.8%. He’s turned them into a .330 wOBA, which, at first blush, isn’t so bad. However, when we consider his previous wOBAs against fastballs (.449 in June; .518 in May; and .453 in April), it’s a drop off. The first thing to blame is, as it has been for lots of Yankees this year, his groundball rate. His groundball percentage against fastballs sits at 56 for the month of July, a season-high and part of a rising trend going back to May. Predictably, this has robbed him of a bit of power; his July ISO on fastballs is just .162, which may be fine for some, but not Big G.
Additional whiffs on in-zone fastballs have also hurt his production on the pitch. That number is up to 28.4, a season high. Couple that with the fact that he’s seeing 59.4% in-zone fastballs and there’s a recipe for success for the pitchers. They’re challenging Stanton with fastballs that he should be able to hit, that he’s previously hit; but this time, they’re beating him.
On the plus side of things, we’ve seen Stanton clobber fastballs for most of the year and his .330 wOBA on the pitch is beating his xWOBA (.290), likely thanks to a 93.2 average exit velocity against fastballs. That number is down (as are his EVs against breaking and offspeed pitches) this month, but is still very good.
Despite what an annoyingly large segment of the fanbase thinks, Giancarlo Stanton is a great hitter and will likely break out of this. He needs to fix this year-and-a-half long groundball streak, but I’m confident he can break back out against number one.