Yankees: 3 players that cannot be relied upon in 2021

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Gary Sanchez #24 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Gary Sanchez #24 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

1. Gary Sanchez

There’s no reason to believe Gary Sanchez will return to form. Though we can hope.

There are three types of Gary Sanchez fans: the ones that love him and will blindly (and ferociously) defend him whether the criticism is warranted or not; the ones who have no patience with him and want the Yankees to end the experiment; and the ones who really want him to succeed and know what he’s capable of, but simply don’t trust him based on what’s transpired since 2018.

Most people should fall in that third category, but this is sports fandom we’re talking about. The spectrum of rationality isn’t very wide.

Anyway, while we would LOVE Sanchez to do what he did in the first half of 2019 and somewhat maintain that production without falling off a cliff and exploding, it’s just hard to picture that happening with how much he’s fallen out of favor.

His 2020 was so bad on both sides of the ball that he ended up being benched in favor of Kyle Higashioka when the playoffs rolled around. It slowly began as Higashioka becoming Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher, and next thing you know he’s starting all five ALDS games and Sanchez has no clue what’s going on.

The best-case scenario is that Sanchez uses this as fuel and forces manager Aaron Boone’s hand with some tightened defense and an offensive renaissance. Every Yankees fan would be elated if that happened.

But what evidence is there to suggest there’s any indication of that happening? He’s batting .200 flat since 2018, his strikeout issue isn’t going away, has never played in more than 122 games in a single season, and his defense is either getting worse or simply not improving (as proven by his DRS from 2017-2020).

The eternal hope is that Gary Sanchez resurfaces and stakes his claim as the best hitting catcher in baseball. But to project that as a likely possibility feels terribly delusional.