Throughout the entire 2020 season, fans have been frustrated with Gary Sanchez. The New York Yankees catcher has been pretty terrible overall when you look at the numbers. Sure he’s hit some home runs, but he’s left a lot to be desired.
Despite his abysmal performance, Sanchez wasn’t really pushed from the backups. Last year, the Yankees had Austin Romine who really pushed Sanchez in terms of internal competition. If Sanchez couldn’t perform, Romine was right there for the Yankees.
However, the Yankees didn’t have the luxury of someone like Romine this season. However, Kyle Higashioka has completely turned heads over the past week. Higashioka smacked three home runs in the Yankees win over Toronto on September 16th.
He’s hitting the ball hard, and Higashioka looks very comfortable at the plate. Not to mention the fact that Gerrit Cole loves pitching to him. Cole has looked sensational with Higashioka catching him. All of these attributes for Higgy are actually good for Gary Sanchez.
Yankees Catcher Competition = Motivation
If there’s been one knock on Gary Sanchez over the past few years it’s been his motivation. We hear stories all the time of how the Yankees say he’s working hard, but a lot of the times it leaves fans scratching their heads due to the lack of improvement.
Sanchez has been called out by Yankees fans for his lack of hustle. However, Sanchez didn’t have to experience too much pressure because nobody was threatening his job. That’s been changing as of late.
Now that Giancarlo Stanton is healthy, there’s a very real chance that Gary Sanchez doesn’t get to start the Yankees first playoff game. I’m not sure the Yankees will deviate from having Higashioka catch Cole.
However, Sanchez can force their hand if he continues to play well. We’ve seen an uptick in Sanchez’s performance as of late. His batting average has climbed over 30 points in the last ten days, and he’s looking more comfortable at the plate.
The Yankees catcher needs all the motivation he can get. Higashioka playing as well as he is will only motivate Sanchez. Sanchez is looking at being benched to start the Yankees playoff run, and if that doesn’t motivate him, I don’t know what would.