It’s no secret that Gary Sanchez endured an awful season in 2018. Injuries, continuous defensive struggles, and a batting average south of .200 all contributed to what was a lost season for the 2017 all-star. With that said, what should expectations be for Gary heading into 2019?
It wasn’t too long ago that Gary Sanchez took the league by storm as the best story in baseball, smashing 20 home runs in just 53 games in 2016. Following placing second in AL ROY voting, Gary was looked at as a prime piece of what would become a new core in the Bronx alongside Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, and others.
However, the emergence of Judge’s historic 52-homer rookie campaign in 2017 rightfully overshadowed what was a very successful follow-up season offensively for Sanchez. In 122 games, he slashed .278/.345/.531 with 33 long balls and 90 RBI which officially established him among the best backstops in baseball.
Heading into the 2018 season, Gary was labeled as a sleeper pick behind Judge and offseason acquisition Giancarlo Stanton to win MVP of the American League. Some within the organization itself referred to Sanchez as the best hitter on the team. Unfortunately, numerous stints on the disabled list and a poor showing at the plate led to a .186/.291/.406 slash with 18 homers in just 89 games.
But one thing is certain. Gary Sanchez didn’t just forget how to hit all of the sudden. Regardless of the lack of promise he showed in 2018, we and the Yankees themselves know what the 26-year-old is capable of doing when healthy. By most credible projection sites, Gary is projected to hit right around 30 homers in 2019 with a wRC+ north of 120, stats comparable to his very solid 2017 campaign.
Gary Sanchez sent this one FOUR HUNDRED AND SEVENTY NINE FEET. pic.twitter.com/dKkPaXChgT
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 7, 2018
It’s a salivating thought to imagine the potential of an already potent Yankee lineup with the addition of a healthy and productive Gary Sanchez. Of course, nothing is a guarantee, but it’s probably safe to say that Gary is the favorite for 2019’s AL Comeback Player of the Year award.