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Yankees 2020 season: The good, the bad and the ugly – Part 3

The 2020 season has come and gone. Award season is over and we’ve all had time to digest what occurred in the past seven months. Now we can breakdown the New York Yankees’ season into the classic “good, bad, and ugly” segment.

With the Yankees being a favorite to win their first World Series since 2009, an early exit at the hands of the rival Rays was cause for another disappointing season. We covered the good in part one, the bad in our most recent edition, and will conclude with the ugly in part three.

Gary Sanchez

I could honestly dedicate this whole post to Sanchez and not one Yankee fan would disagree with me. No everyday position player or pitcher had as ugly a season as Sanchez. FanGraphs gave Sanchez a -0.1 WAR in 2020, which is just below replacement level. However, they rated him above average on defense with a 2.2 rating, second on the team to only Gio Urshela. We know Sanchez has improved defensively, but not that much. Baseball-reference on the other hand saddled Sanchez with an ugly -0.5 WAR, as they were much less bullish on his defense. Going by the eye test, Yankee fans will tell you it doesn’t matter the stats, it was hard to watch Sanchez this season. Kyle Higashioka was a marked improvement over Sanchez in 2020, albeit in a small sample size. What’s worse is that 40-year-old journeyman Erik Kratz was a better option for the Yankees than Sanchez. Sanchez has been on the decline for a few seasons now and many fans are screaming for an upgrade such as J.T. Realmuto. If Sanchez struggles through 60 games to start 2021 I think he’s replaced no matter who the Yankees have on hand.

Gleyber Torres

Now Torres’ season wasn’t as bad as Sanchez’s by any means, but I legitimately thought he had a chance to be in the MVP race in the shortened season. Quad and hamstring injuries cost Torres 18 games, however, and his power and productivity were way down before the injury. Before the injury, Torres was slugging a putrid .295 with just one home run and six RBI in 25 games. Torres at least redeemed himself in the playoffs, collecting a hit in six of the seven games with a 1.262 OPS. I’m not worried about Torres going forward offensively, but it was a tough shortened season for someone many believed was a budding superstar. I’d be willing to double down on my prediction of him being an MVP candidate in 2021, however.

Being eliminated by the Rays

Look, most fans and media agree not winning the World Series meant 2020 was a failure for the Yankees. But what’s worse, to me, is having the rival Tampa Bay Rays stop you from your goal. I will make excuses for the Yankees that others won’t when it comes to this postseason. Yes, every team had the same obstacles to overcome, but it can be argued the Yankees drew the shortest straw. Between the bubble playoffs, no fans, and no days off, this was a system set up for failure. Playing at Yankee Stadium in front of arguably the loudest fans in baseball would’ve been a nice test for the Rays. But the Rays were able to overcome all the circumstances and stop the Yankees from their World Series dreams, and that was the ugliest part of the 2020 season.