Dan's Dugout: Yankee Power Will be Fearsome Force • Latino Sports


Dan’s Dugout: Yankee Power Will be Fearsome Force


TAMPA, FL – Yankees fans who flocked to Orlando for the Friday exhibition game against the Atlanta Braves were disappointed.

Neither of the team’s two 50-homer hitters from last season, Giancarlo Stanton or Mike Stanton, made the tedious bus ride to Disney World across traffic-snarled I-4.

Even with several other sluggers in the lineup, the Yankees loost a 3-1 verdit to Braves ace Julio Teheran and a succession of relievers. The cold, windy weather may have been a factor.

Photo by: Cesar Rivera/Latin Faces

Aaron Judge needs to avoid a sophomore slump
Credit: Cesar Rivera/Latin Faces

Under the sun Saturday, however, Stanton slugged his first home run in pinstripes, a two-run shot to center against Matt Harvey of the Mets that gave his team a 5-1 lead in the fifth at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

The Subway Series preview doesn’t mean as much since the advent of interleague play but New Yorkers on spring break from work or school got a chance to get first dibs on bragging rights.

Stanton, whose 59-homer season for the Miami Marlins led the major leagues last year, is expected to compete for the American League home run crown with new teammate Aaron Judge, who hit 52 – a rookie record – in his first full season a year ago. Both are likely contenders for the 2018 American League MVP award.

The Yankees got Stanton in a lopsided winter trade after new Marlins CEO Derek Jeter decided to dump payroll. Since Jeter had spent his entire 20-year career with the Yankees, the deal seemed to many like a fishy deal by the Fish. It smelled that way too, according to observers shocked by the little return the Marlins received, but Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred failed to investigate – making it a done deal.

Giancarlo Stanton led the NL in homers and RBI before the Marlins sent him to the Yankees

The only problem so far has been Stanton’s ability to adjust to left field, where the sun shines in the outfielder’s eyes on early summer evenings. Both he and Judge, the American League’s Rookie of the Year, played right last season.

Stanton and Judge probably should be playing for the Giants; combined, they tower almost as high as the Empire State Building.

Judge is 6’7″ tall and 282 pounds, while Stanton is 6’6″ tall and 245 pounds. Both bat righthanded – a slight detriment in a ballpark with a short right-field wall. But neither player is worried.

Rookie manager Aaron Boone believes his club could threaten the single-season record for home runs by a team, 264 by the 1997 Seattle Mariners. In addition to the two hulking sluggers, Boone’s blasters include Greg Bird, Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorius, and Brett Gardner.

The Yankees won 10 of their first 14 Grapefruit League games, thanks in part to unexpected power production from rookies Miguel Andujar and Billy McKinney, both of whom have four home runs.

Aaron Judge was a 2017 All-Star and Home Run Derby competitor

Through 2017, the team had put together a string of 25 consecutive winning seasons, trailing only the 39-year streak the Yankees had from 1926-64. The team opens its 2018 campaign in Toronto against the Blue Jays on March 29.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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