Even if it was in a game that didn’t count, what Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Giancarlo Stanton did Sunday night forced people to wonder what the trio could accomplish if they all remained healthy in the upcoming 60-game season.
Since Stanton joined the Yankees in 2018, he has played 176 games out of 324. In those two years Aaron Judge has participated in 214 games and Gary Sanchez in 195.
Of course they won’t approach those numbers this season, but what happens if the threesome plays 50-52 games each? What would that look like from a production standpoint?
If Sunday night was a precursor, a lot of baseballs could leave the park dented. Judge homered twice, Sanchez reached the second deck in left and Stanton drove a ball into the left-field bleachers.
The power show continued Monday night against the Phillies when Judge homered to right field after there were three outs in the fifth so Vince Velasquez could face one more batter, and Mike Ford went deep to right and tied the game in the ninth.
“It’s unreal, unmatched in the league if we could all stay out there,’’ Stanton said before the Yankees final of three spring training 2.0 exhibition games ahead of Thursday night’s Opening Day gig against the Nationals and Max Scherzer in Washington. “We definitely know what we are capable of. It’s just a matter of putting it out there.’’
Aaron Boone can only hope he gets to put the trio in the lineup together more than in the past two seasons.
“I think you can add a couple of more names to that list. I feel like if we are whole and even into some of our depth, the bar is very high for what we think we can do offensively and it should be,’’ Boone said Monday night. “Hopefully we can meet those expectations because I know our guys expect a lot of themselves. I am looking forward to them going out and not only continue to be who they are but hopefully continue to make strides as players.’’
The expectations are high simply because of the power Judge, Stanton and Sanchez have. Yet, there is more than muscle being a common thread among them. There are the injuries.
Stanton was limited to 18 games a year ago. Judge played in 102 and Sanchez 106. While Stanton logged 158 games in 2018, Judge appeared in 112 and Sanchez 89.
With just 60 games on the schedule, it is difficult to guess what number Boone has planned for Judge, Stanton and Sanchez to play in.
“In my head sometimes I say, ‘It would be great if this guy could play X amount of games,’ but when I really get down to it I really don’t look at it like that,’’ Boone said. “I look at it in chunks. We have Opening Day, an off day and then 16 in a row. I think therein lies how do you build those guys up? Obviously with the deeper roster  at that standpoint what is the best way to get them a day off but continue to build their endurance so that when you get to 20, 30, 40 games into the season they are hopefully healthy because of the way we have done it but also ready to really get the stretch drive.’’
Since Stanton suffered a strained calf early in spring training 1.0 Boone is going to use him as the DH at least early in the season. The fractured rib that kept Judge out of action in February and March has healed and the stiff neck he experienced early in spring training 2.0 has vanished. Sanchez, who spent four stints on the injured list in the past two years due to lower-body issues, will likely play fewer games than Judge and Stanton because catchers often don’t start a day game following a night tilt.
The other names Boone said could be added to the list are Luke Voit, Gleyber Torres, DJ LeMahieu, Gio Urshela, Aaron Hicks and Brett Gardner. The depth list includes Mike Tauchman, Clint Frazier and Mike Ford.
Yet, the main attraction to the Yankees’ lineup is the muscles belonging to Judge, Stanton and Sanchez, who when healthy are three of the top power hitters in the game who haven’t been on the field together enough.
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