Have Yankees’ Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton finally figured out how to avoid injury?

Alexander Wilson
New York Yankees, NYY, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton
Oct 9, 2020; San Diego, California, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) celebrates with designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton (27) after hitting a solo home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the fourth inning of game five of the 2020 ALDS at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have been hit significantly hard by the injury bug the last few seasons, which has been a direct influence on their postseason strategy. In 2020, sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton missed a majority of the season. That doesn’t even begin to incorporate the pitching and their issues, with James Paxton missing a majority of the campaign and Tommy Kahnle undergoing Tommy John surgery.

In light of all these realizations, the Yankees fired their previous director of health and performance, Matt Kraus. They hired Eric Cressey to replace him, but with COVID-19 taking hold, he wasn’t able to implement his new strategies, which was obvious based on the injuries the team faced.

However, Cressey was able to implement his new system this off-season, and he will leave the players will be better off in 2021.

YES Network’s Meredith Marakovits interviewed Yankees’ director of health and performance, Eric Cressey, on Thursday, in which he indicated a stark difference in Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Santon’s workout routines this offseason.

“Both of those guys took a dramatically different approach this offseason from what they’ve previously done,” Cressey said. “I’d say in both cases, they lifted less than they have in the past.”

Over the past two seasons, Judge has played in 130 games, which doesn’t even equal an entire season. In 2020, he put together just 28 performances out of 60, a disappointingly low number that impacted the Yankees’ momentum and overall record.

Stanton was no better, as he played in just 23 games, hitting four homers and earning a .250 batting average during that span. Both players have been injured consistently over the past two years, but this new system will likely reduce their heavy lifting and improve their stamina and longevity.

Ultimately, improving power is beneficial, but not if you can’t stay on the field. The Yankees desperately need their biggest players to remain healthy, and with Stanton on a massive contract and Judge up for a new deal soon, they need to see more continuity.

With Cressey’s system in place, we could even see Stanton playing outfield again. He was confident that Stanton could’ve played during the postseason against the Tampa Bay Rays last year, but the Yankees ultimately took a more conservative route.

“I think particularly with Stanton, we saw really, really good glimpses of what G is when he’s going good,” Cressey. “There was actually a period in left field prior to Game 5, in that last series against the Rays, when he was out there doing some sprint work [at Petco Park]. It was as athletic as I’ve ever seen him. I was confident that he could have gone out there and played the outfield for us that night. And it was super-encouraging.