Giancarlo Stanton Leads New York Yankee’s Left Field Options
The New York Yankees have an embarrassment of riches in the outfield heading into the 2020 season. The field is crowded with both experienced stars and players still trying to make a name for themselves. Aaron Judge has right field locked down, and Brett Gardner figures to fill in for the injured Aaron Hicks in center field. The only question that remains is, will Giancarlo Stanton be the everyday left fielder?
Giancarlo Stanton is a former MVP looking to have a bounce back season in 2020. Stanton was limited to just 18 games in 2019 after suffering knee, calf and quad injuries. He was able to come back in time for the playoffs but did not get consistent playing time due to his health issues. In 2018, Stanton didn’t quite reach the heights of his MVP season but still produced with 38 HR, 100 RBI, .266 BA, .509 SLG, and .852 OPS. This would be a career year for most other major leaguers.
Some have suggested that, due to his previous injuries, the Yanks may limit Stanton in the field and have him DH. This would most likely mean left field duties would belong to Mike Tauchman. However, this strategy would prevent Miguel Andujar‘s bat from being in the lineup as much as Aaron Boone would like. The best way for the Yankees to keep Stanton’s elite bat in the lineup is for him to be the everyday left fielder. This allows the team to utilize Stanton’s underrated fielding skills and for him to be able to get into a rhythm at the plate.
Giancarlo has a career .980 fld% and 1.000 fld% in 2018. The league average is .986%. Looking back on Stanton’s 10-year career, the 2019 season is an outlier. Several injuries prevented him from playing and being a major contributor in the team’s playoff run. Stanton appears to be healthy as he wields a sledgehammer in a video posted by @R2C2 on Twitter, via kirkmyerfitness Instagram account. Stanton’s health will be a major factor in the Yankee’s future success.
— R2C2 is UNINTERRUPTED (@R2C2) January 23, 2020
Revamped Training Staff
The Yankees have made big strides during the offseason to keep their players off of the IL. They sent 30 players to the injured list in 2019. They have completely revamped their medical and training staff for the new season. The Yankees have hired Eric Cressey to head their training staff. Cressey will look to modernize the department and find ways to keep these players on the field, utilizing kinesiology and biomechanics. According to an MLB.com report by Bryan Hoch, Cressey has found success working with players such as Corey Kluber, Noah Syndergaard, and Max Scherzer.
Mike Tauchman impressed in 2019 with his elite outfield play and his bat. He put up a .277 BA with 47 RBI and 13 HR. Tauchman gives the Yankees some much-needed lefty pop in a righty heavy lineup. The Yanks would love to have a power hitting lefty in the line up to take advantage of the short porch in right. Tauchman should make the Opening Day roster for his defensive prowess alone. With Tauchman on the roster, Boone will be able to rest guys like Judge, Stanton and the aging Gardner. This will also give Tauchman the at-bats needed to show he belongs in the big leagues.
Clint Frazier is also an option for the Yankees in the outfield. He will head to spring training in Tampa, with hopes of winning a roster spot. This will prove to be a difficult task for the young outfielder. The re-signing of Gardner, the blossoming of Tauchman, and Hicks due to come back from injury during the season creates a log jam. Complicating Frazier’s situation further, Boone has even expressed an interest in trying out Andujar in left field.
Frazier has proven to be a significant liability on defense but he does have upside with his offensive game. Frazier flashes some signs that he could become an elite hitter. He has a quick bat and .254 BA, .463 SLG, and .771 OPS with 16 HR since 2017. He was sidelined for a significant amount of time in 2018 with a concussion. Frazier will most likely begin the season in Triple-A and will be looking to prove himself.
Following a season plagued with injuries, the Yankees understand the value of depth at all positions more than most. With Hicks returning and Tauchman and Frazier waiting in the wings, they have enough outfielders to keep their stars fresh. This will help prevent injuries, while still allowing them the personnel to fill in for any injuries that do occur. If Judge and Stanton can stay healthy, this outfield stands to be one of the most formidable in baseball.