Winning heals all, doesn’t it? The New York Yankees are 21-6 since the MLB trade deadline and it’s had a lot of fans overlook the fact Joey Gallo, Anthony Rizzo and DJ LeMahieu have been pretty darn bad.
You can thank the hot streaks of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Luke Voit for that. The starting rotation getting early leads has removed situational hitting, clutch at-bats and many of other typical lapses on defense and with baserunning (though they’ve been a lot less frequent) from the forefront of fans’ ire.
Some are still concerned, no doubt, but it’s no longer the echoing sentiment from just about every viewer on a nightly basis. Almost everyone’s enjoying Yankees baseball at this point. We’ll never be at 100%, but when Yankees Twitter has simmered, you know you’ve reach a happy place.
But we’re about the fire up that anger all over again, especially among Gary Sanchez defenders — and by Gary Sanchez defender’s, we mean fans who back him regardless of how bad he’s playing, and then deflect the conversation to another player they don’t like who’s not meeting expectations.
Do we like doing this? Not at all. We like Gary. We want Gary to continue to progress beautifully and remain the franchise’s long-term catcher. But it’s just not happening. And if you think it is, well, we must ask, when will your unbridled bias end?
Sanchez will likely log another season right around 120 games. He’s never played in more than 122 in a single campaign. And across his 92 so far, he’s hitting .216 with a .755 OPS. Sure, you can point to his 106 OPS+ and 107 wRC+ — those are both slightly above average — but you can also rebut that with his -4 DRS and the fact he has 31 extra-base hits on the year.
Gary Sanchez’s 2021 season with the Yankees? Really not great.
Sanchez isn’t necessarily at fault for anything. The Yankees are 21-7 in their last 28 games and he’s actually delivered a few clutch hits, has ran the bases well, and provided solid defense. That’s also likely helped him avoid the usual criticism he’s faced with when his numbers are looking horrid.
But here we are again. Barring a September surge from the slugging catcher (or a memorable October), he’s going to have yet another underwhelming season. Once dubbed the best hitting catcher in MLB, it seems those days are far behind Sanchez, who’s batting .204 since the start of 2018. OK, fine, you don’t think batting average is a meaningful stat?
His OBP since then is .303. He’s slugging just .447. That’s good for a .750 OPS. That’s really not much higher than the league average, which is said to be around .720.
He hasn’t homered since July 20. He has only four total extra-base hits since then, too. Hitting the COVID IL certainly hasn’t helped, but his streakiness this season has been well-documented. And now it’s reaching a point where the production needs to return in order to validate his 2021 season. Also, every single one of Sanchez’s MLB seasons has been interrupted by some sort of injury or dilemma. This is nothing new. In fact, it’s the norm.
In a lineup surrounded by superior talent, many were likely hoping Sanchez would explode and start depositing balls deep into the bleachers again. That’s still not out of the question, we just have no recent evidence to suggest it’ll happen … even though we’re rooting for it badly.