Giancarlo Stanton homers twice in Yankees debut, calls it 'a great day'

ByColey Harvey via ESPN logo
Friday, March 30, 2018

TORONTO -- Their first words said it all.

"Wow." "Impressive." "Impresionante."

It didn't take long for Giancarlo Stanton to amaze his New York Yankees teammates and to make an impact with them, as the slugger uncorked a long home run to right field in his first at-bat of the season Thursday afternoon.

It wasn't his only one.

Stanton, the 2017 National League MVP who led all of baseball with 59 home runs for the Miami Marlins, delivered once again in the ninth inning of a 6-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. That homer was a virtual carbon copy of the first, landing closer to straightaway center amid a set of rows all adorned in blue and white bunting.

"Yeah, great to get that first one out of the way early, and can stop worrying about it," Stanton said. "It was a great day."

Both of Stanton's shots were sights that Yankees fans had eagerly been hoping to see since the team traded for him in December. And something they hadn't seen since 1963, when Joe Pepitone was the last Yankees player to have multiple home runs on Opening Day.

Other current Yankees were taken aback by Stanton's first game in pinstripes.

"I've never seen a debut like that," relief pitcher Dellin Betances said. "Those balls were hit out in less than two seconds. The guy just has massive pop."

Stanton's fellow Yankees hitter with pop, Aaron Judge, watched his new teammate's at-bats closely.

"Just wow. It was impressive to see that first-hand, and to see his approach," Judge said, smiling. "To square one up like that, it's just fun to watch."

Asked about Stanton's day, Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez offered one word while speaking next to a translator: "Impresionante" (or, "impressive" in Spanish).

Added starting pitcher Luis Severino: "Thank God I don't have to face [this lineup]. We've got a lot of power hitters. I'm glad that Stanton, Judge and Gary are here."

Stanton's home run in the top of the first inning was measured at 426 feet by Statcast, and it came on an 0-1 pitch off Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ.

The exit velocity was measured at 117.3 mph, the fastest for a batted ball at Rogers Centre since Statcast began tracking in 2015. The previous fastest exit velocity at the park was held by Judge (113.6 mph).

According to, Stanton's first-inning homer also had the hardest exit velocity for any home run hit to the opposite field since Statcast has tracked such things.

As soon as Stanton made contact with the baseball, he looked at where he hit the opposite-field shot. He then flipped his bat to the side with his right hand and began his home run trot, the gold chain around his neck bouncing with every step.

"It just feels like the last week, his timing has been really good, I feel like he's starting to find that good timing," said manager Aaron Boone, who became the fourth consecutive Yankees manager to win his managerial debut with the team.

"Timing is so important to a hitter, but for a guy with his talent, his power, once he gets on time, he's deadly. All day long, he was winning pitches."

His homer in the ninth to straightaway center off Tyler Clippard wasn't quite as hard (109.4 mph) as the first, but it did travel farther (434 feet). When he returned to the dugout following the homer, a camera caught Stanton getting the silent treatment from teammates. So, he high-fived the air, as if pretending to celebrate with them.

"Somebody says, 'Stay back, stay back,' and you listen," Betances said, laughing while discussing the silent welcome. "We're just giving him some mess on the first day."

Stanton had 10 games with multiple home runs for the Marlins last season, which was tops in the majors. He became the first Yankees player to homer on Opening Day since Raul Ibanez did it in 2012. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Stanton also was the first Yankees player to get three extra-base hits and four RBIs on Opening Day since Roger Maris made his debut with the team in 1960.

Stanton also is the first player to homer on Opening Day in his first at-bat with the Yankees since Curtis Granderson did it in 2010.

"It's an interesting feeling," Stanton said, asked of his thoughts rounding the bases after both home runs. "Similar to my first [homer] ever.

"It was my first Opening Day here, so everything felt new. The newness of it felt a lot like my first one."

The players with baseball's four highest single-season home run totals have now all homered on the Opening Days following their historic seasons. Stanton joins Barry Bonds (73 home runs in 2001), Mark McGwire (70 in 1998) and Roger Maris (61 in 1961).

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