When looking at New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole objectively, he is the best pitcher on the team and arguably in baseball. However, don’t underestimate the effects a catcher can have on a pitcher, as we saw on Opening Day with Gary Sanchez behind the plate. It took only one contest for skipper Aaron Boone to realize that Sanchez isn’t the right man behind the plate for Cole, who prefers Kyle Higashioka, a more defensive-minded option.
Unfortunately for Sanchez, it took him just one start with the Yankees’ top starter before losing his job for at least one day a week. In 2020, Sanchez’s offensive struggles hurt him significantly, but his defense was also inadequate.
His poor performance forced management’s hand, as Kyle took over in the postseason and displayed solid attributes and consistency. He’s not the slugger that Gary is, but he makes decent contact and has a bit more upside left to un-tap.
With what clearly seems like a match made in heaven with Cole and Higashioka, Boone wasn’t convinced that Sanchez should lose his opportunity catching the most talented pitcher on the roster.
“I’ll pair them up I’m sure a fair amount,” Boone said of Cole and Higashioka. “But I also felt like, especially going back to Opening Day, I felt like Gary and Gerrit were really good together. I’m comfortable with both guys.”
Boone did state the pairing “have a good thing going, a ying and a yang.”