Would You Rather: Have Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton for the 2020 MLB Season and Beyond
When the New York Yankees traded for Giancarlo Stanton ahead of the 2018 season, the buzz was through the roof that two of the best hitters in the majors would soon be in the same lineup with Stanton joining Aaron Judge in pinstripes.
However, things haven't exactly gone as planned the last two seasons. While both players have been great at times, they've both had their fair share on injury concerns that have prevented them from being on the field at the same time. This has caused some rumblings that the Yankees could consider moving on from one of the two sluggers at some point.
In a really solid first year in the Bronx in 2018, Stanton hit .266 with 38 home runs and 100 RBI, while also playing in 158 games. That season, Judge only played in 112 games. He was still able to record 27 home runs, though.
In 2019 things took a bad turn for Stanton. He battled various injuries all year and was out for virtually the entirety of the season, only appearing in 18 games. Judge had almost an identical season to 2018, playing in 102 games, hitting another 27 home runs and see marginal differences in batting average (.278 to .272), RBI (67 to 55) and runs (77 to 75).
Heading into this season, the injury woes are back again, for both players and really for the Yankees team as a whole. Judge has issues with his ribs and Stanton's hamstring is acting up again. The one silver lining to the MLB season being delayed is that both of them will have extra time to recover from injury.
When comparing the two for this season and moving forward, there are a few things to consider, both on and off the field. Injury wise, we may as well call it a wash. While Stanton has missed more games recently, outside of last season he has been a relatively healthy player. Judge has missed less time more recently, but he has still missed good chunks of the last two seasons.
From a hitting perspective, they're also pretty close, with Stanton owning a career .268 average and Judge hitting a career .273. We know they both have the ability to hit over 50 home runs when healthy and RBI are no problem for them in an offense like the Yankees'.
The two main areas where a noticeable difference can be made are in defense and off the field, and both of those favor Aaron Judge. Stanton has only posted a positive defensive wins above replacement (dWAR) mark in four of his 10 MLB seasons, holding a career 0.2 dWAR (and a -0.6 mark as a Yankee). Judge, on the other hand, has posted a positive dWAR in all three of his full big league seasons and holds a career dWAR of 3.1.
Lastly, when it comes to the Yankees, image and off-the-field stuff matters. Judge is a homegrown Yankee. He became a star on a team and during a year when no stars were expected, on a team that was still looking for its next captain after Derek Jeter. Stanton is still seen as somewhat of a mercenary. Even when the Yankees acquired him, he was coming off an MVP season and the Yankees just fell one game short of the World Series, it was the ultimate "the rich get richer" scenario.
So with so many similarities on the offensive end and health wise, its defense and image that ultimately give Judge the win here. At this stage he is simply a more complete, more marketable and younger player.
With all that being said, both guys bring a ton of value, and it's hard to imagine the Yankees getting any better by shipping one of them out.
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David Kaestle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, David also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username davekaestle. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.