It has been another rough week for the Yankees as the same problems persisted in a 2-5 homestand against the Rays and Red Sox.
The biggest problem has been the lack of offense. Because of this I am going to address something that has bothered me about this team for a while but I have not voiced it.
With everything that is going on with this team Gary Sánchez should catch Gerrit Cole.
I wrote a piece about why fans should give Gary Sánchez a chance in 2021 before the season started. Sánchez came out and struggled in April and deservedly lost some playing time to Kyle Higashioka. Ever since the calendar turned to May Sánchez has been a good hitter and in the last couple of weeks he is the hottest hitter on the Yankees.
Let’s quickly go over what is going right for Sánchez. In April he still had that high leg kick that was giving him trouble, and it is still there but much less exaggerated which has probably contributed to his better results as of late. He is also currently walking at a 13.1% clip which would be a career high and has lowered his strikeout rate to 28.6% from the 36% it was in 2020. So Sánchez is showing better plate discipline.
Sánchez is also having better luck with BABIP this year. It was .159 in 2020 and is currently at .273 in 2021. Sánchez also grades out as above average to great in categories such as average exit velocity, barrel percentage and hard hit percentage according to Baseball Savant. So he is hitting the ball hard and hitting the ball at a good profile.
To bring it full circle Sánchez has posted a 123 wRC+ since May. He has been a productive hitter for over a month. Higashioka has a 27 wRC+ in that same span of time.
Bringing it back to Cole. It is no secret that the main reason for the Yankees recent struggles has been the offense. The lack of run support that Cole has gotten this year has also been a topic of discussion.
I would not be opposed to Higashioka being his personal catcher if the offense was living up to expectations. But the fact is right now that it is not. So taking the better hitting catcher out of the lineup every time your ace pitches who does not get much run support pitches is probably not the greatest strategy to win games at the current moment.
Down the line if the Yankees offense picks up the slack then I would be fine with Higashioka being the personal catcher for Cole. But right now the Yankees need to put their best lineup out there every day. Right now the best lineup has Sánchez penciled in at catcher.
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