Mid-Season Report Card: Gary Sanchez

Grade: B+


Gary Sanchez has built off of his impressive 2016 rookie season by earning a nod to the 2017 All Star Game. He and former minor league teammate Aaron Judge have combined to form one of the more potent, dangerous duos in the league, despite being just 24 and 25 years of age.


Photo Credit: Adam Hunger/Getty Images



First Half Performance:


Sanchez got off to a very uninspiring start to the season, only to be followed by a long DL stint forcing Austin Romine to be the everyday catcher and Kyle Higashioka to take over the backup duties. Since coming off the DL though, Sanchez has turned things around. The only gripes of his game this season has been his tendency to sometimes look lost at the plate, flailing at pitches outside of the zone and lacking much plate discipline. His defense behind the plate has also taken a major dip after posting a 41% clip of throwing runners out and just three errors in 2016. The caught stealing rate has dropped to 36% while he has already committed nine errors.


Heading into Friday, Sanchez had registered the same exact amount of plate appearances (229) as his rookie season. It was nearly impossible to replicate his major power numbers in which he hit 20 homers and 42 RBIs before slowing down to end the season, but his 13 homers and 40 RBIs show he's still producing at a very high rate. Despite missing a month of action, these numbers rank second and fourth among MLB catchers. Other than slugging percentage, his slash line of 2017 of .289/376/.517 is similar to his 2016 slash line of .299/.376/.657.


Second Half Expectations:


Sanchez batting behind Judge is as dangerous as it gets. Not only is Judge hitting homers routinely, but his ridiculous OBP in the .440s really opens up Sanchez’s potential to do damage. With this, his numbers should even improve in the second half of the season. He has had his fair share of bumps in the road this season, but expect the second half to be smooth sailing for Gary Sanchez, as he continues to establish himself as one of the game’s premier catchers. Kraken will likely finish with about 30 homers and 100 RBIs and with the pitching struggles the Yankees have endured in this recent prolonged slump, they will need Sanchez to be even better than he was in the first half.


Photo Credit: Seth Wenig/AP

Conclusion:


Quickly becoming one of the league’s best at a position that is lacking elite hitters, Sanchez’s 2017 All Star nod is certainly deserving and something to be proud of, but he can still even improve upon his first half that was plagued by his injury. He’s partially known for his cannon of an arm behind the plate, but his overall defense needs some work to get to his full defensive potential. The offensive side could also use some work in the plate discipline department, but in the end Yankees fans should be thrilled with the progression he’s made after what seemed like years in the minors. Sanchez, along with Judge, is the centerpiece of a franchise that many believe will win multiple championships with a loaded slate of youngsters.


Article by: Spencer Schultz
Follow me on Twitter @SpenceSchultz63
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