Players poised to bounce back in the second half
With the All-Star break in the rear view, the Yankees sit at a 57-31 record and hold a commanding 6.5 game lead over Tampa Bay in the AL East heading into the second half. Impressive play from the likes of DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, and a much-needed bounce back year from Gary Sanchez have helped them get there, but who will keep it going? As everyone knows, the Yankees have dealt with a handful of injuries that kept their top-tier players sidelined for a large portion of the season so far, and others who have struggled here and there. Setbacks lead to comebacks, making these guys perfect candidates for this list…
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When the Bombers acquired Paxton in November, he looked to be a promising front-of-the-rotation arm for a group that was the glaring soft spot for the Yankees last season. That is, outside of the ace Luis Severino, who has been on the IL all season in 2019, and a hit-or-miss Tanaka. Although Paxton hasn’t been necessarily awful this season, he has not been the guy he was in Seattle. Amidst another injury-plagued season, Paxton holds a 4.01 ERA (the highest of his career), in his 76.1 innings pitched. June holds his two worst starts of the season, one being June 11 against the neighboring Mets where he only went 2.2 IP, as well as a start later in the month against the Jays in which he lasted 4.1 IP. The left-hander gave up a concerning six earned runs in each of those two starts. Paxton has only allowed three ER in two appearances in the month of July, hoping to continue that on the other side of the break.
After only playing in 22 games since returning from Tommy John surgery, Didi is still trying to find his groove and return to form. In his small sample size, Didi has a .275 BA, .298 OBP, and .726 OPS. With that extremely low on-base percentage, Gregorius will need to improve that and knock off the rust in the second half for the Yanks to continue to be an elite team. His defense has been as smooth as ever at short since his return though, accompanying his buddy Gleyber Torres on the other side of the second base bag, allowing for those beautiful double play balls that everyone has missed. Nothing but high expectations for the remainder of 2019 from this guy.
The story here is short and disappointing. After only playing in three games to start the season, Stanton suffered a Grade I tear to his left bicep. That in turn escalated into a left shoulder strain while attempting his recovery. Once completing his rehab assignment, Stanton returned to the Bombers lineup on June 18 with hopes to be the everyday left fielder after the acquisition of Edwin Encarnacion just three days prior. That was short lived when just six games into the season he suffered a posterior cruciate ligament sprain in his right knee on an awkward slide into third base. Though there is no exact timetable for Stanton’s return, the best we have is “around August.” August should be an important month for Stanton to attempt to head to the postseason looking sharp.
Article by: Dustin MilesFollow @ndjdm Follow @BronxBomberBall