It’s that time of the year of again! Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have been out for a while, and with the playoffs coming up, they are poised to return. In 2018, Judge returned in late September from a wrist injury. In 2019, Stanton returned around the exact same time from a myriad of soft tissue injuries. “Judge and Stanton are coming back to save the day” has become an annual rite of passage for Yankee fans.
I implore you to temper your expectations on these two. Here’s why:
Both of them need to get through their rehab stints without any setbacks
Stanton and Judge are currently rehabbing in Scranton. Remember, in order to have these two healthy for the playoffs, they both need to get through their rehab assignments first. Stanton has had multiple setbacks over the years while attempting to rehab, and Judge re-aggravated his calf when he tried to come back after just six innings of baseball. These two getting through their Scranton stints in one piece is anything but a lock.
They’ll need to get through a week’s worth of games without issue
If these two can get through Scranton unscathed, they’ll have to also get through the final week of the regular season without issue. Neither of these two have shown the ability to play two weeks in a row without getting injured this year. Are we really going to assume that they’re going to come back and be able to play in games without aggravating something? Call me cynical, but I am expecting at least one of them to pull something next week.
Then they have to get through the playoffs
The whole idea of these two saving the day revolves around both of them playing every playoff game healthy. Last year, Stanton made it through just three and a half playoff games before straining his quad. Judge played the entire postseason with a fractured rib and hit just one homer. IF they can get through Scranton and the end of the regular season, the playoffs offer another avenue for injury.
They are both bound to be rusty
Neither of them have played in more than 20 games this season. It might take a while for them to get their timing down, and it’s no sure thing that they can both get locked in during a 7-8 game stretch at the end of the year. In particular, Stanton can get really wonky on his timing, so this will be key for him.
This has been a very negative article, so I’ll end with something positive. I do think we will have at least ONE of them for the playoffs. But betting on both of them to have everything go right over the next month is simply unlikely based on their histories.