New York Yankees' Slugger Giancarlo Stanton

Getty New York Yankees’ Slugger Giancarlo Stanton

As the New York Yankees continue to ride the wave of a banner season where they were never under .500 and have spent 84 days atop the American League East, some cracks are starting to show in the bulkhead.

This latest setback has Yankees’ designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton back on familiar ground: The injured list. While only the 10-day variety at this point, hamstring problems have shut down the now 34-year-old slugger for weeks in the past.

The Yankees placed DH/OF Giancarlo Stanton on the 10-day IL with a left hamstring strain and recalled UTL Oswald Peraza from Triple-A SWB. #RepBX

In like fashion, Stanton missed six weeks in 2023 with a left hamstring issue and over a month with the same problem back in 2020.

Stanton’s injury—along with other recent developments and the Baltimore Orioles now just 1.5 back in the standings—carries a bit of concern when looking at the bigger picture.

Giancarlo Stanton Was Surging in June

A 2007 second-round pick of the Florida Marlins, Stanton has had a robust career. His 420 home runs rank 54 all-time with a solid .527 career SLG and a 137 OPS+.

After committing himself to a new fitness regimen during this past offseason, the 6’6″/245 lb Stanton was hopeful to avoid this very type of injury.

On pace for his best numbers since 2021, Stanton was surging in June with 5 HR/16 RBI, a slash line of .304/.377/.551/.927, BABIP of .421 and an OPS+ of 154.

Although not on Aaron Judge’s meteoric level (who his?), these were very encouraging numbers for the middle-aged bopper.

Infielder Oswald Peraza Called Up: DH Jose Rojas Is an Option

In response to Stanton’s injury, Oswald Peraza was called up from the Yankees’ Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre affiliate. The 24-year-old infielder has spent time at third base, shortstop, and second base in 2024.

Peraza is a good defender, but his stick line of .178/.313/2.15/5.28 requires a moment of pause. The Venezuelan product spent the last 2.5 months between Single-A and Triple-A rehabbing a shoulder injury.

While the Yankees’ starting outfield is secure at the moment, replacing Stanton’s production at DH will be an issue should this injury linger as it has in the past. A name to consider is 31-year-old infielder/outfielder Jose Rojas.

Rojas stumbled in two earlier attempts with the Los Angeles Angels in 2021 and 2022. However, much like several others in the Yankees’ recent farm system success, Rojas has found another level as he tries to stay relevant in terms of being an option for a Major League Baseball roster.

The Anaheim, California native has pop in his bat with 15 HR/47 RBI while slashing .246/.370/.575/.945. at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Is This Merely a Hiccup or a Sign of Regression?

Don’t get me wrong: Things are still pretty sweet in the Bronx with the homesteading Yankees 25 games above .500 while sporting a +111 run differential and sharing the best MLB winning percentage (.658) with the Philadelphia Phillies.

In fact, with players like Gerrit Cole, Clarke Schmidt, DJ LeMahieu, Jasson Dominguez, and Anthony Rizzo going down, the Yanks have still hardly missed a beat. That said, there now seems to be an air of vulnerability in the mix.

🚨Jasson Dominguez is expected to miss eight weeks with a significant oblique strain

The Yankees outfielder already spent time on the IL as he continued rehab from last year’s Tommy John surgery.

Now he’s back on the IL.

The number of injured prospects continues to grow.

The uber-talented Jasson Dominguez appeared primed and ready to capitalize on an unfortunate turn of events such as Stanton’s impedance, but he found himself on the injured list as well with an oblique strain that could sideline him for up to eight weeks.

On the good news front, Ace Gerrit Cole made his first start of the season striking out five in 4.0 innings pitched while giving up 2 earned in a 7-6 loss to the Orioles on June 20, 2024.

At the same time Yankee Nation celebrated his return, the following day surprise star hurler Luis Gil was hammered by the Orioles to the tune of seven earned runs in 1.1 innings. Gil has surrendered 11 earned over his past 12 innings pitched. With an xERA of 3.02, no need to panic, but he has the feel of a guy who could suddenly regress.

In 12 games back following Juan Soto’s injury scare, the star right fielder has one double, one home run, and 3 RBI while experiencing a near 20-point drop in average.

The MLB Trade Deadline Will Be a Key Yet Again

Even though the Bronx Bombers are 39-20 overall vs the American League, they are 10-12 while hitting a dull .216 against division rivals. New York is 2-4 vs. the Orioles and has dropped two of three against the Boston Red Sox—a team to watch in the second half.

As in recent years, transactions at the MLB trade deadline could very well determine this year’s World Series Champion. Look for the Yanks to be in that mix before July 30, 2024 rolls around.

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