The New York Yankees are off to a torrid start to their 2020 season, winning eight of their first nine games. Catcher Gary Sánchez has been off to a dreadful start with his bat.
This isn’t unusual. Gary has a lifetime batting average of .207 with a slash-line of .207/.531/.806 in March and April. It’s no surprise he is struggling at the onset of the season, because he has always been a streaky hitter. Hits and home runs come in bunches for Sánchez when he gets hot. When the Kraken is on fire, Yankees games are fun to watch because he puts on a show.
Sánchez’s hitting is secondary to me, though. Make no mistake, his towering blasts are jaw-dropping. What matters most to me about Gary’s game is the work he does behind the plate. Watching the way he and new ace Gerrit Cole interact in the dugout after each inning tells me how much his defense and calling games means to him. Although Cole grew up a huge Yankees fan, I don’t think he would make a nine year commitment if he didn’t feel good about his main battery-mate.
Sánchez worked diligently on his techniques behind the plate this past winter with Tanner Swanson, the new catching coordinator. YES Network filmed Gary doing drills in Florida back in February.
In seven games behind the dish, Sánchez has thrown out one out of two would-be base stealers and recorded one passed ball. It wasn’t long ago when his defense was a liability, drawing the ire of then-Yankees manager Joe Girardi, a key reason why the manager wasn’t retained.
The hits and home runs will come, albeit in bunches. The good news is the calendar now reads “August”, a month that historically has been scalding-hot for Sánchez (1.075 OPS).
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