New York Yankees: Is Giancarlo Stanton due for a breakout season?

New York Yankees, Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

New York Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton struggled to stay on the field last year. He only appeared in twenty-three games. Yankee fans have been very critical of the 31-year old outfielder since he was acquired by New York in December 2017. But is he due for another breakout season?

Fans often forget how good Stanton was in 2018. Here are his stats from his first year in New York: 617 AB, 164 H, 38 HR, 100 RBI, 70 BB, .266 AVG, .343 OBP, .509 SLG, .852 OPS, oWAR 3.7.

Yankee fans expected Giancarlo Stanton to hit 50 home runs in 2018 because of how much success he had the previous year with the Marlins. When Stanton only hit 38, fans seemed to be very disappointed and started calling him “overpaid” and “overrated.” What fans didn’t see, was how good of a season Stanton had compared to his past years. He had the most doubles in his career, the second-most hits, and the second-most home runs. His AVG was only .266 but was still the fourth-highest in his career. Stanton carried the Yankees to a playoff berth that year and it goes unnoticed. 

What should we expect this year?

With two years in the Bronx under his belt, I feel it’s time that Stanton has a similar 2018 season. He’s been off the field for too long and is starting to get frustrated with himself. You can tell all he wants to do is be out there and help his team. I think this is the year he does that more than ever. A shortened season is the perfect time for Stanton to get hot and have a great 60-game stretch. From June 22 – Aug 29th, 2017, Stanton hit 33 home runs and averaged a .824 SLG percentage. That was from his incredible MVP season, but it shows how hot Stanton can get in a short span. With the talent the Yankees have offensively, Stanton can do half of that and still have an incredible season. Stanton is one of those players that is either really cold or really hot. But even when he’s cold, he still puts up top-notch hitting numbers.

Here are my predictions for Giancarlo Stanton this season: 220 AB, 65 H, 14 HR, 37 RBI, 14 BB, .295 AVG, .354 OBP, .510 SLG, .904 OPS, oWAR 2.4

Don’t give up on Stanton yet. 

Why Yankees’ Clint Frazier could secure a starting job to start the 2020 season

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

Yankees’ Clint Frazier is a major league talent that has been stuck behind New York’s outfield depth for years. He played in 39 games last year due to the plethora of injuries that the Yankees had to deal with.

However, he didn’t play well in right field causing the Yankees’ trust in him to drop. He has been working hard to improve his fielding and has seemed to impress manager Aaron Boone.

Is this the year that we finally see Frazier’s name in the Opening Day lineup?

Clint Frazier was a part of the Andrew Miller trade in 2016 and has been stuck in the Yankees’ minor-league system ever since.

He made his debut on July 1st, 2017 and has played a decent amount of games for the Yankees. However, he has yet to secure his spot on the roster. Frazier is a Major League Baseball player. He’s just on the wrong team. A lot of Yankee fans think he would serve as a good trade piece but the organization hasn’t shown anything that would make us believe they plan to do so.

So, what’s their plan?

It’s hard to tell what the Yankees’ intentions are for Frazier. Especially now that they are trying to move Miguel Andujar to the outfield. The Yankees have HUGE depth in the outfield and it’s really hard to pick a time and a place where Frazier can become a permanent starter.

Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge aren’t going anywhere anytime soon and Hicks will replace Gardner once he retires. So where does Frazier fit?

Over the past two years, we’ve seen Judge and Stanton on and off the field with different injuries. That is why Frazier has been playing in so many games recently. But with Stanton, Judge, and Hicks expected to start things in the outfield, we might see Frazier in that DH spot. Or, with Aaron Judge missing his second straight intrasquad game, it could be possible that we see Frazier start things out for the Yankees on July 23rd. The Yankees are expected to use Stanton as a DH to start the season so it could be that New York plans to use Frazier out there instead of Gardner.

This year has been crazy already, who knows what we might see next. Right now, I don’t see Frazier in the lineup against the Nationals on Opening Day. If a spot opens however, I have no doubt that Frazier will be able to hold his own. He has the ability to start for most ball clubs and the Yankees know that. I think New York has something up their sleeve for Red Thunder this year. Look out to see how the Yankees plan to incorporate Frazier this season.

