WASHINGTON — Brian Cashman is like the vast majority of Yankees fans when Giancarlo Stanton steps into the box.
“He’s someone that, every time he has an at-bat, you stop and kind of wait and watch what’s going to happen,” Cashman said by phone Monday. “Because he’s so impressive, and you don’t want to miss an opportunity to see someone impact a baseball the way he does.”
In the early going this season, there were not as many of those moments as Yankees fans desired, and during some games at the Stadium, many of them let Stanton know of their displeasure. But as the weather has warmed in recent weeks and the Yankees have taken off, there are indications that Stanton has, too.
He went 4-for-4 in Sunday’s 6-2 victory over the A’s — the Yankees’ 18th win in their last 21 games — including his 10th homer, a double and a two-run single that left his bat at 117 mph.
The performance made Stanton 13-for-38 with five homers, four doubles, six walks and 11 RBIs in his last 11 games and brought into focus something pointed out after Sunday’s game and reiterated by Cashman on Monday: “His numbers at this stage last year almost mirror this year.”
Indeed, after games of May 13 a year ago, a season in which Stanton finished with 59 homers and 132 RBIs and was named National League MVP, he was hitting .259 with an .876 OPS, 11 homers and 26 RBIs.
As the Yankees start a three-city trip Tuesday in Washington, Stanton is hitting .252 with an .855 OPS, 10 homers and 26 RBIs.
The numbers against righties need work — he’s hitting .192 with a .622 OPS, three homers and 11 RBIs in 120 at-bats— but Stanton is destroying lefties, hitting .457 with a 1.659 OPS, seven homers and 15 RBIs in 35 at-bats.
“It was good to see him have the day he did, and he’s been crushing lefthanders, obviously,” Cashman said. “Obviously, his track record speaks for itself.
“I wouldn’t want to face him if I was an opposing pitcher. As long as he stays healthy, I think there’s nothing but a lot of good stuff to come . . . Anybody that’s had an extended career, they’re going to have their peaks and valleys. But the stars of the games have the most peaks, and when a valley hits, obviously it creates a lot of noise, but as long as they’re healthy, you know the best is yet to come.”
Monday marked the 20th and final day of Brandon Drury’s rehab assignment, and the play of rookie third baseman Miguel Andujar has earned him more time in the big leagues. The Yankees announced Monday that Drury, acquired Feb. 20 to be the club’s starting third baseman, had been activated and optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Andujar has cooled off since his extra-base hit tear but still is hitting .282 and slugging .458. He has three homers and 12 doubles in 131 at-bats and has been solid in the field.
Frazier a minor sensation
Though there currently isn’t a spot for him on the roster, outfielder Clint Frazier, who missed most of spring camp and the start of the season because of a concussion, has been tearing it up with Scranton. Frazier, 23, has gone 17-for-43 with three homers, three doubles and two triples in his last 11 games.
“Anything that he does at that level’s not going to surprise me because he is an extremely talented, high-ceiling player and obviously with a great deal of motivation to be an impact player,” Cashman said. “It’s good to see him playing up to his capabilities.”
Aaron Judge has 11 home runs and Stanton, Didi Gregorius and Gary Sanchez have 10 each through 40 games. According to ESPN.com, before this year, the Yankees had never had four players with at least 10 home runs in the first 50 games, let alone 40.
The last team to have four players with 10 home runs by the 40th game was the 2003 Rangers (Rafael Palmeiro, Carl Everett, Juan Gonzalez and Alex Rod riguez).
Greg Bird (March 27 ankle surgery) and Billy McKinney (shoulder sprain) continued their rehab assignments Monday with Double-A Trenton. McKinney went 0-for-4 and Bird was 0-for-3. Bird could return in the next two weeks.
Despite getting off to a slow start this year, Giancarlo Stanton’s 2018 numbers practically mirror his stats a year ago at this time in his NL MVP season: