Stop Hating on Gary Sanchez: He’s One of Baseball’s Best Catchers

Ryan Garcia
New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez
Feb 12, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (24) works out as pitchers and catchers report for spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

People seem to for some odd reason dog on Gary Sanchez as if he’s some horrible catcher who’s barely an MLB talent. They point to his 2018 in disgust and proclaim that he’s baseball’s worst defensive catcher. They point at a 2.3 fWAR and say that he’s nothing better than mediocrity. They point at the abysmal batting average and say he can’t hit for his life. To all that I say, you’re wrong, and arguing with cold hard facts is not possible no matter how much you hate Gary Sanchez. He’s a top 4 catcher in baseball and there’s more than enough evidence to prove it.

One of the Best Hitting Catcher Ever

People will look at a .246 career batting average and be disgusted, but then ignore a .518 SLG, .354 wOBA, and 123 wRC+. For context, no catcher has a career wRC+ above 140, with Mike Piazza’s wRC+ being the highest. Catcher’s having a 123 wRC+ is flat out rare, and in that department, Sanchez is 23rd all time, with only Buster Posey having a higher active wRC+ than Sanchez. That is unheard of, and since 2017 is tied for 2nd in wRC+. He also signed 2017 despite only playing 317 games, has the most home runs out of all catchers, and not by one or two home runs but by 11 long balls.

Calling Sanchez anything but an elite offensive catcher is blasphemy, and if you think he’s a one-trick pony then you’re dead wrong. He isn’t spectacular at catcher, but he’s for sure not even close to the worse defending catcher.

He’s Better Than You Think Behind the Plate

Gary Sanchez has baseball’s 4th best arm in terms of MPH out of all catchers, is 9th in Pop Time, and while yes he’s lackluster at framing, that seems to have been 2019-only things and could be contributed to injury. In 2018 he owned 3 Runs Extra Strikes, a framing metric that shows he was a solid framer. He even owned a 49.9% strike rate which is also pretty solid. He experienced defensive setbacks in 2019 and while I would argue he’s one of baseball’s premier defenders, he’s definitely underrated defensively as a catcher.

Why Does He Get So Much Hate?

People are ignorant in terms of wanting Gary Sanchez to be what they grew up with. They want him to hit singles and not worry about home runs. They want him to not strike out so much. They think he doesn’t work hard and is lazy because he wasn’t hustling down the line against the Rays when after the game it turned out he was injured again. Funny how that detail seems to get swept under the rug because it fits a narrative for the media.

Now I’ll get comments and remarks letting me know that he doesn’t hustle, he’s lazy, and that my numbers are not what their eyes see. To them, I say stop being ignorant and slandering the name of a young catcher who works harder than 90% of the population. He spends his life traveling to play baseball and working out and hitting and fielding. He is doing everything he can to be a great catcher and for what it is, he’s been a great catcher no doubt. Gary Sanchez isn’t a lazy bum who sits down eats chips and doesn’t work out. He’s one of baseballs’ BEST catchers, a hard worker, and a man that if you don’t respect then you shouldn’t ever have his name in your mouth. El Kraken is a monster, and I wouldn’t want to be you if you’re putting bets that he’s going to flop.