Saturday, October 1, 2016

As Gary Sanchez slides, the question looms: Who is he?

If the season ended two weeks ago, Gary Sanchez would have hit .325, fluffing his feathers for AL Rookie of the Year.

If the season lasted another two weeks, he might finish at .265, the Gardner-Ellsbury Blue Line of Bland.

Mired in a 1-27 slump, with a disturbing propensity for passed balls, Sanchez has been morphing from Johnny Bench into Ron Hassey. Don't get me wrong: With the rifle arm, he still looks like our bedrock catcher for the next decade, maybe even a future CF plaque. But lately, he's lunged at balls below the frost line and lashed at heaters at his nose. The league found a wet Willie in his swing, and until he adjusts - well, he hasn't. And we should worry that by suddenly becoming the new "Face of the Yankees," Sanchez thinks he must hit every ball to Pakistan.

Above is a quick glimpse into Sanchez's last four minor league years - HRs, RBIs and averages highlighted. His future his in these numbers - unless Sanchez gets homeritis. Fortunately, as a righty, he shouldn't get drunk on the RF porch, which claimed the Grandyman, Ellsbury, McCann, Giambi and half of Tex.

Look at his numbers. With guidance, Sanchez should bring us 30 HRs and .265 - and I'll take it. But somebody - hello, A-Rod? - has to rein in that swing. Somebody - Alex, are you there - has to remind him of the discipline he showed through August. If somebody - yoo-hoo, number 13? - saves him from the supermodels and entourages, we may someday look back at 2016 as the year the Yankees turned the corner. Of course, the fear remains that we bundle prospects for a quick 2017 sugar high of Country Breakfasts and Fat Elvises, rather than keep getting younger. If we nurture the farm, we could win it all in 2018. Gary Sanchez might not hit third on that team. But he surely would be a key.


ranger_lp said...

I'll take a shot at this...

This is what happens when a talented rookie doesn't know the pitchers in the league yet. And it's compounded when the rosters expand to 90 in September. I think that when he has all the pitchers cataloged in his brain, he'll know when to wait on a breaking ball...he already has the signs that he can do this. If he doesn't, he does become Ron Hassey as you said. Personally, it could go either way.

Anonymous said...


Parson Tom said...

he's still hitting the ball hard -- except when he strikes out. he's a real player. probably not Superman but a real player. glad to have him.

Anonymous said...

Sanchez is a gift that proves the Yankee fortunes are turning toward the positive; the team on an upswing (finally). However, what Mr. Sanchez desperately needs starting next spring is a running mate; someone to help take the spotlight, heat, and pressure off him, at least partially. Maybe Clint Frazier is that guy (hope, hope), or maybe the healthy Greg Bird (hope, hope), or calmed-down Tyler Austin, or maybe even the "I'm not swinging at bad pitches anymore" Aaron Judge. But it is important that Gary not feel he has to do it all on his own and hit 5-run homers each at-bat.

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