One of the hottest storylines for the New York Yankees in spring training is the progress of Gary Sanchez. He was very bad during the shortened 2020 season, slumping all the way to career lows in average (.147) on base percentage (.253) slugging (.365) wOBA (.271) and wRC+, with 68.
Sanchez did hit 10 home runs, but his 36% strikeout rate made it difficult for New York Yankeesâ€™ manager Aaron Boone to justify keeping him in the lineup.
In fact, the Yankeesâ€™ skipper decided to go with backup Kyle Higashioka to start games in the 2020 postseason given the defensive advantage and the prolonged slump Sanchez was in.
He worked very hard during the offseason on some mechanical adjustments at the plate, and he also reported to spring training in very good shape.
The hard work seems to be paying off for the Yankees’ backstop
And, so far at least, the hard work seems to be paying off for the Yankeesâ€™ catcher. Sanchez hit his second Grapefruit League home run on Wednesday against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Gary Sanchez with a home run in his second straight game! This time he goes to the opposite field pic.twitter.com/8i9dA6Eg9L
— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) March 4, 2021
For Sanchez, it has never been about the power. Itâ€™s evident that he can mash a baseball, as evidenced by his batted ball data in 2020. However, making contact has been an issue in the last two seasons, especially in 2020.
Wednesdayâ€™s dinger didnâ€™t travel as far as the one he hit against the Detroit Tigers earlier in the week, but the Yankees will no doubt take it nonetheless.
This time, it was an opposite-field rocket off of left-hander Nick Allgeyer in the fifth inning, as the New York Yankees won 4-1 against their division rivals.
With a long season to work through any mechanical issues he may have in the batterâ€™s box, and hopefully a normal environment, the Yankees hope that Sanchez can return to his +100 wRC+ ways and avoid prolonged slumps at the plate.