The New York Yankees have without a doubt placed themselves in position to win the World Series in 2018. With a core that features the likes of Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, the Yankees will be dangerous. But the one player many have forgotten about, according to Yanks Go Yard, is catcher Gary Sanchez.
In 2017, the season revolved around Judge and his powerful bat. In 2018, it’s all about Stanton and what he can bring to the table. However, before Judge and Stanton came along, Sanchez was the kid with the golden bat. As a rookie, after being called up in 2016, Sanchez would cement his own spot in Yankees’ lore with 20 home runs and 42 RBI’s in just 53 games. It was clear that the Yankees had something special on their hands with Sanchez.
In 2017, with Judge taking center stage, Sanchez took heat for his defense behind the plate. Sanchez had a league-leading 16 passed balls but as Michael Mastroianni also reflects on what may have caused those as well. He states that the Yankees are one of the teams that throw a ton of breaking balls which causes a lot of pitches in the dirt which leads to balls being passed. Yes, Sanchez could do a better job, but if that’s his main flaw, the Yankees can live with that.
But still, as far as his plate appearances go, Sanchez smashed 33 home runs and drove in 90 runs in 122 games last season. Those numbers alone coupled with Stanton and Judge in the 2018 lineup could spell doom for opposing pitchers where Sanchez is concerned. If Stanton is indeed going to bat leadoff at times for the Yankees, that means that Sanchez could hit cleanup and that will give him a chance to top 115 RBI’s in 2018.
With Judge and Stanton hitting before him, pitchers cannot afford to give Sanchez free passes. If he continues to swing for the fences as he has in his time in the majors, Sanchez will easily crush his career-high of 33 home runs. While MVP votes will likely go to a player on a winning team, RBI’s, home runs, defense and small intangibles will be taken into consideration. And that is why Sanchez will be in the running with his teammates.
Judge is expected to hit 50 home runs with 100+ runs batted in and the same goes for the 2017 NL MVP Stanton. But Sanchez, at 24-years-old, could very well challenge them for top honors in the American League. The one thing that may hold him back is that as a catcher, he won’t get to play as much as Stanton and Judge unless he’s used as a DH on his off days or first base.
Not only is the future bright for the Yankees as a team, 2018 could end up being the year of the underdog for Gary Sanchez in his quest for AL MVP.