Yankees need injured slugger more than they realized

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 were all smiles through the first 70 games of the 2024 season. They were 49-21 in those contests, had a fantastic pitching staff and a quality lineup led by Aaron Judge and Juan Soto but supported by good performances by Giancarlo Stanton, Anthony Volpe, Alex Verdugo, and others.

Things, in MLB, can change in a hurry, though. Stanton got hurt, Verdugo and Volpe entered in deep slumps, and DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres haven’t been able to consistently produce all season. As a result, the Yankees have to rely on Judge and Soto’s performance far more than they probably would prefer, and the offense has struggled badly since mid-June because two guys can’t do the work of nine.

Things have gone downhill since Giancarlo Stanton’s injury

MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees, ben rice
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie Ben Rice is slowly showing he can become another contributor, and that gives the Yanks a bit more length. Still, more than ever, the lineup needs Stanton back. Badly.

Judge (1.105 OPS) and Soto (.983) have both been awesome. Stanton, with all his flaws, contributed a .795 OPS and 18 homers before going down. Considering the low bar set by the lineup beyond the two stars, having that production right now would be amazing.

The Yankees are certainly missing Giancarlo Stanton

MLB: New York Yankees-Workouts

The Yankees are hopeful that Stanton can be back in the lineup shortly after the All-Star break. The last we heard about him was a little over a week ago, when he resumed treadmill activities on June 27 per manager Aaron Boone, and that he did some hitting on July 2.

He has been out since June 22 with a mild hamstring strain. Considering his history with lower-body injuries, the Yankees are making sure to take things slow with him. He got a platelet-rich plasma injection a day after going down, and is expected to be ready later this month, towards the end.

Yes, fans have criticized Stanton for his low batting average (.191 last year, .246 in 2024) and high strikeouts (124 in 2023, 90 this season), but unlike last campaign, he is consistently hitting for power this year. That .795 OPS (which translates to an above-average 124 wRC+) would be like having a glass of cold water in the desert for the ailing Yankees offense at the moment.

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