Yankees’ Aaron Boone gives us answers on Miguel Andujar for 2020

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar

In early 2019, Yankees’ Miguel Andujar suffered a season-ending shoulder injury sliding back into third base. After that, Gio Urshela stepped up and took over as the starting third baseman. Since then, Andujar has been a question mark for the Yankees. In Spring Training, Boone talked about transferring Andujar to the outfield and using him as a DH but hasn’t talked about their plans for Andujar in the 2020 season. 

In a press conference yesterday, Aaron Boone talked about where they’ve been placing Andujar during Summer Camp. He said, “he’s been getting work in the outfield” but he is still “balancing between the two” positions (third base and outfield). Boone said when they were doing fielding work a couple of days ago, Andujar was “doing all of his stuff with the outfielders.” He finished by saying the Yankees “continue to be excited in his ability to play the corners of the outfield but also at third.” 

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Later that night, Andujar started in left field in the intrasquad game and hit an opposite-field home run off of starting pitcher Gerrit Cole. 

If it works out, Andujar will provide more talent and depth into an already stacked outfield. When Stanton shifts back to left field, it seems very likely that Andujar will take over the DH spot for the Yankees. 

Many forget how talented Andujar is at the plate. His 2018 stats were: 573 AB, 170 H, .297 AVG, .328 OBP, .527 SLG, .855 OPS, 47 2B, 2 3B, 27 HR, 92 RBI, 25 BB. Andujar ended up finishing second in “Rookie of the Year” voting in 2018 behind the slugging right-handed pitcher, Shohei Ohtani. 

Andujar is a very versatile and talented player.  His ability to get on base and hit the opposite way will further justify placing him in the DH role this year. Look to see Andujar’s name in a lot of lineup cards this season.  

New York Yankees’ Clint Frazier has been dealing with secret foot injury for months

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

Despite having a new strength and conditioning coach in Eric Cressey, the New York Yankees still can’t manage to escape the injury bug. With Aaron Judge, James Paxton, Giancarlo Stanton, and more all returning from injury and attempting to stay healthy, there’s a lot of emphasis on recovery and rehabilitation.

However, we can add another name to the list. Clint Frazier has been dealing with “a little foot issue” for months, manager Aaron Boone stated following Tuesday’s intrasquad game.

The New York Yankees are taking things easy with their injured players

Frazier has been taking it easy for the past few months, as the lingering issue has affected his play. That is a major reason why he has taken minimal at-bats and looked a little bit off. Usually, his name rings a bell on occasion, but he has been mostly a ghost the past few weeks. He seems to be well on his way to recovery. Frazier was launching homers prior to the start of the game on Tuesday.

“But he’s been able to do anything from running to playing the outfield,” Boone said of Frazier, who launched a few booming home runs in batting practice hours before. “So we’re just taking of slow playing him (at DH) these first couple of days.”

With the active roster being expanded to 30 players, Frazier has a fantastic opportunity. He can lock down an active spot with a good summer camp performance.

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Frazier was a bit a rocky in 2019

Last season with the Yankees, he played in 69 games, posting a .267 batting average with 12 home runs and 38 RBIs. The majority of his deficiencies came on defense, as he struggled with a .963 outfield fielding percentage and committed three errors.

Frazier has the offensive prowess to excel at the MLB level, and an increase in defensive production would help him significantly in this development. If he can earn one of the expanded four roster spots, they will likely utilize him in the outfield as Stanton and Judge could rotate in the DH spot for the time being.

Boone stated that Stanton would likely feature as DH, and they are optimistic that Judge will be ready for the start of the regular season. Ideally, Judge will start in right field and Aaron Hicks in center field, leaving left for Fraser or Brett Gardner to slide into.

New York Yankees Analysis: How the intensity of a short season can help the Yankees

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Santon

The New York Yankees, as well as all the MLB teams, have been waiting to play ball for months due to a coronavirus shutdown and baseball negotiations that seemed to go on forever, between the owners and the players.  One of those issues is behind us for the time being, the other will be a factor for the entire season and postseason.

