The 2020 season, for New York Yankeesâ€™ catcher Gary Sanchez, was a nightmare. He batted .147, he had a 68 wRC+ (well below the average, established at 100) and struck out in 36 percent of his plate appearances. This season, he started off hot, then cooled off and, once again, lost playing time to Kyle Higashioka.
However, he is back to being scorching hot, and has maintained that level for a while. Not only he is back performing like an All-Star: Gary Sanchez is carrying the Yankees. The team is streaking and is now four games behind the leader in the AL East, in large part thanks to the Kraken.
â€œWhen we were struggling to score runs, I kept saying, â€˜Itâ€™s a matter of time,â€™â€ SÃ¡nchez said to MLB.com after Thursdayâ€™s win through an interpreter. â€œI have so much confidence in the talent that we have and in my teammates. Eventually, this is what was supposed to happen, for the offense to work the way itâ€™s working right now.â€
The Yankeesâ€™ catcher is on quite the hot streak
The Yankeesâ€™ starting catcher has hit an incredible eight home runs in his last 23 games, and he credits the improvement, per MLB.com, â€œnixing a problematic leg kick from his stride at the plate.â€
Over that timeframe, Sanchez has been, without a question, the Yankeesâ€™ most valuable hitter, with a .338/.410/.743 line, eight homers, and a 206 wRC+.
For the season, Sanchez has a .240/.344/.503 line with a 130 wRC+ and 13 home runs in 56 games. He has lowered his strikeout rate to 26.9 percent, almost 10 percentage points compared to last seasonâ€™s disaster.
Yankeesâ€™ manager Aaron Boone praised SÃ¡nchezâ€™s â€œcourageâ€ for deciding to make the changes in-season. He said his previous stance was preventing his catcher from catching up to fastballs.
Now that he is producing at a high rate, Sanchez is deserving of a place in the All-Star game and of regular playing time on the Yankees.