The Major League Baseball season was supposed to be three weeks old by this point. The coronavirus outbreak has shut down the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball since March 12. Whether we see baseball in 2020 is still yet to be determined.
If baseball is able to return in some way to begin workouts for a shortened season, two Yankees that will need to help contribute to the team’s success will be Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge. With a shortened season, one expectation that both players face is simple: just stay healthy.
It is a lot easier said than done for both players who have spent a significate amount of time injured over the last two years. Surprise, surprise, both were also injured early in Spring Training this season and were in doubt for Opening Day in Baltimore should the season have started on time. However, both should be ready for a 2020 Opening Day, should one happen later this season.
When general manager Brian Cashman acquired Stanton in the winter of 2017 following his MVP season with the Miami Marlins that saw him club 59 home runs and drive in 132 runs, the Yankees were dreaming of pairing Stanton and Judge in the lineup together and what that would look like. His first season with the Yankees, Stanton had 38 home runs and 100 RBI, but he struck out an astonishing 211 times. Last season was cut short to 18 regular-season games because of injuries.
Judge has also missed time due to injuries. After a breakout 2017 rookie season that saw him hit 52 home run with 112 RBIs, injuries played major roles in his last two seasons.
In 2018, he missed 50 games when a broken right wrist that cost him two months. Last season, a strained oblique cost him 60 games in the middle of the season. Yes, the Yankees went on to win 100 games each season to reach the postseason, but he clearly wasn’t himself in October when the Yanks needed him to be.
This season, Stanton suffered a Grade 1 calf strain at the beginning of Spring Training and Judge suffered a rib fracture. Both players were immediately shut down from activities and were rehabbing at the team facility in Tampa before being sent home.
Both players are major pieces going forward to the Yankees. Both need to be healthy come playoff time. If the Yankees are going to win another championship, they will need both of their bats. Having both players healthy and in the lineup together is a pitcher’s worst nightmare. Should this season startup at some point, the expectation is simple for Judge and Stanton, stay healthy.