Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton has played all of nine games this season. With an expected return of mid-September how will the Yankees use him?
The 2019 season has been a tough one for Giancarlo Stanton. The former MVP has logged all of 31 at-bats this season missing time due to multiple injuries. He’s been sidelined with a PCL injury since June, and should begin more on-field work soon.
With a potential return for Stanton most likely not coming until around mid-September there are multiple questions that need to be answered. For starters, how do the Yankees plan on getting him sufficient at-bats in a live scenario to have him ready for the postseason? If he does get the at-bats, what is his role this postseason?
Let’s answer the question about his at-bats first. The MiLB Triple-A season ends on Sept. 17 with the Minor League postseason beginning on Sept. 4. Since Stanton hasn’t even started running on the field yet, that makes a rehab assignment in Scranton unlikely. They could always send him to Tampa to get simulated at-bats, but it’s not the same thing.
If the Yankees were to somehow figure out a way to get Stanton the at-bats he needs prior to the postseason there’s still the question of what his role would be. The short answer is that he’s going to play, there’s no question about that. The Yankees aren’t paying him $26 million this season to not play.
On the flip side, Mike Tauchman and Cameron Maybe have an OPS+ of 140 and 141 respectively and are both good defenders. In Maybin’s case he adds an extra element of speed on the bases. So it’d be tough to take them out of the lineup and/or leave them off the postseason roster completely. The most plausible scenario would be the Yankees using Stanton exclusively as a DH, but with Luke Voit avoiding core muscle surgery that removes Edwin Encarnacion’s bat from the lineup even though he’s recovering from a broken wrist.
Stanton’s return is inevitable and his power is a valued asset to the team’s lineup. Once he returns it becomes a numbers game, one that could ultimately play against Stanton. Stanton is too good to be left off of the playoff roster entirely, and it’d be hard to sit him against top-tier pitchers in the postseason since every pitcher teams face is among the best in the league.
There’s still time to figure things out, but it will be interesting to see what the Yankees decide to do with their $300 million man.