It wasn’t long ago when fans were calling for Gary Sanchez’s job after an injury-riddled season where he hit just .186/.291/.406 in 89 games. Now, the 26-year-old slugger is on pace to have the best year at the plate by a catcher in years.
If the 2019 campaign were to end today, there is not a doubt that Gary would take home the hardware for AL Comeback Player of the Year. That’s how good he has been. In 30 games entering Tuesday, he’s slashing .265/.341/.646 with 13 long balls and a 155 wRC+.
Those numbers, by far, are the best of any catcher in baseball, and, at this pace, set to be the best season by any backstop since Joe Mauer’s MVP 2009 season where he hit .365/.444/.587 with 29 home runs and a wRC+ of 170. Mauer played 138 games that season so, for fun’s sake, let’s project Gary Sanchez’s 2019 numbers over that span of a season.
- 30 Games / 138 Games
- BA: .265 / .265
- OBP: .341 / .341
- SLG: .646 / .646
- HR: 13 / 59
- RBI: 26 / 120
- fWAR: 1.1 / 5.1
Now, when you strictly look at those ridiculous power numbers Gary’s on pace for, the conversation of his season being the best the 21st century has seen by any catcher is a legitimate one to have.
Sanchez won’t keep up this ridiculous pace and hit 59 home runs. That would just be absurd, although not impossible. But, I’d think it’s certainly reasonable to say he will cross the 40-homer mark which would be the most by a backstop since Mike Piazza’s 1997 campaign (40 HR).
Most notably, however, is his .646 slugging percentage which would put him at the top of any catcher this century by far with Mauer’s .587 holding the top mark entering the 2019 season.
Comparing Gary’s slugging percentage to what most would consider to be the three best seasons by a catcher since 2000 is quite a treat for the eyes.
3. Jorge Posada – .543 (2007)
2. Buster Posey – .549 (2012)
1. Joe Mauer – .587 (2009)
Gary Sanchez – .646 (2019)*
* Through May 21
If there still were any Gary Sanchez doubters after last night’s go-ahead 3-run bomb in the 9th for his 13th longball of the season, I hope these stats finally changed your mind. After all, Gary Sanchez is in the midst of the best power season we’ve seen from a catcher this century.