Part 20 in the series analyzes the New York Yankees.
Have some seen Gary Sanchez and borrowed Peggy Lee’s hit song in 1969, “Is That All There Is”?
Others, fascinated by the power of the catcher’s right hand, believe there is more coming from bats that sometimes resemble Manny Ramirez’s. And anyone who saw him alive last year in San Francisco, where Sanchez kicked the ball 481 feet to the left, is undoubtedly legitimate.
So who is Sanchez? And where is the 27-year-old’s future position in the Yankees? Regardless of whether there is a game or not in this season affected by COVID-19, Sanchez will be entitled to arbitration for the second time this offseason when he is determined to make $ 5 million. That means after the 2022 season, Sanchez will qualify for a free agent.
With nearly 1,400 big league bats in three plus years, it’s clear Sanchez isn’t a hitter in 53 games in 2016 – when he dropped the jaw by hitting .299 with 20 homers, 42 RBI and 1,032 who were sick OPS to finish second in the AL Rookie of the race Year. But who can?
In 317 matches after 2016, Sanchez has reached 0.238 with 85 homers, 220 RBI and posted 0.815 OPS. That’s an average of 28 homers and 73 RBI over three seasons, which carries weight for catchers who have become All-Star twice in three full major league seasons.
However, are they enough to make up for Sanchez’s defense? Aaron Boone believes Sanchez can improve based on his work habits. He has an above average throwing arm, but that is sometimes compromised by erratic footwork. He called the game solid, but his ability to block the ball below average. Two years ago he led the main course with graduating balls with 18 but cut to seven in 2019.
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With the recruitment of Tanner Swanson, who replaced Jason Brown as an arrest instructor, Sanchez spent shortened spring training by working lower in his squatting to be a better frame and looking the most awkward at best in a small sample size.
And he is limited by back disease and then flu.
Since replacing Brian McCann as a regular catcher in 2017, Sanchez has been on the list of injuries at least once every season and twice in 2018 and 2019. After the 2018 season, Sanchez underwent surgery on his left shoulder.
Four of the five IL assignments in the last three seasons are lower body problems. With Austin Romine supporting Sanchez, the Yankees improved, but when Romine signed a one-year contract for $ 4.1 million with the Tigers last December, the Yankees switched to Kyle Higashioka to become their number 2 catcher.
Romine’s money is out of bounds for reserves, but that’s not the only reason Higashioka, 29, will make his first league list for his first Opening Day on March 26. He has impressed the organization’s decision makers with his recent defense, pitch calls and minor league strength figures. The right-handed batsman hit 20 homers in 70 matches for Triple-A Scranton / Wilkes-Barre last year.
However, he has only appeared in 56 major league games in the last three seasons. An average of 0.164 in the majors seems worrying, but the seventh round of selection in the 2008 draft has received spotty playing time behind Romine when Sanchez has left. Sanchez’s track record shows he will not have a full season without a visit to IL, so Higashioka will get more regular playing time if that happens.