2018 was a rough year for Gary Sanchez. He had a .186 batting average, a .291 on-base percentage, and he led the league in passed balls for the second year in a row with 18, two more than he had in 2017.
It had seemed that many gave up on him at the end of last year. This season, he has turned it around completely.
Sanchez has brought back the offense that everyone thought he would have last year after a dominant 2017. At time of writing, Sanchez is batting .270 with a .345 on-base percentage, 37 runs batted in and 19 home runs, one more homer than he had all of 2018.
He broke Yogi Berra’s 63-year-old record for most home runs by a Yankees catcher before the All-Star break with his 19th home run on June 5th against the Blue Jays. The Kraken was able to do this with still a month until the All-Star break, proving how much his offense has improved since last year.
Sanchez also leads the American League in home runs with 19, putting himself ahead of the likes of Eddie Rosario of the Minnesota Twins, George Springer of the Houston Astros, Joey Gallo of the Texas Rangers, and Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros. Sanchez has this lead in home runs in significantly fewer games than those mentioned before. Sanchez has played 16 games less than Rosario, seven games less than Springer, nine fewer games than Gallo, and 19 fewer games than Bregman.
The Kraken has also been absolutely crushing baseballs. As of June 5th, Gary Sanchez has 11 home runs with an exit velocity of 110+ miles per hour this season. He also has barreled up 25 percent of his batted balls this season, and only Joey Gallo has a high rate this season, according to Lindsey Adler on Twitter.
In addition to this, Sanchez’s clutch hitting has improved. Gary has hit 12 of his 19 home runs on two-strike counts, which is the most in the MLB. Last year, only five of his 18 home runs had come on two-strike counts.
Gary Sanchez has improved his defense along with his offense. At the time of writing, Sanchez has only four passed balls, which is 14 less than 2018 in 42 fewer games. There have also been a lot less wild pitches that have been coming his way, as there has only been 10 so far this season, and there were 45 coming at him last year. He also has one more pickoff than he did last year, having two this year and one last year. Gary Sanchez is also second in the top five average pop time to second base this season, minimum five attempts. Gary has an average of 1.93 seconds, .08 seconds behind leader J.T. Realmuto, who has an average pop time of 1.85 seconds.
Gary Sanchez is back, and the rest of Major League Baseball needs to be worried when facing him.
Featured Image: Dan Hamilton - USA Today Sports