Yankees: Should Gary Sanchez be an All-Star in 2021?

BUFFALO, NEW YORK - JUNE 16: Gary Sanchez #24 of the New York Yankees celebrates his two-run home run during the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Sahlen Field on June 16, 2021 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Joshua Bessex/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NEW YORK - JUNE 16: Gary Sanchez #24 of the New York Yankees celebrates his two-run home run during the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Sahlen Field on June 16, 2021 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Joshua Bessex/Getty Images) /
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Gary Sanchez has been the most targeted member of the New York Yankees over the last few years. And it all started with his troubling 2018 campaign.

Though he followed that up with an All-Star nod in 2019, he second half of the year was absolutely disastrous. Then came the shortened 2020 season in which he lost his starting job once the postseason rolled around.

This past offseason, the dreaded “non-tender” was floated around. Some fans called for a platoon with Kyle Higashioka. Some wanted free agent and future Hall of Famer Yadier Molina.

Neither of those seemed like insane changes at the time.

But now? El Gary is making every doubter eat their words.

And we’re sure every doubter — including us! — is feeling very good about it. The slugger is slowly returning back to his All-Star form.

Should Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez be an All-Star in 2021?

We’re not going to go as far to say he’s officially back because we’re only looking at a stretch of 53 games, but it appears he’s getting snubbed in the All-Star voting. Not many would argue about Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez being ahead of him in the polls, but Yasmani Grandal, Martin Maldonado, Kurt Suzuki and Christian Vazquez? Preposterous.

Sanchez is slashing .237/.340/.480. That’s good for an .820 OPS and 127 OPS+. Let’s look at those numbers compared to the other vote-getters.

  • Sanchez’s .820 OPS and 127 OPS+ vs Perez’s .863 OPS and 130 OPS+
  • Sanchez’s .820 OPS and 127 OPS+ vs Grandal’s .763 OPS and 116 OPS+
  • Sanchez’s .820 OPS and 127 OPS+ vs Maldonado’s .538 OPS and 49 OPS+
  • Sanchez’s .820 OPS and 127 OPS+ vs Suzuki’s .653 OPS and 79 OPS+
  • Sanchez’s .820 OPS and 127 OPS+ vs Vazquez’s .661 OPS and 80 OPS+

OK, the haters want to nitpick? Sanchez’s -0.2 dWAR and -5 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) on the year aren’t great. However, his defense has improved and he’s surely made a number of plays to save his team in tight situations. On top of that, nobody else’s defensive metrics exactly blow him away. Let’s take another look:

  • Sanchez’s -0.2 dWAR and -5 DRS vs Perez’s 0.3 dWAR and -4 DRS
  • Sanchez’s -0.2 dWAR and -5 DRS vs Grandal’s 0.0 dWAR and -3 DRS
  • Sanchez’s -0.2 dWAR and -5 DRS vs Maldonado’s 0.6 dWAR and 1 DRS
  • Sanchez’s -0.2 dWAR and -5 DRS vs Suzuki’s -0.2 dWAR and -8 DRS
  • Sanchez’s -0.2 dWAR and -5 DRS vs Vazquez’s 1.0 dWAR and 8 DRS

Only Maldonado and Vazquez have a significant edge with the defensive numbers but both are FAR behind on the offensive side. And Vazquez leads the league with six passed balls, which is usually something Sanchez does!

Sanchez has quietly remained a steady bright spot amid the Yankees’ struggles and has helped them right the ship over the last week. The Yankees had two runs on three hits against the A’s on Sunday. They won the game and Gary had two of them with both RBI. He’s got 12 RBI in his last 11 games. He’s not chasing pitches often. He’s in the top percentile for max exit velocity, barrel percentage, walk percentage and expected slugging percentage.

As of now, he should be the second-highest vote-getter. Perhaps Yankees fans should wake up and hit the polls.