For all the inconsistencies and shortcomings the Yankees have endured over the last several weeks, Gary Sanchez has been the one constant…at least on offense.
We obviously mean no disrespect to the rest of the lineup, but Sanchez’s renaissance has been particularly satisfying given how lost he looked at the start of the year (he was hitting below the Mendoza deep into the month of May) and how long his current hot streak has lasted.
Unless the 28-year-old star cools down beyond belief over the next couple weeks, he should be voted to his third career All-Star Game. Amid his resurgence, fans would understand if Sanchez wanted to play a bigger role in the event-filled weekend.
However, Sanchez swiftly ended all speculation as a potential Home Run Derby participant following Thursday night’s win over the Royals.
You hear that? That’s the entire fan base breathing a sigh of relief.
Gary Sanchez refusing participation in the HR Derby is awesome.
“I had a really good time the first time I went, but after the first round, I got tired,’’ Sanchez told reporters of the 2017 Derby. “I don’t want to do that right now.”
That, right there, is music to the ears of all Yankees fans. For as much as they’d love to see Sanchez obliterate baseballs at Coors Field, there’s no reason to jeopardize the groove he’s in right now, and trying to launch home runs could do exactly that.
Leading up to the Red Sox series — Sanchez is currently a modest 1-for-6 over the first two games — he was hitting .342 with eight home runs, six doubles, 18 RBI, nine walks, just 20 strikeouts and a 1.168 OPS over his last 23 games.
That’s a healthy sample size, folks. Sanchez is arguably in the form of his life — no, that isn’t being a prisoner of the moment — and him firing on all cylinders changes the entire complexion of the Yankees’ lineup, which desperately needs him in the three hole right now.
Even the slightest adjustment to his swing, like, say, forming more of an uppercut to blast home runs to win a largely meaningless competition, could derail all the progress Sanchez has made since the start of June.
For context, Sanchez’s slash line on May 25 was a ghastly .174/.302/.339. Over his last 24 contests, it’s blossomed into a respectable .238/.345/.492. What makes that line more all the more impressive is his 13 home runs, 29 RBI and .838 OPS, which leads all catchers.
It’s unclear what tweaks Sanchez has made to his swing, but how many times have we seen derby participants endure lengthy slumps post All-Star Break? The list is endless, and El Gary could’ve made it longer had he entered the contest.
Now that he isn’t, his hot streak has an excellent chance of lasting longer than Yankees fans could’ve ever imagined.