In the Yankees Universe, Gary Sanchez is a polarizing entity because if his defense. But what’s never debated about is the potent potential of his bat.
Gary Sanchez is currently batting an unimpressive .202 in 51 games so far this season. Despite the low batting average Sanchez has been productive hitting 12 home runs and driving in 35.
Sanchez has been one of the most productive catchers since being called up in 2015. Among all catchers with a minimum of 900 Plate Appearances, Gary is number one in wRC+ (Weighted Runs Created Plus) with 134.
The next closest is San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey at 126 and the Chicago Cubs Willson Contreras at 123. Gary’s 8.8 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) during the same time frame also ranks fourth overall. Behind only Posey (15.3), Miami Marlins J.T. Realmuto and The LA Dodgers Yasmani Grandal (8.9)
BABIP is a stat that is being looked at more and more nowadays as the advanced metrics are relying upon more. BABIP is Batting Average on Balls In Play. And this stat is looked at to determine the random variance known as luck.
When a player, especially a hitter of Gary Sanchez’s caliber, has a BABIP of .207 it needs content to be quantified. Gary’s career BABIP mark is .286. In trying to deduce what has caused Sanchez’s struggles this season, I looked at his BABIP and his exit velocity. Gary has produced an average exit velocity of 90.48 mph, notching about 2 mph above the MLB average of 88.89.
What does this mean? It means that Gary is still hitting the ball hard and its just finding gloves instead of holes. In the Sabermetric community, it’s believed that there will always be a regression to the mean. So with Gary’s ability to hit the ball hard and the fact that his BABIP is currently about 80 points off his career average and about 100 points off of last season’s average, it is safe to assume that the market will correct itself.
Look for small adjustments in Gary’s approach over the coming weeks. Small changes in his at-bats where he is more aggressive early in the count on pitches in the zone. Sanchez is seeing approximately 4.09 pitches per plate appearance which is again above the MLB average of 3.97. Sanchez is much too talented a hitter to stay at a .200 average. However, even with the low batting average Sanchez is by far the most dangerous .200 hitter in all of MLB.