Yankees eyeing essential offensive reinforcements with key slugger

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 New York Yankees‘ offense has been underwhelming over the past few weeks, notably due to a series of significant injuries. Losing Giancarlo Stanton at the start of the 2024 season was expected, but his absence has had a more profound impact than most anticipated.

Stanton’s Vital Role in the Yankees’ Lineup

The Yankees have felt the absence of Stanton in the middle of their batting order, especially as his backup, Trent Grisham, has struggled this season despite a good performance against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday. This year, Stanton is hitting .246/.302/.492, including 18 homers and 45 RBIs, with a 32% strikeout rate and 7.1% walk rate. While these averages may not be eye-opening, a 124 wRC+ indicates he’s 24% better than the average MLB hitter, underscored by his impressive slugging capabilities.

MLB: Houston Astros at New York Yankees, giancarlo stanton
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Stanton’s Dominance at the Plate

Giancarlo ranks in the 100th percentile in speed and 95th percentile in expected slugging at .536. Additionally, he has a 99th percentile barrel percentage and a 96th percentile hard-hit percentage, solidifying his status as one of the most lethal sluggers in the game. For the first time since 2021, he has managed a 30% on-base rate.

Anticipated Return and Impact

Fortunately, Stanton is expected to return to the lineup in the next few weeks, bypassing a rehab assignment altogether. The Yankees believe their new rehabilitation system allows Stanton to face live pitching without needing to spend any time in the minor leagues, which also helps him avoid field play.

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at New York Yankees
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Strategic Moves and Future Outlook

General Manager Brian Cashman is poised to make some moves at the trade deadline, and combining these with the reinforcements already on the roster could provide a perfect solution to some of their current issues. The infield could use another above-average bat, and the bullpen desperately needs support. The eventual return of Stanton, Jon Berti’s value in the infield, and the pitching support from Clarke Schmidt, Cody Poteet, and Ian Hamilton will all help to offset these needs.

Despite currently going through a cold stretch, the Yankees have many reasons to remain optimistic for the second half of the season. With key players returning and potential new additions, the team is hopeful to peak at the right time and make a deep playoff push.

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