Gary Sanchez: He Is What He Is – No More, No Less

Gary Sanchez, Yankees Enigma (Photo: Sports Illustrated)

What do you do with a player who looks like Babe Ruth one day and Joe Schmo the next? Exactly what the Yankees are doing…

Every team has a Gary Sanchez, a player so easy to kick around because of this deficiency or maybe another one…the Mets have Yoenis Cespedes, the Yankees have Jacoby Ellsbury, the Cincinnati Reds are stuck with Matt Kemp, and the Royals have Homer Bailey, who went 1-14 for the Reds last season.

Pin ’em up. Throw darts – you can’t miss.

Gary Sanchez currently leads the American League with six home runs, three of which came in Sunday’s game against the Orioles. Sanchez led the league in passed balls as a catcher last year. This year he has none to date, but he’s made up for that by leading the league with four throwing errors, and he’s been unable to cut down a runner attempting to steal a base.

And before we go ga-ga about no passed balls this year, remember the Yankees are missing Luis Severino and his filthy slider in the rotation, the one that led to the awful stare-down in the dugout between Gary Sanchez and then manager, Joe Girardi.

Gary Sanchez & The Yankees – A Love Affair

Even so, the current Yankees brass, top on down, has been adamant and vocal regarding their faith in Sanchez. Vindication comes on a day like this past Sunday, forgiveness comes on days when he doesn’t quite measure up to the team’s expectations.

Here’s Yankees manager, Aaron Boone, following Sunday’s game:

“He’s a great player that is still growing, and it’s our job to help him continue to reach his peak in every facet of the game,” said manager Aaron Boone on Sunday. “He’s making strides in a lot of areas of the game. We know we’ve got a special talent on our hands and a guy that impacts the game, period.”Matt Kelly,

So, maybe it’s time to reckon with the fact that Gary Sanchez isn’t Bill Dickey, who played with the Yankees for 19 seasons that led to a plaque in Cooperstown. But Sanchez is also not Rick Dempsey, whose career batting average was only .233 with a .347 slugging percentage. Dempsey was pretty good defensively but was error-prone from 1977 to 1980. He also allowed the second-most stolen bases in the AL from 1985 to 1986 (

Aaron Boone & Gary Sanchez Connect (Photo:
Aaron Boone & Gary Sanchez Connect (Photo:

Gary Sanchez can, and hopefully will continue to work on honing his craft. But his presence in the Yankees lineup will likely prevail as his major contribution to the team on a day to day basis. Pitchers wake up when they see Sanchez in the on-deck circle, and in that way, he’s a game-changer – even when he’s not.

Yankees fans will continue to cringe when Gary Sanchez gets picked off a base as he’s done three times this season, wondering perhaps on what planet he was on at the time. But then comes that screaming laser hit into the left-field stands – and what are you supposed to think?

Gary Sanchez – Let It Be

I’m thinking (as an unrelenting critic) it’s time to cease the barrage against Gary Sanchez, despite the fact he often exposes himself as an easy target. To use the vernacular, he is what he is and he ain’t what he ain’t.

The Yankees roll into Houston to face Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole back to back in a three-game series which follows the “softball” tosses from the Orioles over the weekend. The entire Yankees lineup will notice the difference.

So what will our judgment be if Gary Sanchez takes an O-Fer the first two games and makes another costly throwing error, only to be followed by a two home-run explosion that nets the rubber game of the series?

Perhaps, that is our lot as Yankees fans, as well as the team brass. Gary Sanchez is what he is and he ain’t what he ain’t…and that’s that.

Written by Steve Contursi, Editor, Reflections On Baseball
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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.

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