By now, the struggles of New York Yankees‘ catcher Gary Sanchez in 2020 are well-documented. He hit .147 with 64 strikeouts in 156 at-bats during the shortened season, and even lost his starting job in the postseason to career backup Kyle Higashioka.
Not only that, but the Yankees are reportedly scanning the market to see if they bring another catcher. It is not seen as a priority, but the fact that they are looking at potential replacements is very telling. And don’t forget that the team recently said that they would be willing to listen to offers on their former All-Star backstop.
But despite all this, New York Yankees’ skipper Aaron Boone is once again defending his guy. He did say that 2020 was a â€œchallenging yearâ€ for Sanchez, but the manager thinks that media and fans have been too hard on Sanchez.
â€œI think heâ€™s been unfairly criticized a lot,â€ Boone told Meredith Marakovits Monday on YES Networkâ€™s Yankees Hot Stove. â€œI think at times itâ€™s over the top and people are blinded by some of the things that heâ€™s done really well. This year was certainly a challenging year for him and a struggle for him in a lot of ways, but thatâ€™s okay. Thatâ€™s part of the game. Sometimes you have a tough season, and this season was tough for so many people across the league for different reasons.â€
The Yankees’ manager has Sanchez’s back
Boone is right. People tend to forget that Sanchez has been one of the best-hitting catchers ever since he entered the league. To this day, he has a career 117 wRC+, one of the top marks among backstops.
But boy, he had a rough year. Besides the ugly batting line (.147/.253/.365, 69 wRC+) in 2020, the Yankees’ catcher had a league-high six errors and also five passed balls. His struggles led to his benching on five of the seven playoffs games that the Yankees played.
â€œBut we understand that Gary is a major talent, and while he struggled in certain areas, heâ€™s also made amazing strides in certain areas,â€ Boone said.
Despite his awful line and offensive averages, Sanchez hit 10 home runs and had his best average exit velocity (91.8 mph) since 2016.
â€œLike with all our players, itâ€™s important that we continue to develop (Sanchez) to be the player that so many of us believe he can be,â€ Boone explained.