Despite having a very disappointing season in 2018, Gary Sanchez should almost definitely return to form for the Yankees this season.
It’s no secret that Gary Sanchez was absolutely abysmal last season. Whether it be offense or defense, the hard-hitting catcher struggled in all facets of his game.
Albeit Sanchez did have an injury-ridden season, it was difficult to watch. He hit a miserable .186/.291/.406 with 18 home runs. His OPS fell a staggering 179 points. His OPS+ in his first full season in 2017 was 126, but last season it was only 86.
Sanchez’s decline had a lot of people doubting how good he truly was. However, this season, I predict that El Gary will return to form as one of the best catchers in all of baseball. And here’s why.
For starters, as mentioned above, Sanchez was hurt last year. He was sidelined with a groin injury for nearly two months, and then in November, he underwent shoulder surgery. The shoulder injury had plagued him throughout the season, but he finally seems healthy all the way around.
Second, the Kraken seemed to have a bit of bad luck last season. He had a .197 BABIP, which is terrible. That decline was partly due to his decline in his line-drive rate from 21.1% to 14.3%, as well as an increase in pop-ups from 10.8% to 19.2%. That’ll decrease anyone’s chances of getting a hit. But Sanchez still hit the ball hard, and he seems to have just run into some bad luck. That BABIP can’t get much worse and I’m sure it will increase tremendously.
Finally, Sanchez improved his plate discipline in 2018, as well as putting up a solid homerun rate. His walk rate increased from 7.6% to 12.3%, while still posting a 17.9 AB/HR clip. Add in a fully healthy season, a better BABIP, and more line drives, and Gary Sanchez might actually be better in 2019 than he was in 2017 at the plate. Let’s just hope his defense can’t get any worse.