Both of those factors have caused Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred to impose an unprecedented 60 game season to be played in just 66 days. It is a crapshoot as to if the season can be completed in a pandemic environment.  New York Yankee Manager Aaron Boone has said recently, paraphrasing, that I don’t think about it much, we are focused on getting to a World Championship for the Yankees and their fans. This is bound to be an emotional season for players and their families, but with Boone’s focus that Championship can be accomplished.

The Yankees will have to perform with the intensity of postseason play.  Getting out of the box early takes on a new meaning in a season that will demand that.  Getting off to a slow start or having a prolonged slump could be season-ending.

The Yankees have a great starting rotation headed by newly acquired pitching ace Gerrit Cole.  Following him in the rotation are pitchers that can come out hot like James Paxton that won 11 games in a row last season, or Masahiro Tanaka that can get hot and be dominate. Each game will be so important to win. The Cole factor will be reduced in a season where he may get only eleven starts.  But on the other hand, he could come out of the box and win his first six in a row.

Whether its pitching or hitting, just a few players being hot for a time could carry the team for the season. Imagine if Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, and Gleyber Torres get hot at the same time.  The big-time players will guide the season.  But, that is not to diminish the importance of the New York Yankee bench. The Yankees have a great bench filled with talented players that could come out of the woodwork and be impactful should some of the big boys be injured or become infected with the virus.

Believe it or not, injuries may play a more significant factor than last year that saw the Yankees have an unprecedented number of injuries to nearly everyone on the team at one point or another. With star pitchers going deeper into to games, to have an impact and position players trying to make spectacular plays, and hitting for the fences, the simple fact is that they are more likely to be injured. This is where the deep bench comes in and could make a huge difference in a season that is so short.

The New York Yankees may have an edge with a deep bench.  Miguel Andujar may be a key factor in the outcome of the season.  Manager Boone can use him in different ways, both playing in the outfield and serving as DH. With the team mostly healthy now, a bright season seems to be in the future for the boys of the Bronx.

That bench includes players like Tyler Wade, Clint Frazier, and Mike Tauchman, any of these players could have a breakout season. Imagine just for a moment, Giancarlo’s 2017 season where he hit 59 home runs, Aaron Judge’s 2017 season that saw him hit 52 home runs. Miguel Andujar’s 2018 season of 27 home runs.  38 home runs highlighted Gleyber Torres’s season in 2019.  What is in common with all of these stats is that they were healthy seasons for all the players involved. There is no guarantee that any of these players will replicate those numbers this year. But, a healthy season increases that likelihood.

Anything can happen in a season as short as this one. Additional positive coronavirus tests are almost a certainty. Players like last year’s MVP DJ LeMahieu and reliever Luis Cessa who have not yet reached Yankee Stadium due to positive tests after recovery are not likely to come out of it at full strength. Injuries and the coronavirus will most likely be a deciding factor with which team comes out on top.

No matter how you look at it, the New York Yankees are going into the great unknown in such a short season. The Yankees will depend on their star pitchers to pitch their hearts out while knowing they have a more than effective bullpen to back them up when they falter.  The big bats will have to prevail and if they don’t the Gio Ushelas will have to come to the rescue to propel the Yankees over the top.

With a good start and a healthy season, the Yankees will be able to see that bight light at the end of the rainbow, and it’s a big number 28!

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research.  Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.

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New York Yankees: Giancarlo Stanton talks about “scary” Masahiro Tanaka incident

New York Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton had to endure an ugly moment last Saturday, when one line drive off his bat hit Masahiro Tanaka in the head. The Japanese hurler stayed a couple of minutes down but then was able to walk away to get treatment.

Almost immediately after the unfortunate incident, Stanton was seen wincing in fear, thinking that he might have seriously hurt his teammate and friend unintentionally. After all, Stanton is known around the league for posting the highest average exit velocity numbers, and Saturday’s drive was clocked around 112 miles per hour.

Thankfully, Tanaka was diagnosed with only a mild concussion, and he rode a stationary bike for 15-20 minutes on Monday, per New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone.

