Gary Sanchez and Edwin Encarnacion are set to return to the Yankees this weekend. Here’s what the duo brings to the bombers for the upcoming postseason.
In a dreadful, no good, very bad season in terms of health, the New York Yankees somehow have accumulated 102 wins as of Tuesday night. However, that doesn’t mean the injury bug has departed its Pinstriped Pals.
Earlier this month, Gary Sanchez and Edwin Encarnacion sustained injuries in a series against the Detroit Tigers that put their postseason hopes in jeopardy, at least the ALDS. Thankfully, that is not the case, as the Yankees’ star catcher and slugging DH/first baseman are set to return this weekend in Arlington. We’ve done this with Luis Severino and Dellin Betances, and now it’s time for Sanchez and Encarnacion’s turn: what can the slugging duo bring to the Yankees upon their return?
What Sanchez Brings
Sanchez may be the best hitting catcher in baseball. He’s slugging a very respectable .531 and his OPS is a strong .849. By bringing Sanchez back into the lineup, this would move Austin Romine to the bench and almost certainly knock Kyle Higashioka off the roster. Romine, overall, isn’t awful, but Sanchez is better. To put it in perspective, Romine’s on-base percentage is just .306, while Sanchez’s is .318. Considering that Sanchez has a better OBP than Romine despite having a worse average shows that, in the end, Sanchez gets on base at a far better rate than Romine does.
But overall, Romine is a very solid backup; Higashioka, however, is not. Higashioka is batting .226 with a .222 OBP. Yes, you read that correctly: his OBP is worse than his batting average. Yikes. His OPS is only .713, too, which is very underwhelming.
Bottom line, the Yankees will be getting back one of the best catchers in baseball very soon, and they’ll have a solid backup sitting on the bench.
What Edwin Brings to the Table
The Yankees traded for Encarnacion way back and June, and overall, he’s been pretty solid. In 44 games with the Yanks, Edwin is hitting .249 with 13 homers and 37 RBI. To put it gently, he’s been very solid. Having his bat in the lineup would be a great plus for an already strong Yankees offense.
By putting his bat in the lineup, you can maneuver him and Luke Voit, another prominent Yankee bat, in and out of first and designated hitter. This gives the Yankees a pair of slugging first baseman to mess around within the postseason, and overall, it gives them more depth if someone were to get injured (which, by the way this season is going, seems almost inevitable).
Overall, the Yankees will get two of their strongest hitters back in the lineup sooner rather than later. Now if the Yanks can just stay healthy, they’d be in strong shape for a postseason run.