The Yankees have experienced success as of late, but not because of Sanchez. Anyone who goes 0-15 in a season to start it off is probably not having a great time. When you factor that it has been with 10 strikeouts, you can see how ugly Gary Sanchez has been at the plate for the Yankees. People on social media are all calling for his head and demanding that the Yankees find an alternative catcher. “He’s lazy”. “He hit .232”. “What an awful catcher”. These are all things I’ve heard so far about Gary Sanchez in 2020, and here’s what I have to say:
Stop. Talking. Please.
Struggles Are Normal
Everyone calling for the Yankees to give up on Gary Sanchez for 2020 must’ve thought the Yankees should’ve benched Jeter and have A-Rod start at third in 2004. The year when Derek Jeter had a 0-32 stretch and had some of the worst numbers in all of baseball offensively on May 1st.
|First 24 Games 2004||OBP||wOBA||wRC+||fWAR|
|Derek Jeter||.268 (10th worst)||.236 (5th worst)||37 (5th worst)||-0.4 (5th worst)|
Should the Yankees have sat their nearly 30 year old shortstop? He was playing poorly and couldn’t hit! Oh what about trading him and signing Nomar Garciaparra because Nomar was hitting better in 2003! See how dumb that sounds? To trade a franchise cornerstone and bet on a free agent is dumb and a waste of money, so if you’re calling for Sanchez to be traded because of 2020, you’re being irrational.
Gary Sanchez Has Been Good As a Yankee So Far
From 2017-2019 there are very few catchers who have been better than Gary Sanchez. You can complain about him all you want but you quite literally are complaining about someone who’s top 10 in nearly every offensive and total value statistic at the catcher position.
|2017-2019(With Ranks Among Catchers)||wRC+||wOBA||HR||SLG||fWAR|
|Gary Sanchez||115 (T-2nd)||.343 wOBA (5th)||85 (1st)||.495 (1st)||8.3|
Tell me about the “eye test” all you want, but you can’t deny that he’s been very good as a catcher for the Yankees. To say otherwise is not only wrong but is unfair to Gary Sanchez as he’s been a top catcher in baseball and so many teams could use him yet we under-appreciate and hate on him.
So What’s Wrong With Gary Sanchez?
Well I can chalk it up to how Gary Sanchez swings. When you analyze his issues, they’re different than the ones in 2018 and late in 2019. While strikeouts are an you can also point at an unrealistically low .197 BABIP, which is so unlucky that it’s quite unfathomable. In 2019 he had a .244 BABIP, so while he was unlucky, it wasn’t to the point where he’s going to balloon up statistically. These are in stark contrast to his more average .300 BABIP from 2016-2017.
In 2019 and 2020 you can look at his inability to make consistent contact and his batting average in balls in play being below average. Gary Sanchez was had the 16th worst BABIP and when you combine that with his 26.7% strikeout%, he is going to have a ton of issues collecting hits.
If the Yankees can get him to whiff less and Gary Sanchez is able to be close to the mean in terms of BABIP, he’s going to be just fine. He can be a power hitter with a lot of strikeouts, he doesn’t need to hit like a Nick Markakis, but he does need to try to make contact more often to collect more extra base hits.
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