The Yankees’ pitcher is trending in the right direction

“All signs continue to be encouraging with Masa,” Boone told reporters. The pitcher was taken to the hospital after the injury, but was released later that night and has been at Yankee Stadium the last two days.

Stanton, clearly concerned about Tanaka’s health, seems to be in better spirits. “As long as he’s OK,” Stanton said to NJ.com, “I’m OK.”

“That was a terrible moment,” Stanton said. “For me, terrible, initially of course. You never want to see your teammate on the ground, especially by the hand of yourself.”

“That’s a scary thing, something that could have been a lot worse. I hope he’s OK and hopefully he gets past that quick.”

The Yankees slugger said that as his line drive soared toward Tanaka, his world moved in “slow-mo.”

“You want that ball to keep veering off and it didn’t,” he said.

Of course, Stanton knows a thing or two about getting hit in the head by a baseball. In 2014, a Mike Fiers fastball broke his jaw.

“At the end of the day,” Stanton said, “glad that (Tanaka) was awake and functioning and responsive right off the bat and throughout the evening, and the next day and today.”

Yankees are hit with two major injuries in one day to extend bad luck

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka

The Yankees are accustomed to general injuries suffered during baseball games. Whether it be players hit by a pitch, straining a muscle rounding the bases, or pulling a lat swinging a bat, most of the individual ailments suffered in recent years have been during live action.

This off-season, though, the Yankees have faced resurfacing injuries from last fall and new ones during spring training. However, the team cannot manage to escape the unfortunate reality of their situation. On Saturday, during the first official team workout post-MLB shut down, Giancarlo Stanton struck Masahiro Tanaka in the head with a line drive.

Tanaka immediately fell to the ground in obvious pain as a loud crack was heard across the stadium, and the ball struck him. He laid on the mound for several minutes before trainers were able to help him off the field under his own power.

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Luckily, the Yankees starting pitcher was suffering minimal concussion symptoms that have since alleviated, but he will be under close watch after such a devastating blow. Stanton was in reasonable mental distress after he hit Tanaka with the comebacker, but things are looking up for the Japanese born player.

The Yankees are desperately trying to rid themselves of all this bad luck

This wasn’t the only poor news the Yankees received on Saturday, as both DJ LeMahieu, and Luis Cessa were diagnosed with COVID-19.

LeMahieu, who batted .327 with 26 homers and 102 RBIs in 2019, ranked fourth in MVP voting and earned an All-Star selection for his contributions. He was by far the Yankees’ best player and acted as their utility man across the infield. Losing him would be devastating, but we can imagine he will remain quarantined for the next few weeks until he is healthy. This also puts his teammates in jeopardy, especially if he had been spending any time around them in recent days.

The Yankees will continue to test their players and ensure none of them have contracted the virus, but luckily, the team has about a month until regular season play begins. They have an abundance of time to regain their health and security before taking the field against an official opponent.

New York Yankees: 3 burning questions heading into spring training 2.0

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

The New York Yankees enter spring training 2.0 in the Bronx with multiple questions left to be answered. Prior to the shut down of baseball, the Yankees were dealing with a bevy of injuries to star players like Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Aaron Hicks. Let’s not forget about James Paxton and Luis Severino already scheduled to miss the entire 2020 campaign after succumbing to Tommy John surgery.

However, the Yankees have one of the deepest teams in Major League Baseball. Players like Miguel Andujar are waiting in the wings for an opportunity. Andujar lost his starting position at third base to Gio Urshela last season after he went down with a torn labrum. With general manager Brian Cashman stating that Stanton could fill the DH spot, Andujar might not have much of an opportunity with the Bombers, unless he’s featuring in left field.

“I feel that Stanton would be a legitimate choice for that DH role starting from the beginning,” Cashman said on a conference call Tuesday. “The question is whether he would be any choice at all in the beginning as an outfielder or not. I don’t know that answer.”

Nonetheless, let’s take a look at three burning questions for the New York Yankees:

1.) How will the Yankees utilize Miguel Andujar?

As stated, the Yankees have a decision to make with Andujar. He played in just 12 games last year after posting a .297 batting average with 27 homers and 47 doubles in his rookie campaign. He was the runner-up for Rookie of the Year in 2018, and returning to that form is his ultimate goal.

