Entering Spring Training last season, all eyes were peered on Giancarlo Stanton -- the reigning National League MVP -- to see if he could handle the pressure of wearing the pinstripes. The year was full of ups and downs, with Stanton most notably struggling to hit well at Yankee Stadium.
But, with a full Yankees season under his belt, this Spring Training vibe for Stanton is different. It's more calm. Tranquil. And it's because Stanton now realizes what it takes to play on the Big Apple.
"I have a better idea of how to play left field with half a year playing there under my belt," Stanton told The Post's Dan Martin. "Everything is much more comfortable after a season in New York. It helps me, for sure."
As most athletes can attest, it is a different monster playing in New York City. And when you're a prolific talent like Stanton was last season being traded from the Marlins to the Yankees, expectations fly through the roof while quick criticisms come in a heartbeat.
Whether it was questions about Stanton's dissatisfaction of how the Marlins were being run, or what it was about Yankee Stadium that made his bat go cold, the slugger quickly learned he needed to block out the outside noise to succeed on the field.
He seems to have grasped that part of his game now.
"There's always gonna be a buzz about something here," Stanton said. "You have to filter that out and go out and play. I know how to separate them better now.
"I understand the difference of playing in New York more now. Until you experience it, you can't really prepare for it."
Manager Aaron Boone has also recognized Stanton's receptiveness of how listening to the reports and talk shows can be a deterrent to one's game. And the media has let up on Stanton with all the big storylines out of the way and cleared up.
Stanton is now a part of the team in 2019 instead of the new kid on the block, and Boone thinks that will be good for him to kick off the season.
"All that he was dealing with this time last year, with getting to know us and his teammates, he comes in now more like a regular player this year," Boone said. "He's had probably just a quiet camp."
Stanton's numbers are looking good down in Florida thus far, as he went 2-for-3 with another solo homer against the Phillies on Wednesday night. So far, he has a .320 average with two homers and three RBI over 10 games.