- The New York Yankees’ AL East odds have gotten longer following an injury to Giancarlo Stanton
- Stanton has missed 148 regular-season games since being traded to the Yankees in 2017
- Does New York’s new price in the AL East odds make them a value bet?
Don’t look now but the injury bug has bitten the New York Yankees again. A day after losing starter Luis Severino for the season, New York learned that slugger Giancarlo Stanton may not be ready for Opening Day due to a Grade 1 calf strain.
The Yankees’ MLB futures stood pat following the Severino news, but the latest injury to Stanton has coincided with New York’s average AL East odds falling from -800 to -478. One sportsbook is the most pessimistic on the Bronx Bombers, listing them at -411.
AL East Division Winner Odds
|New York Yankees||-411|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+394|
|Boston Red Sox||+988|
|Toronto Blue Jays||+6000|
Odds taken on Feb. 27th.
The Yankees are still the overwhelming favorite to win their division, but are they undervalued given the fact that they’re used to playing without Stanton?
Missing in Action
Prior to an injury-riddled 2019 campaign, Stanton hit at least 22 home runs in each of his previous nine years. In 2017, he hit a career-high 59 home runs and in 2018, his first season in pinstripes, he belted 38 dingers.
Giancarlo Stanton Grade 1 right calf strain. Boone: “he will be down a bit.” Made it sound unlikely he will be ready for the start of the season. #Yankees
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) February 26, 2020
Last year, a variety of injuries limited him to just 18 regular-season games. He hit just three home runs over that stretch and was forced out of action in the ALCS due to a quad injury.
Despite Stanton seeing only 90 combined regular-season and playoff at-bats, New York’s offense didn’t seem to miss him. They won 103 games, the most they won all decade, and fell just two wins short of a World Series berth.
Since the start of 2019, Giancarlo Stanton has missed time with:
A strained left biceps
A strained left shoulder
A strained left calf
A strained right PCL
A strained right quad
A strained right calf
— Brendan Kuty (@BrendanKutyNJ) February 26, 2020
All told, Stanton has missed 148 regular-season games in two seasons in New York. Last year, the Yankees had more than enough offense to win without him, and nothing should change in 2020.
The Most Dangerous Lineup in Baseball?
New York led MLB in runs scored last season, and finished top-three in nearly every key offensive category. Everyone from last year’s juggernaut lineup returns in 2020, with the exception of Edwin Encarnacion.
Before you start to wonder who’s going to replace his production, don’t forget the Yankees are welcoming back Miguel Andujar this season.
Here’s another look at Miguel Andújar’s HR.
— Max Goodman (@MaxTGoodman) February 23, 2020
Andujar, the runner-up for the 2018 Rookie of the Year award, missed the final five months of last season due to shoulder surgery. In 2018, he accounted for 27 home runs and 92 RBI, and his bat gives the Yankees eight healthy players in their starting lineup with 25+ home run upside. And that doesn’t even include Stanton.
Act Now Before It’s Too Late
The bottom line is New York is going to score a ton of runs with or without Stanton. Of course, the Yankees would love to have him in the lineup, but much like last year, his absence will barely be felt. When he does return, it’s actually going to be a challenge for manager Aaron Boone to find all these studs enough playing time.
I feel like people forget how good Miguel Andújar was for the Yankees in 2018. 27 HR, 92 RBIs, .297 BA. Also set the record for doubles by a Yankee rookie with 47, surpassing Joe DiMaggio's 44 in 1936. Very exciting to see him back in the lineup today. pic.twitter.com/XPv2EeYZYV
— Jake Montgomery (@JakeM0NTGOMERY) February 23, 2020
Andujar’s return should alleviate any concern about missing production from Stanton or the loss of Encarnacion. After scoring 943 runs last year with a nearly identical lineup, there’s no reason to expect any kind of major drop-off.
New York’s run differential was 91 runs higher than anyone else in their division a season ago, and it’s time to take advantage of the discount the oddsmakers are giving us.
Yes, the Yankees are dealing with injuries, but they’re to players who made little impact in 2019. Even if Stanton is out longer than expected, New York is still well positioned to dominate the AL East.
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