It all happened so quickly, it’s almost surreal. One thing led to another, and all of a sudden Giancarlo Stanton was on the New York Yankees. The major league-leader in team home runs acquired the major league leader in home runs. The number two scoring offense in the MLB acquired the NL MVP. Next thing you know, people are throwing around things like “Last pair of teammates to hit 50 home runs? Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle.” “Do you know how many home runs Stanton would’ve hit in Yankee Stadium? Over 70.” “Sanchez, Judge, Stanton home runs? 144. Red Sox home runs? 168.” Remember when Brian Cashman said the Red Sox were the Golden State Warriors of baseball? Funny how what goes around comes back around.
The Yankees may have just assembled one of the greatest 3-4-5 combos in recent history. How worried should the Red Sox be? Let’s look at how the Yankees sluggers have done against the Red Sox.
A pretty mixed bag here. There’s not a huge sample size, but there are a couple of concerning things here – Pomeranz and Price. In 29 at-bats against the two southpaws, Sanchez has seven home runs and 15 RBIs. He’s also three for nine against Eduardo Rodriguez. Sanchez kills lefties. Boston has four in their starting rotation. That’s going to be an issue. One thing Sanchez doesn’t kill: curveballs (AVG on far right).
The problem is that is how many curveballs can you throw before he learns to lay off, and he’s still only 25. As you can see, he doesn’t really have another pitch weakness.
Now for Judge:
Judge’s sample size is even smaller, considering he was a rookie last year, but the Sox did a great job with him. In 61 at-bats, he had just eight hits and one home run. Sale was particularly dominant (is that really a surprise?), striking out Judge 10 times in 12 at-bats. Judge is hard to gauge because of his hot start, bad slump, and hot finish, but the more he plays the more teams will learn how to pitch him. Below are Judge’s stats against each type of pitch. On the far right is batting average. As you can see, Judge is pretty darn good against nearly every pitch – except sliders. Luckily for Boston, they got a couple guys with some of the nasty sliders – Sale, Price, Rodriguez, and Kimbrel.
Finally, the new addition: Giancarlo Stanton.
As you can see, there really isn’t much to go on here, which means Stanton is going to be the big wild card. But like Judge and Sanchez, Stanton has his weaknesses.
Over his career, breaking balls have given him some trouble. He bats just .219 against sliders and .232 against curveballs. As we’ve discussed, the Sox pitchers, on the whole, have pretty good breaking balls. But all it takes is one miss and…
The bottom line is Sanchez, Judge, and Stanton are going to be great, but they do have their weaknesses. Even if the Sox pitchers handle them well, they still have the rest of a very dangerous line-up to deal with. Regardless of pitching altogether, Boston really needs to go out and get a couple of bats if they hope to compete with the Bronx Bombers.
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