It’s time we stop thinking Gary Sanchez’s at-bats in the Dominican League will translate to his play with the Yankees.
Perhaps we can all agree Gary Sanchez deserves an offseason out of the spotlight. The New York Yankees catcher endured arguably the worst 2020 of any hitter and was eventually benched in the postseason in favor of Kyle Higashioka.
While Yankees fans have grown frustrated with him, there’s no question everybody wants El Gary to succeed. After all, he was one of the most exciting players on the team when he made his debut and still possesses the potential to be the best hitting catcher in the game. Though some vitriol may come off as fans wanting to do away with the slugger as if they’re basking in his failures, that’s just not the case. We know how New York fervor can be misinterpreted.
So that’s why we need to stop following Sanchez in the Dominican Winter League as closely as we are. There’s nothing wrong with tracking his progress to remain informed, but we can’t be getting furious at every inexplicable strikeout or jumping over the moon after each laser home run. It just won’t end well.
In fact, the sad part is that we should be taking his failures more seriously than his successes. And we shouldn’t want to do that, but we have to.
Why? Because he’s facing inferior competition and very much needs these reps (which good baseball players typically don’t) as he endures this journey to get back in good standing with the Yankees. If he’s succeeding against the opposition in the DWL, that’s simply just what he’s supposed to be doing. Great. Come on, Gary. Keep getting the job done. If you’re a Gary Sanchez stan and believe he’s the best hitting catcher in baseball, he should be abusing pitches right now. It shouldn’t even be a discussion. And you shouldn’t be pointing your finger in the face of every doubter when he does.
On the other hand, if he’s failing, well, then, that’s even worse because there was a whole lot of that against much better talent over the last three seasons in Major League Baseball. And that’s hard to watch. But we shouldn’t be burying him for it because all that matters is how he performs with the Yankees in 2021, and his play in the DWL won’t translate to next year in any manner.
It sure is fun watching him tattoo home runs against Alexis Candelario on a 3-0 count … but what if he’s not doing that? Then that’s really not good. And we wrote about his debut performance, which was downright bad, regardless of how you viewed it. He struck out three times, got jammed on a fastball and popped out to right field, and hit a bloop RBI single. Maybe we should have just ignored it. Why even put that bad energy out there?
Well, like we said, because if he’s not bouncing back against baseball players that are exponentially worse than him, then it’s a cause for concern. We’re not here to say “Wow! Look! Gary Sanchez is horrific! What’s the point of this guy?!”
It’s more like “Oh no, this is supposed to be our starting catcher and he’s … really not that good. What are we going to do? How much longer can we wait for him to rebound?”
We want him to be dominant. Quite frankly, we need him to be. But we need to be honest with ourselves and can’t be watching his performances to fulfill our own prophecies about the 28-year-old, whether they’re good or bad.
Gary Sanchez needs a reset. Yankees fans need a reset. It’s called the offseason for a reason. Let’s take the time we need to get back on track mentally and not be so glued and knee-jerky to everything that’s going on (Yanks Go Yard included!)
It’s understandably hard when we live in a 24/7 society and have every piece of information in any form of medium at our fingertips, but looking at the bigger picture is typically the answer, especially when it comes to a player attempting to rediscover himself on the road to redemption.