One of the biggest questions the New York Yankees must answer in 2023 is how they will utilize Giancarlo Stanton. At 33 years old, Stanton has dealt with a myriad of different injuries since joining the Yankees back in 2018.
Stanton played in just 18 games during the 2019 season and 23 games during the abbreviated Covid campaign. He shot up to 139 in 2021 and dropped back down to 110 this past year. However, his 2022 season was arguably the worst in his entire career, and the numbers support that claim. He hit .211 with a .297 OBP, 31 homers, and 115 wRC+. He still managed to slug at an incredibly efficient pace, specifically dominated during the first half of the season, earning himself an All-Star appearance. However, the second half of the year was abysmal, likely as a result of a problematic calf injury.
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Due to Stanton’s durability issues and unreliability, the Yankees have to be incredibly careful with how they utilize him on defense, trying to mitigate his workload throughout the course of a full season. In fact, manager Aaron Boone will likely deploy him as a reserve outfielder, giving players like Aaron Judge rest and sliding into right field where he will have an easier time.
“I want to get him out there, but I see him more in right field in our ballpark, maybe on days where I give Judge a DH day,” Boone said. “Or G can spell left field in other ballparks. Hopefully, physically, he’s in a space where he’s playing the outfield in spurts all year long. I put him in left field last year in a playoff game out of need, and he was ready for it.”Via MLB.com.
The Yankees can’t consider Giancarlo Stanton as a primary option to fill left field:
Yankee stadium has a much easier right field than left field, so factoring him into the position battle on the left side is a bad move. Currently, the Yankees expect to pin Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Cabrera against each other for the starting gig, but Stanton will only be a supplementary option instead of an everyday outfielder.
It is unfortunate since Stanton is actually quite a solid defensive player when healthy, utilizing an incredibly strong arm and underrated athleticism to make plays. In fact, he has 45 defensive runs saved during his career in the outfield, but those numbers have taken a turn for the worse after joining the Yankees.
Obviously, Giancarlo’s primary value comes in the form of his bat and home-run-hitting capabilities. Nonetheless, the Yanks need to get more value out of him, which means they may have to find ways to keep him healthy since consistency is key for his style of play.