Andujar spent the spring attempting to learn how to play in the outfield. While the Yankees have several players ahead of him, he could be used as a depth piece and rotational hitter in the DH spot.

I see manager Aaron Boone rotating Andujar and Stanton and DH, attempting to limit fatigue and keep their high price slugger healthy for the shortened season.

Yankees and Mets’ stars played “secret” games in recent weeks to stay sharp

New York Yankees, Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

Coronavirus forced MLB to suspend the start of the season, which was scheduled for March 26, indefinitely. Uncertainty then broke into the scene, and players had to figure out ways to keep themselves in shape in case baseball came back eventually, which it did. That’s why a group of stars, including some in the New York Yankees and New York Mets, found creative solutions.

According to Britt Ghiroli of The Athletic, New York Yankees’ outfielder Giancarlo Stanton and New York Mets’ pitchers Robert Gsellman and Michael Wacha took part in “underground” baseball games in recent weeks to stay sharp with the start of the season in mind. Other known players to participate were aces Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander of the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros, respectively.

The group of players was led by Eric Cressey, who the Yankees hired this season to supervise their training, strength and conditioning programs. His wife Anna worked alongside him, and they all trained at Cressey’s gyms while eventually playing games.

“If people knew what we were doing, we would have had 10,000 people at Palm Beach Gardens High School to watch us,” Cressey told Ghiroli.

The Mets had several players taking part

The games featured strict social distancing rules that forbade sliding and included the use of up to 56 different baseballs. In one of those games, per SNY.tv, the Mets’ Gsellman started opposite his now-teammate Wacha.

Also in attendance were New York Mets’ hurler Noah Syndergaard, who was present to rehab his surgically-repaired right elbow. He will miss the 2020 season but will come back in 2021 in what will be his final year of arbitration eligibility.

Training camps are opening and all teams, including the Mets and the Yankees, will start hosting “Summer Camp” in preparation for the season that is slated to start on July 23.

New York Yankees: The Giancarlo Stanton injury news we didn’t want to hear

New York Yankees, Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

The New York Yankees have been a revolving door of injuries the past two years. The majority of their starting outfield was injured before spring training even began this year. With the coronavirus pandemic setting everything back months, the Yankees had ample time to recover and heal from previous injuries.

Players like Aaron Judge, James Paxton, Aaron Hicks, and Giancarlo Stanton have had an additional 4-5 months to prepare for the second wave of training camp and a condensed regular season, scheduled to start in late July.

On a conference call with Brian Cashman on Tuesday, he stated that Giancarlo Stanton would likely be a full go as the DH option, but that he hasn’t partaken in any outfield drills yet. Stanton suffered a grade 1 calf strain back in February; grade 1 being the very minimum of strain intensities.

The slugger still hasn’t taken any outfield reps, even in a practice scenario. This is very problematic for a player that struggled with soft tissue injuries last year and has clearly carried those same ailments into 2020.

The New York Yankees should be preparing to feature others in the outfield

Five months after he suffered the injury, Stanton is still struggling with the ability to field balls, as we can derive from Cashman’s statements. It is quite blasphemous that we are still talking about a minor Injury that occurred almost half a year ago. Whether it be the former strength and conditioning coach Matt Krause and his methods or Stanton simply preferring to be a bodybuilder over a professional athlete; this is a controversial situation considering he cannot return to full health following such a minor injury.

Stanton played in just 18 games last year, earning 59 at-bats which saw him hit three homers, 13 RBIs, and landed a .288 batting average. This was the least amount of games he has played in his career by a fair margin, having started in 158 two years ago in his first year with the Yankees. He had 38 homers, 100 RBIs, and logged a .266 batting average.

If Stanton can return to full health and at least rotate in at leftfield occasionally, the Yankees will be getting some sort of defensive value from him. However, it seems as if he will be mostly an offensive threat as the DH, giving players like Brett Gardner and Clint Frazier more opportunity to start in the outfield. Again, it is mine blowing that he has yet to begin taking flyballs or any sort of activities in the outfield. With spring training 2.0 starting very soon, he could progress quickly, but I wouldn’t bet on it.