Health Will Be Key To Yankees 2024 Postseason Aspirations

Health Is Key For Yankees
Published by NYSB Staff
Last Updated: 13. Mar 2024.

The loss of several key sluggers and hurlers to injuries contributed to the New York Yankees' lackluster 2023 campaign. If the Bronx Bombers are to rebound this upcoming season, top players like Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole must avoid the injured list.

Injury Impacts on the 2023 Season

Last year, the trio of Judge (56), Giancarlo Stanton (61), and Anthony Rizzo (63) missed a combined 180 games due to a variety of injuries. To make matters worse, southpaw pitchers Carlos Rodon (14) and Nestor Cortes (12) tallied just 26 starts. 

Positive Signs in Spring Training

Stanton arrived at spring training in excellent shape, an encouraging sign for manager Aaron Boone. "I know by all the assessments and everything, he's in a great place strength-wise," Boone said earlier in camp. "Probably the strongest guy still on the team and all that. And he was moving better. It's noticeable certainly to the strength and conditioning staff and training staff that evaluate that in the initial assessment.

"The fact that he's eager to get in there this early. I think those are all good signs about where he's at and how he feels about his body right now.”

Cortes also came to spring training early after an injury-plagued season a year ago. The left-hander pitcher has pitched well in camp and believes his shoulder issues are behind him.

"I'm pretty confident it's behind me," Cortes told the NY Post. "I already passed that phase where maybe November-December, I did wake up feeling a little achy or worried about where I was at. But with the work we've been putting in, me coming in early and getting help from the training staff has really put that a step forward. It's been a non-issue for a good month now, so I feel great where I'm at."

Early Arrivals and Recovery Efforts

Rodon was also an early bird at spring training and is working overtime to forget last year's nightmare season. He posted an ugly 6.85 ERA across 64.1 innings while surrendering 15 home runs -- 11 on the fastballs.

"Didn't really have the fastball velo I wanted, but it's one of those days," Rodon said after allowing three runs in a 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Steinbrenner Field. "It's one of those days you gotta be able to pitch without the fastball and use some other things, so that was good to feel that in a game that no one really gives a s–-t about because it doesn't matter, it's spring training.

"But the competing side of me, don't want to give up a home run on the front end, home run on the back end. But there was some good pitches in between."

Rodon spoke to YESNetwork where he said, “The results weren't everything I wanted but mixed in a good amount of pitches.” He went on, “I think we worked in some change ups and cutters to some curveballs and a lot of heavy doses of sliders. You know, it was good to see some, some swing and miss on the cutter, some weak ground balls on the cutter.”

2024 Injury Outlook For Several Key Yankee Sluggers

CF - Aaron Judge 

The 2022 American League MVP averaged 152.5 games over the 2021 and 2022 seasons before playing in only 106 contests last year. The Yankee captain has smacked 138 homers in the past three seasons while posting an impressive 304 RBIs. 

New York was in contention for a postseason berth before Judge injured his big toe while crashing into the fence at Dodger Stadium. If the five-time All-Star can suit up for 150-plus games this season, the odds of New York advancing to the playoffs are significantly higher according to some of the top sportsbooks in New York.

RF - Juan Soto

The three-time All-Star has averaged 155 outings since 2021 and has topped the major leagues in walks for three straight seasons. The sweet-swinging lefty has averaged 30 long balls over the last three years and should prosper from the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium. 

Soto is a good bet to play in 150 games, which bodes well for New York's chances of returning to the postseason.

DH - Giancarlo Stanton 

The five-time All-Star has missed a whopping 418 games over the past five MLB seasons and has tallied 90 home runs since 2021. Stanton arrived at spring training in excellent physical condition and seems primed to compete with Judge and Soto for the AL Home Run title. 

The 2017 NL MVP has averaged 117 games over the past three seasons and Yankee fans would be thrilled if the slugger can suit up for 140 games in 2024.

1B - Anthony Rizzo 

The three-time All-Star was limited to 99 games last year and has missed 220 games over the previous four seasons. Rizzo turns 35 in August and has racked up 30-plus home runs on five different occasions. 

The four-time Gold Glove winner went yard just 12 times in 373 at-bats in 2023, which is concerning because of his age. The Yankees need Rizzo to rediscover his power stroke and play in 140-150 games this upcoming season.

3B - DJ LeMahieu

The three-time All-Star has missed 187 games due to injury since 2020. LeMahieu had a career-high 125 strikeouts last year while batting just .243. The two-time MLB batting champion is in the twilight of his career and must rebound at the plate this season to keep his starting gig at the hot corner. Pencil in LeMahieu for 145 games unless he loses his job due to his ineffectiveness with the lumber.

LF - Alex Verdugo

The former Red Sox outfielder has averaged 146 games over the past three seasons and tied a career-high with 13 homers in 2023. Verdugo underperformed last year but possesses the potential to be a .300 hitter with 15-20 long balls. Look for the new Yankee slugger to play in 150 regular-season outings.

2B - Gleyber Torres

The two-time All-Star missed just four games last year and is averaging 142 games over the previous three seasons. Torres is still developing as a hitter and increased his walks a year ago while reducing his strikeouts. He is primed for an All-Star campaign and should play in 155 games this upcoming season.

Concluding Thoughts on the Yankees' Quest for Postseason Glory

As the 2024 MLB season unfolds, the New York Yankees find themselves at a crucial juncture, with the health of their star players like Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and others playing a pivotal role in their quest for postseason glory. The early signs from spring training and the proactive recovery efforts of players like Nestor Cortes and Carlos Rodon not only raise hopes but also hint at the possibility of a significant competitive edge. 

For fans and observers closely monitoring these developments, the performance of these key players will not only influence the team's fortunes but also impact predictions and analyses across some of the best MLB betting sites, where the odds are keenly watched. The Yankees' commitment to fitness and strategic preparation sets the stage for what could be a memorable campaign, echoing the resilience and determination that define both the sport and its business aspects. 

As the season progresses, the spotlight on Judge, Stanton, and their teammates will intensify, offering a compelling narrative of comeback and triumph that resonates far beyond the diamond.

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