Gary Sanchez is not the same player as last year. I want to raise my metaphorical glass and give him a cheers. *Cheers Gary.* I also want to personally toast all of us who believed Gary would tear the league up this year. *A toast to all of us who were right and should rub it in.*
There were a lot of people who took the easy route and dumped on Gary Sanchez because of 2018. They called him a fluke, fat, lazy, a slob, and whatever other way you can insult a guy. They were relentless and ignored the obvious explanation of his hamstring injury and bum shoulder.
The surgery Gary Sánchez will get is a shoulder debridement, and Brian Cashman said he’d been given a cortisone injection toward the end of 2017 and twice in 2018. They could have continued to try to manage it “conservatively” but they are choosing to “get ahead of it.”
This is why when Gary Sanchez mashes balls I get great joy out of it. For one, he’s helping the Yankees win. That’s the most important. Also though, it’s great to see that anyone who thought they had a valuable opinion about trading Gary for J.T. Realmuto wasted their breathe. (Some would say I am petty. Some would be correct in their assessment of me.) When a group of people who don’t normally have anything of substance to say get shut down the way they have this season, it really makes you feel like there is a cosmic justice to the universe.
The Gary haters have gone away.
The biggest thing difference in Gary’s game right now from 2018 is his return to power. With a clean bill of health, he is back to being one of the Gods of Destruction in the Bronx. Here’s where he ranks within the league.
His Exit Velocity is in the 99th percentile, his Expected Weighted On Base Average (xwOBA) is in the 98th percentile, his Expected Slugging (xSLG) is in the 100th percentile, his Hard Hit % is in the 95th percentile, and his Expected Batting Average (xBA) is in the 81st percentile. His sprint speed is pretty bad and I’m sure it’ll come off as him not hustling, but whatever. I don’t need Gary to bust down the line.
I need Gary to hit balls so hard, he’s shooting lasers across the field. The result should be severed limbs.
That time Jamie Lannister tried fielding one of Gary’s hits…
It’s crazy how much power Gary Sanchez has gotten back now that he’s healthy. In 2018 he had a Hard Hit % of 36% and this year it’s at 51%. (That kind of spike used to be induced medically.) It’s actually the most power Gary has ever exhibited. In 2016 he had a 42% Hard Hit % and in 2017 it was 37%. Everyone remembers that 2016 for Gary but this year, he’s even more of an animal.
The funny thing about looking at this chart is that, in 2018, his worst year, he was exactly at league average. Terrible for Gary Sanchez is essentially the bare minimum for everyone else.
Another interesting thing to look in to is Gary’s Ground Ball %. When Gary was struggling between his bum shoulder and hammy in 2018, it seemed like he was a rally killer. There would be a man on first and second with one outs and with Gary up, he’d make contact but it’d slowly dribble to the second basemen. Easy double play and the inning was over.
Last year it seemed most of his hard hit balls were on the ground, which don’t usually lead to good things. In 2018 he had a 43% GB% and now, this year, a year where he’s slugging well over .600+, his GB% is a meager 18%. He essentially cut it in half.
Another thing that has spiked in Gary’s game is his Line Drive %. Last year he was well below average. The average LD% in the majors was 21% and and he was at 14%. A healthier Gary is a tick above league average with 22%. He’s pretty much where he was at in 2017 (21%) and well above where he was in 2016 (16%).
When you look at where Gary ranks in terms of average exit velocity, he is of course top tier. He joins teammate Aaron Judge in the top 5. (So yeah, Judge is still the king even when he’s not there. Never forget this lesson.)
The important thing to take away from all this is that it would have been a bad idea to trade Gary Sanchez for J.T. Realmuto. What would’ve happened if the Yankees did this is that they would’ve thrown away a young controllable player for a guy who’s better defensively but also has a lesser bat. The Yankees would also have to pay Realmuto next year. Another thing that would’ve happened is that, while Gary is out mashing a beaten and battered Jacob deGrom in his new Marlins uniform, everything Realmuto does is put under a microscope.
Everyone would be watching Gary Sanchez from afar and think what about what could have been if they didn’t make such a stupid trade. In the end, those people that hate Gary now would hate Realmuto as well as Brian Cashman. (Granted this was the deal they wanted in the first place.)
We’re in a good place with those people though. They’ve been sent somewhere beyond the wall. I hear it’s cold there. That’s perfect for them.