We go over the fantasy baseball, betting and MLB playoff implications of the All-Star DH return to the Yankees’ lineup.
New York Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton has been missing from the lineup since July 24. Two days later, the team placed him on the injured list with left Achilles tendinitis. The Yankees are 6-8 since Stanton’s last game and although their overall offensive stats during his absence have been fine, they are juiced by outbursts over their past couple of games versus the Cardinals and Mariners. With the man formerly known as Mike on track to return later this month, let’s talk about Stanton’s impact from a betting, fantasy and real-world MLB standpoint.
Update — Manager Aaron Boone provided an update Friday on Stanton before the Yankees game vs. the Red Sox.
Still no timetable on Giancarlo Stanton…Boone said he’ll do a full day of baseball activity today but that will not include running the bases. He has not progressed to that point yet #yankees
The Yankees’ middling play without Stanton is due in large part to a facet of the game on which he has no impact: pitching. While the Yankees’ lineup has been easier to navigate without Giancarlo around, it has still been a generally productive unit. Conversely, the Yankees’ pitching staff has posted a 4.45 ERA over its past 14 games, which is more than a run per game higher than its season average. So, while Stanton will undoubtedly help the Yankees, it’s not like he fixes their biggest current problem. The all-or-nothing slugger really shouldn’t move the needle much when it comes to the Yanks’ betting lines. Per DraftKings Sportsbook, they have the same odds as the Astros to win the American League pennant (+175), and trail only the Dodgers (+360) in World Series odds. The Yankees have +425 odds to win the Fall Classic.
The good news for Stanton is that his injury has nothing to do with his hands, arm, core or back. Yeah, you could say that, well, if his Achilles nags him throughout the rest of the season, maybe he doesn’t have as firm of a base from which to hit, which could hurt his power output. But have you seen this man hit home runs lately? There have been multiple times this season when his feet are moving as he swings, his hips have totally bailed on the pitch, his back foot is actually slipping out of the batter’s box, all he has left is his upper body … and he still muscles the ball 400 feet. I think Stanton will be what he has always been once he is activated: Lots of hard-hit balls, lots of homers, lots of strikeouts. If you need power and can find a fantasy manager who is worried about Stanton or is willing to deal him now in return for more immediate help, it’s worth seeing if you can buy low.
Currently leading the AL East by 10.5 games, there is only one question for the Yankees’ playoff outlook: Can they claim home-field advantage over the Astros? Entering Tuesday’s action, the Yankees are one game up on Houston for the best record in the American League. That’s crucial as New York has lost five of seven games against the Astros this season and is 3-9 at Houston since the start of the 2019 season. Stanton’s bat will make some noise, but again, the Yankees’ pitching will decide their playoff seed more than anything else. And if Stanton finds himself on the mound in October, the rapture is obviously next.