Yankees eyeing 2 key offensive reinforcements returning from injury

May 18, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton (27) hits a solo home run against the Chicago White Sox during the third inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees‘ offense has been in disarray over the past few weeks, with several reserve players filling starting roles and regular contributors failing to make a positive impact. However, the team is eyeing the return of two key offensive players, slugger Giancarlo Stanton and infielder Jon Berti, who was acquired from the Miami Marlins at the beginning of the season.

The Yankees Need Stanton Back

Stanton has been supplemented by Trent Grisham since suffering a left hamstring injury and landing on the 10-day injured list. Stanton did some hitting on Tuesday of this past week and is continuing to do light running and hitting as he progresses through his rehabilitation process.

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays
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The expectation is that he won’t be ready to return for at least another few weeks, but the Yankees desperately need his production, and, fortunately, they have a week off for the All-Star break that gives them a bit of cushion between now and his eventual return.

Stanton was hitting .246/.302/492, including 18 homers and 45 RBIs before his injury. He did host a 32% strikeout rate but had a 125 wRC+, ranking among the best in baseball regarding slugging and power metrics. For the first time in two years, he has an on-base rate above 30%, and his batting average has skyrocketed compared to his .191 average last season.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at New York Yankees
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Ultimately, the Bombers desperately miss his hitting qualities and abilities with runners in scoring position since Grisham has struggled to contribute in his stead.

Berti’s Expected Boost to the Infield

On the other hand, Berti would be a huge help at third base, as DJ LeMahieu is struggling. The 34-year-old suffered a calf injury several weeks ago and is expected to start taking live at-bats shortly after the All-Star break. The veteran infielder was hitting .273/.322/.327, including one homer and six RBIs before his injury.

Over 17 games, he hosted a 21.7% strikeout rate and 6.7% walk rate. Ultimately, the Yankees acquired him for his batting average and sprint speed percentile metrics. In fact, Berti is two years removed from 41 stolen bases and ranks in the 94th percentile in sprint speed. In addition, he was among the best in baseball in terms of chase and whiff rates.

Implications for the Team’s Lineup

The Bombers could use both Stanton and Berti back to fill essential roles in the lineup. The bottom half of the batting order has been a liability lately, and general manager Brian Cashman will have no choice but to make some important moves at the deadline in late July.

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