New York Yankees: Can Gary Sanchez Bounce Back?

With the New York Yankees making several offseason moves to bolster their roster, some of their current talent are primed for big years in 2019. Despite injuries that limited him to only 89 games, catcher Gary Sanchez is primed for a bounce-back in 2019. If he can stay healthy, he could potentially return to 2016 form when he hit 20 home runs in just 53 games.

2018 Stats (New York Yankees):

89 Games, .186/.291/.406/.697, 18 HR, 53 RBI, 46 BB, 51 Runs Scored, 1.2 WAR

2018 was a poor year for Sanchez, both offensively and defensively. The latter has been an issue since 2017, mainly due to passed balls. He led MLB in that category the past two seasons, with 16 in 2017 and 18 in 2018. Not only did Sanchez suffer from two Disabled List stints stemming from a groin injury, but he also had surgery in November to remove tissue from his left shoulder. Apparently, Sanchez had been suffering from intermittent irritation in that same shoulder since 2017.

The procedure comes with a three-month recovery window. Happening in mid-November, that puts Sanchez’s expected recovery at mid-February, just in time for spring training. Despite this, GM Brian Cashman said that they will be cautious with the 26-year old catcher so he’s ready for Opening Day.

A big key for Sanchez to have a breakout 2019 is to fix his issues defensively. He has a cannon of an arm behind the plate that has gunned down 36% of would-be base stealers in his young career, as well as a solid pitch framer. If he can fix his blocking, especially with a Yankees pitching staff that recently added reliever Adam Ottovino and his trademark slider, he could become a significant defensive force behind the plate.

2019 Stat Predictions:

139 Games, .279/.412/.571/.983, 36 HR, 100 RBI, 93 BB, 80 Runs Scored

Awards Predictions:

All-Star, Silver Slugger, AL Comeback Player of the Year, Top 15 MVP Finish