No, you wouldn't rather have Mike Tauchman than Giancarlo Stanton.
No, you wouldn't rather have Cameron Maybin than Giancarlo Stanton.
Clint Frazier wouldn't be preferable, either.
The Yankees returned the more seasoned half of their reincarnated Bash Brothers to the major league roster on Tuesday, and let me assure you: while the other players mentioned above performed admirably (or better!) in keeping the ship afloat, 2017's NL MVP is on another level of baseball royalty, with the statistical backing to prove it.
Prior to tonight’s game, the Yankees returned OF Giancarlo Stanton from rehab and reinstated him from the 10-day injured list.— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) June 18, 2019
While it's hard for takes to have nuance these days, Stanton's dominance has been utterly and completely lost in the sauce, among the biggest casualties of Boston's dominant 108-win World Series campaign of 2018. Because the folks from Beantown overshadowed everything, and our final images of Stanton involve a poorly-timed strikeout against Craig Kimbrel to help snuff out one last rally, a pall was thrown over the Yanks' entire season.
But from June through August, much of that time spent without Aaron Judge in the lineup, Stanton hit .295 with 22 homers, knocking in 55 runs, and carrying the team throughout a midsummer run.
Welcome back, Giancarlo Stanton.— YES Network (@YESNetwork) June 18, 2019
The Yankees slugger has officially been activated off the injured list. pic.twitter.com/iBPaWZ2pyN
To some fans, Stanton will always be the outsider accomplice to Judge's captaincy. He's not from here. He brings with him some of the same chiseled A-Rod-ism that turned bridge-and-tunnel fans against Rodriguez before his redemptive 2009 postseason. But facts are facts: Stanton strikes out, but so does Judge. So does everyone. Stanton won't be taking at-bats away from DJ LeMahieu or Gio Urshela; his light-tower power is simply more likely to be an effective boom-or-bust postseason tool against elite pitching than a string of singles is. What's easier: hitting one home run, or knocking three straight grounders through the hole against Justin Verlander? What about doing that twice more?
As goofy as it sounds, some Yankee fan bias against Stanton likely stems from his 2018 home-road splits. When Yankee fans watched him in the Bronx, Stanton hit .229 with 20 homers. On the road? .300 with 18 dingers. That's one season's worth of weirdness, and there's no empirical data behind Stanton's struggles in smaller dimensions. Perhaps fans' unwillingness to accept him and propensity to leap down his throat after every whiff is at fault here?
Giancarlo Stanton still has the hardest hit ball of 2019 (120.6 MPH, 3/28/19)— Joe Randazzo (Bronx Pinstripes writer) (@deflategator) June 18, 2019
Today he returns to the Yankees. May the Baseball Gods keep him hot all year. pic.twitter.com/qbc8RuKRYv
With Stanton, you're getting a game-changing behemoth back. Clint Frazier is well on his way to being an effective player. Cameron Maybin is already there, too, serving as an exceptional glue guy, and should absolutely stay on the roster in favor of Luis Cessa next week.
But Stanton is something else. And though the best of him may have been sandwiched by bad imagery in 2018, Yankee fans will notice the intense upgrade in mere days.