Batting .186 on the season is certainly nothing to write home about, especially when you’re on one of the most explosive teams in baseball. That’s the story of New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, who batted .299 and .278 in the previous two years.
It’s fair to say 2018 was simply an off-year plagued by a lack of confidence at the plate. Maybe a lingering injury was bothering Sanchez, or maybe he wasn’t seeing the ball as well as he did in 2016-17. Either way, you could tell his bat was heavy and his fundamentals seemed sloppy.
Moving forward, he’s out breakout candidate of the year for 2019.
Why Gary Sanchez?
One of Sanchez’s more prominent struggles was simply getting on base, as his OBP dropped about .50 from the year before. Everything about his game was simply “off.” His defense was inconsistent, allowing 18 passed balls, the most in his entire career, and his batting was porous.
We can expect a bounce-back year because what we saw in 2018 wasn’t Gary, it was his worst form, and the Yankees are keen on sticking with him for the future. There was no reported interest (just rumors) in Marilins catcher J.T. Realmuto this offseason, which makes that assessment even more accurate.
Sanchez passed on the depth chart:
By the end of last season, reserve catcher Austin Romine had passed the youth-star on the depth chart, effectively erasing the “star” from his title. While Sanchez did hit 18 home runs, his ability to get on base and provide quality at-bats were rare at best.
More info on Gary’s hitting:
While Sanchez saw his strikeout rate increase by 2.2%, his walk rate elevated to a career best 12.3%. Showing patience at the plate and lacking confidence are two very different things, and I would lean toward the latter as being the conclusion.
El Gary did undergo left-shoulder surgery last offseason, which might have played a part in his demise. This reason alone justifies a bounce-back in 2019. Gaining his confidence will be his primary task this offseason.Â I would expect to see him look more prepared at the plate, his fundamentals more sound, and that undeniable focus that seems to glare off his eyes in the heat of battle.