Get ready. Are you sitting down? Prepare yourself. The New York Yankees might have an All-Star catcher on their hands, and not just by default. Since losing his starting job and being punished into a de facto platoon, Gary Sánchez has been…really, really good.
He’s at least earned a trip to Colorado to hit moon bombs in the Home Run Derby, as we see it.
Sánchez saved the Yankees at the plate on Wednesday night in Buffalo, coming off the bench to launch a monstrous home run off an aiming Ross Stripling, who left a fastball middle-middle. Unimpressed? Sure, but two months ago, Sánchez was among many Bombers culprits missing fastball after center-cut fastball.
He then skittered behind the plate, cleaned up Aroldis Chapman’s oddly-timed toss to the dish and nabbed a leaning Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at third before blocking dirtball after dirtball, willing the closer to safety.
Not bad for someone who saw Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher usurp his role months ago in the court of public opinion.
Not only has Sánchez’s months-long hot streak left him as the Yankees’ best option, but he’s right up there with the AL’s very best catchers.
Yankees: Gary Sánchez is probably an American League All-Star
Most All-Star projections pencil in Salvador Perez of the Royals as the starter (valid), then start improvising with their backup picks. The most popular? Mike Zunino of the Rays.
This season, Zunino is triple-slashing .194/.291/.504 with a 124 OPS+, superior to El Gary’s 119 mark. He also has the baked-in advantage of possibly being the first-place Rays’…only representative? With Tyler Glasnow’s injury, there isn’t another shoo-in on the roster, which is wild. That said…Sánchez at least belongs in the conversation, acknowledging all these mitigating factors.
I’m not as modern as it gets. There are more modern fans than me. This stipulation is all to say that…perhaps some of you can stomach Yasmani Grandal’s .152 average on the All-Star team, but I cannot.
.152 with the same OPS+ and power numbers as Gary’s! Come on now! Not sure how anyone could advocate for the ChiSox backstop over the one in our backyard. Some people will, though, continue to make inane arguments against him for as long as his Yankees career shall last.
Yes. Totally. If Gary Sanchez hit pop up after pop up but sprinted while doing it, people would be pumped. “Look at him go!” they’d say as he hit .000 with weak contact.
On the year, Sánchez has been firmly above-average, not simply sneaking by the borderline, which we were hesitant to praise earlier in the season. He’s saved numerous games with heads-up defense. In June, he sports a .302 average, 1.008 OPS, and has been as clutch as they come.
We’re not saying he’s the best catcher in the American League. We’re saying he’s proving, once again, that he deserves to be considered among them. It’s really something.