The New York Yankees needed their star catcher to elevate his game after a dismal 2018 performance, and he’s done just that in 2019. Hitting a solid .265 across 18 games after putting up an ugly .186 last season has been the silver lining in a tough start for the Yanks.
Gary Sanchez, the player aforementioned, has 10 homers on the season, leading the league in that sample size. On Friday night against the Minnesota Twins, he launched a pair of homers to increase his season total.
Sanchez posted his first multi-hit game since returning from the injured list on April 24th. A left calf strain forced him out and required rehab. Clearly, the ailment hasn’t set him back as he smashed a 429-foot homer in the fifth inning before the weekend. A great way to start off the series after a two-game sweep against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“My timing was a little off after the [injured] list,” Gary said through a translator. “It was a matter of adjustments. I’m trying to stay away from swinging at bad pitches.”
In 2018, the young catcher struck out 94 times over 89 games, averaging about one per game. This season he’s on pace for 5 less over the same time period. However, he’s on pace for nearly 50 homers over 89 games compared to his 18 last year. While it’s unlikely he keeps up that impressive production, it’s the potential that matters in this scenario.
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New York Yankees GM Aaron Boone commented on Sanchez’s abilities:
“He’s a gifted offensive player. It’s not surprising [what he can do],” manager Aaron Boone said. “When you see the kind of swing he has and the way he’s able to impact the ball, it’s something that he’s certainly capable of. That’s why we expect a lot out of him and demand a lot out of him, because we know he’s capable of those kinds of things. His power has been big for us this year.”
With the Yankees’ sluggers out due to injury — Aaron Judge & Giancarlo Stanton — Sanchez has had to pick up the slack for both. The Bombers center their offense around home run-hitters, and with their best two on the bench, they’ve been forced to lean on their catcher to replicate their production.
He has answered the call with flying colors.