New York Yankees star Giancarlo Stanton’s unique blend of bad luck and leg issues seems hard to prevent.
Happy to say what most of the Yankees fanbase won’t: Yes, we’re still thrilled to have Giancarlo Stanton on our team.
While his first season was a slight disappointment, Stanton was 30 points better than league average, according to OPS+, and he finished 19th in the MVP race. Though the enduring images of his season are a few low-and-away whiffs in the ALDS, he also tortured Boston throughout the regular season, hitting .371 with 5 homers and 17 RBI.
No matter how hard we defend his output during his Bronx debut, though, Stanton’s 2019 was unjustifiable. Hobbled by a strange series of maladies, including an inexplicable quad strain in the ALCS when they needed him most that appeared out of thin air, the slugger’s output in ’19 was concerning at best and genuinely aggravating at worst. Losing him for the postseason with an injury no one could pick up with the naked eye unfortunately heightened our animosity.
Under the tutelage of new Yankees strength coach Eric Cressey, Stanton has reportedly been working on remolding his upper body in an effort to prevent further breakdown. Our only question is: What…will that do?
It’s often been argued that Stanton doesn’t need to be quite as dangerously bulky as he’s been — and people say that about Judge, too, for that matter, who I’m more concerned about.
But Stanton’s injuries, while they haven’t all been fluky, have certainly fallen into that category quite often — his most prominent stint away from the game before ’19 involved a baseball to the jaw. And what would a revamped upper body regimen do about his legs, which seem more often than not to be the shaky part of his infrastructure? His calf tweak suffered in Spring Training still somehow hasn’t fully healed to the point where he’s able to play the outfield. That was, supposedly, a tweak.
He also hurt his calf while running sprints in the minors last summer, as well as the awful, lingering quad issue after he’d made his Game 1 statement against the Astros. I maintain the Yankees win that series if they have Game 1 Stanton throughout — he was proving to be the difference.
I’m as optimistic as anyone when it comes to Stanton’s viability moving forward. But a biceps tear he suffered in early 2019 doesn’t concern me as much as the myriad leg injuries he’s had since. It’s a good first step, but there’s a completely inexplicable element still floating in the ether.