Yankees backstop Gary Sanchez isn’t in MLB Network’s Top 10 anymore, nor was he particularly close.
Apparently, Sanchez’s unimpeachably bad 2020 shortened season has turned some heads, even at the top level.
Turned ’em in the wrong direction, though.
MLB Network is filling a dull offseason once again by counting down its top 10 current players at every position, using an objective statistical “shredder” to determine supremacy, alongside an esteemed panel of experts.
The network’s list of the game’s top catchers was revealed on Tuesday night, and there’s one familiar name Yankees fans won’t see atop it, in the middle of it, or in the pile of near-misses and late cuts.
Prior to last season, Sanchez ranked fifth in the same countdown. Fifth. And fell out of the top 10 after one, 60-game season. Also mentioned by the various panels? Jason Castro and Christian Vázquez. Not mentioned at all? Gary Sanchez.
And the word cloud of potential catchers that floated on the video board behind the hosts’ heads through the entire special only further proved the massive gap between the top 10 and our beloved Yankees starting catcher. Many of the near-misses and not-near-misses also seemed more appealing, in the moment.
No need to tell us that season “didn’t matter” if it very much mattered to experts like Brian Kenny, who used it to fuel their analysis that dropped Sanchez entirely off the map.
The fans chimed in with their list, too, and though fan rankings are often biased by booming home runs and cherry-picked highlights, they weren’t overtly impressed with Sanchez, either.
It seems Sanchez’s regression is no longer just a worry, but has become an accepted fact among the game’s talking heads.
Sanchez has a lot to prove to the Yankees in 2021, and will seemingly be given one final chance to state his case.
But those who prioritize power above all else in the sabermetric movement now appear to have reconciled Sanchez’s defense with the mounting evidence that his bat simply isn’t all that valuable, either. A whiff-prone catcher with a cannon and poor glove? Quite middling, in this day and age.
If Sanchez has lost his staunchest defenders and objective analysts with his 2020 performance, then why does it remain unfair to question his role moving forward?