Gary Sánchez is struggling out of the gate. He is 0-12 with 8 strikeouts in the new season and he’s looked pretty miserable at the plate, even as he’s stolen a few strikes below the zone. There is no getting around it: he has been bad and difficult to watch.
As always, when Gary is struggling, he looks the part. He swings at pitches he shouldn’t and isn’t close to hitting pitches he should hit. This, coupled with an obsession with passed balls, makes Gary a very controversial player in the Yankee fandom. This is stupid, because Gary is one of baseball’s best catchers. It is also stupid because the Yankees have played just four games in 2020. Of those, Gary has started three and pinch-hit in one.
With this in mind, I wanted to put together a few facts about Gary Sánchez’s place among catchers from 2016 through the end of 2019. Do when them what you will:
- His 105 home runs are the most among all MLB catchers. Yasmani Grandal’s 101 are second, despite the fact Grandal has played in 178 more games than Sánchez. Salvador Pérez is in third place with 78, despite playing in 29 more games than the Kraken.
- Gary’s 121 wRC+ since the start of 2016 is the highest among all Major League catchers.
- His .514 slugging percentage is .39 points higher than the catcher in second place (Evan Gattis).
- Gary’s .269 isolated power is also .39 points higher than the catcher in second place (Evan Gattis, again).
- Sánchez’s .840 OPS is tops in baseball by .17 points higher than second place, 29 points higher than third place, 24 points higher than fourth place, and 42 points higher than fifth place.
- His .352 wOBA is also tops in baseball. His .387 expected wOBA is – stop me if you’ve heard this before – the highest in baseball.
- Among all catchers since 2016, Gary’s 91.3 mph average exit velocity is the highest in the league. It is also 31st highest out of all 360 qualified players, regardless of position.
- His 493-foot home run in August 2017 traveled 17 feet further than next closest non-Gary catcher. He has also hit a ball 481 feet. That looks like this.
- His 11.6 fWAR ranks 5th out of the group despite playing in 131 fewer games than all but one catcher (Tyler Flowers) ahead of him.
- Despite all this, his .264 BABIP ranks 30th out of 34 qualified catchers. This suggests, in fact, that he’s been unlucky.
Again, it is true that Gary Sánchez has been bad so far in 2020. Nobody, not even his biggest fan, would deny that. However, if I’m choosing between three games (and one extra at-bat) or four plus years of work, I know which choice I am making. Do you?