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What on earth happened to Gary Sánchez? [2020 Season Review]

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What a nightmare. Not only did Gary Sánchez have the worst season of his career, but he was also one of the worst players in the league in 2020’s 60 game sprint. His once potent bat vanished and his catching left a lot to be desired. By postseason’s end, he wasn’t even number one on the depth chart. Let’s try to sort out the mess that was Gary’s disappointing campaign.

Power, but almost nothing else offensively

There’s simply no way to sugar coat a batting line of .147/.253/.365 (69 wRC+). That’s what Sánchez did in 178 plate appearances this season. After showing so much potency with the bat in 2016, 2017, and even last year, this is now two out of the last three years where Gary has been downright bad offensively. Remember, he hit under the Mendoza line in 2018 as well, though he did muster a 91 wRC+ that season.

As dreadful as Sánchez was this season, he still hit for power and drew a decent amount of free passes. Sánchez hit 10 homers, posted a .218 isolated power, and recorded a 10.1 percent walk rate. The problem? He struck out 36 percent of plate appearances and had a .159 BABIP. Just terrible.

News & Notes: Winter league participants, coaches poached, and more

Got a quick news roundup as Game 6 gets started. Go Dodgers, right? Without further ado:

Miguel Andújar will play winter ball and Gary Sánchez could join him

No shock that Andújar will play ball in the Dominican Republic this winter. He’s got just 114 plate appearances dating back to 2019 as a result of shoulder surgery, a pandemic shortened season, and Gio Urshela in his way.

Sánchez might follow in December. Nothing is set in stone there yet. He doesn’t need the workload to make up for lost time like Miggy, but if he does wind up playing, hopefully he can figure out what went wrong in 2020.

Minor league free agency and the 40-man roster

I missed something when I put together the offseason calendar a couple of weeks ago: minor league free agency. Big whoop, I know. Still, the Yankees have a number of minor league free agents (as does every team), but they might actually add one or two of them to the 40-man roster before they file for free agency. Here’s a non-wholly inclusive list of Yankees minor leaguers eligible for free agency:

PlayerPositionHighest LevelAlt Site
Domingo AcevedoRHPAAAYes
Angel AguilarINFAANo
Daniel AlvarezRHPAAAYes
Kellin DeglanCAAANo
Chris Gittens1B/DHAAANo
Nick GreenRHPAAANo
Welfrin MateoIFAANo
Thomas MiloneOFAANo
Leonardo MolinaOFA+No
Eduardo NavasCAANo
Anderson SeverinoLHPAAANo

You may be familiar with some of these players, but these aren’t exactly exciting names. So, why am I bringing this up now, when the big fish free agents (i.e. DJ LeMahieu) are about to file in the coming days? Mainly, I suspect that teams are going to be a tad more aggressive in handing out 40-man spots to minor league free agents this year. Especially with all of the claims of significant financial losses around the league. So, if the Yankees really like one of these individuals, they will likely add them to the roster shortly to prevent the other 29 teams from calling.

Zack Britton remains a stable force [2020 Season Review]

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Sinkerball extraordinaire Zack Britton was excellent in relief in 2020. Whether or not it’s his last season in pinstripes going forward is up in the air, though the Yankees would be much better with him than without him.

Still dominant, even without the strikeouts

Another season, another sub-2 ERA. A shortened year, sure, but a 1.89 ERA is nothing to sneeze at across 19 innings. Dating back to last season, the lefty has a 1.90 ERA in just over 80 frames, which is 10th-best in MLB. He’s not a FIP darling because of low strikeout totals, but it’s pretty safe to say that you can throw FIP out the window in Britton’s case. A 71.7 percent ground ball rate and no homers allowed made it pretty easy to forget about a below average 21.1 percent strikeout percentage.

League-wide strikeout rate was 23.4 percent in the regular season and even higher among relievers (24.1 percent). Britton used to be able to rack up Ks like that in Baltimore, particularly from 2014 through 2016 (27.1 percent). There are a number of possibilities for a lower strikeout rate, including age, injuries, and velocity decline. He still throws his sinker exceptionally hard (94.8 MPH), but that’s down from 96.9 MPH in 2016.

News & Notes: Gold glove finalists, Didi downplays potential return, Jasson Dominguez, Marcus Stroman

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It’s been a pretty quiet week for the Yankees, but that’s to be expected. Teams aren’t supposed to make noise during the World Series, which is supposed to be front and center in the baseball world right now. Speaking of, the Rays and Dodgers are even at one a piece in the series ahead of tonight’s Game 3.

Even though the team has been quiet, there are a few things worth relaying on the Yankees’ front. Here’s the rundown:

Gio Urshela and Clint Frazier are Gold Glove Award finalists

Brett Gardner was the last Yankee to win a Gold Glove (2016). That brief drought could end this year if one of Gio Urshela and Clint Frazier beat out the other two finalists at their positions. The winners will be named on November 3rd.

It’s important to note that as a result of regionalized schedules this season, there is no voting on these awards in 2020. Rather, statistics alone will determine the winner. It’s not clear what those metrics used to decide are, though.

At third base, Urshela is up against Isiah Kiner-Falefa (Rangers) and Yoan Moncada (White Sox). Here’s a statistical comparison of the three:

PlayerDRSUZROAA
Urshela+6+5.4-1
Kiner-Falefa+8+1.1+4
Moncada-1+3.5+3

Only Kiner-Falefa ranks positively per Defensive Runs Saved, Ultimate Zone Rating, and Oats Above Average. I guess that makes him the favorite? I don’t know.

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