Yankees’ Aaron Judge makes BOLD claim about Gary Sanchez

Alexander Wilson
New York Yankees, NYY, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez
Aug 28, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) celebrates with catcher Gary Sanchez (24) after hitting a two run home run against the Seattle Mariners during the fifth inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez might have hit .147 last year and recorded a negative WAR, but that didn’t scare slugger Aaron Judge away from making a bold comment about his teammate.

Sanchez has been on the decline for a few seasons now, seeing his defense drop off significantly and his offense remain volatile. While he’s capable of hitting 30+ homers in any given season, he scarcely makes contact and strikes out an exorbitant amount. Last season, he recorded a career-high 36% strike out right and career-low on-base percentage.

However, Sanchez has worked diligently to improve this off-season, and Judge has been there every step of the way.

“Gary’s a guy that can go out there and win AL MVP…”

Quite the bold projection so early in spring training.

“Seeing those improvements, those changes, has been huge,” Judge told reporters on Saturday.

“Seeing the changes he was trying to make with his swing to shorten up and make better contact, be more consistent,” Judge said. “From day one, the first day of the offseason, he was already trying to make changes. And it was pretty amazing to to see the improvement he made in just a short amount of time.”

The Yankees need both Judge and Sanchez to rid themselves of their demons:

Judge has his own issues to deal with, like remaining healthy for an entire season. When he’s on the field, though, he’s one of the best right fielders in baseball and one of the most dangerous hitters.

Sanchez is capable of having that offensive impact, as we saw in 2017 when he hit 33 homers and recorded a .278 average. His regression is primarily mental, but changing his fundamentals and tweaking things to perfect his swing is never a bad idea. Sanchez often gets down on himself as he hangs his head after each strikeout, but that’s part of baseball, and you have to return with a clear memory.

One thing that Sanchez hasn’t lost is his work ethic, as he continues to refine his abilities and become the best player possible. Judge gives him credit for that positive, but he just needs to put it all together and display it on the field moving forward.

“Something that’s always impressed me is, he’s a hard worker,” Judge said. “I don’t think he gets enough credit for the amount of work and the amount of hours he puts in at his craft. So, it’s exciting to see the success he’s having so far in spring training.”