A batting average of .186 and 18 passed balls writes the story for Sanchez on both sides of the ball. His batting was atrocious, as he was often slotted in at the No. 5 spot behind Giancarlo Stanton. The Yankees tried to utilize their sluggers consecutively, with Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius, Stanton, and Sanchez batting in order. While some might not call Didi a slugger, he managed to pull 27 homers last season, the most in his seven-year career and an all-time high for the Yankees at shortstop.
How can Gary Sanchez bounce back for the New York Yankees?
It all comes down to plate discipline and confidence for El Gary. He did have the injury excuse in play, as he had shoulder surgery during the 2017 offseason. Instilling confidence in the young catcher is essential, and GM Brian Cashman did just that with these words:
“It would be hard not to have Gary Sanchez as our catcher,” Cashman said during the winter meetings. “He’s certainly someone who we’ve invested in and believe in and expect to be a part of this place moving forward.”
Reports of the Yankees being involved with talks involving J.T. Realmuto clearly were false, as Cashman made it apparent that Sanchez still had a place in New York.
In addition to his shoulder surgery, Sanchez also suffered two groin ailments that limited him to just 76 games last season. Groin issues can be very troublesome for catchers, as it’s an essential muscle that’s needed to shuffle quickly. This undoubtedly played a role in his struggles stopping balls in the dirt, where he ranked last in the league among catchers with 18 passed balls.
With a few months of recovery, I expect to see Sanchez return to his former self. The player that hit .278 in 2017 and allowed 16 passed balls in over 100 games behind the plate. He’s far more talented than what we saw during the most recent campaign, and to be fair, the Yankees might have a far better shot at a deep playoff push when Sanchez is playing at his best.