As all the hype has been focused around the 2017 ROY and AL MVP runner up Aaron Judge, and new acquired slugger and 2017 NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton, there is one forgotten Yankee that everyone should keep their eye on and that’s Gary Sanchez. Gary broke on to the scene in 2016 with a remarkable audition by raking 20 home runs and driving in 42 runs over 53 games. In 2017 Gary suffered an early season injury to his bicep that caused him to miss most of the month of April, and yet he still had a sensational season by hitting 33 homers, (which is now a single season Yankee record by a catcher) and knocked in 90 runs. Early on scouts knew what they had in Sanchez as he displayed a great combination of bat speed and raw strength which can translate into big time power numbers.
Now we enter the 2018 season and the New York Yankees are one of the favorites to win the World Series and the spotlight has been shined on the two outfield sluggers putting Gary under the radar. This could very well be a nice bonus to Gary as he can continue to grow in the shadows of Stanton and Judge. As spring training has unfolded, long tenured Yankee veteran and anchor to the rotation, CC Sabathia was asked about the Yankee lineup with Mike Mazzeo of the NY Daily News. Sabathia said Sanchez is “probably the best hitter in the lineup.” Sabathia went further to compare the Yankee catcher to a “young Manny Ramirez” because of his power to all fields. Sabathia who will be entering his 18th season in MLB has seen and faced a plethora of power hitting sluggers, like David Ortiz, Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Beltre, Manny Machado, and specifically the aforementioned Manny Ramirez and thus, his comparison should not be taken lightly.
Currently this spring Gary is batting 400 with a 1.205 OPS and showing his power display with 2 booming home runs. Although it is early and there’s a few more weeks of spring left before opening day, Gary looks locked in and finding his swing which should be a nightmare for opposing pitchers come April. If Gary stays healthy we should expect a big season from him, but I believe we are in for an even bigger treat. I’ve been very high on the Sanchez train for a few years now and I think this might be his break out year as I fully expect Gary to have a bigger year than his two amigos in Judge and Stanton. A 40 home run, 100+ RBI season could be well within his grasp. And just to put things in perspective, that would be on par with the season Mike Piazza had in 1997 where he finished second in the NL MVP.