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Friday, September 07, 2018

What Gary Sanchez can improve | 09/07/2018 | MLB.com

The last couple of days on MLB Network radio Eduardo Pérez has been putting a lot of blame for Gary Sanchez’s defensive problems on the current Yankees coaching staff. Although they might deserve some blame, I’d say the lions share of the responsibility falls on Gary Sanchez.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 07, 2018 at 10:23 AM | 21 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: catching, gary sanchez

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   1. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: September 07, 2018 at 11:11 AM (#5740466)
Is there blame to be had or is he just really bad at catching the baseball? This feels like trying to decide whether we should blame the Royals' hitting coach or Alcides Escobar for his performance. At some point the question isn't "how can he improve" it's "how can we maximize his strengths and not have to deal with the weaknesses?" Obviously he can hit and he's got a strong arm so maybe you just live with the PB/WP but I think trying to assign blame is pointless, he just isn't good at catching a baseball.
   2. , Posted: September 07, 2018 at 11:23 AM (#5740477)
Didn't he used to be better, though? If a MLBer shows up and gets worse this quickly at an important skill, it's either injury (completely possible) or coaches ####### him up.

Giradi had some interesting thoughts that made sense to me: he's in a bad crouch and he kind of hinted it's because his knees hurt and the (bad) crouch he's in is more comfortable than the crouch he should be in.
   3. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: September 07, 2018 at 11:31 AM (#5740481)
His PB per Inning was about the same in the minors as it is in MLB.

His rookie PB/WP per inning as a rookie were slightly better than now. He has always been bad at PB/WP.

His caught stealing ptg was good as a rookie and has degraded to league average.
   4. Greg K Posted: September 07, 2018 at 11:37 AM (#5740483)
Not to hi-jack the discussion, but on the topic of young catchers - Reese McGuire caught his first MLB game last night. He has the reputation of being a no-bat/all-glove prospect, and he did throw out Jose Ramirez trying to steal second.

He looked kind of awkward doing so as McGuire threw from his knees. But the Jays commentators mentioned that McGuire prefers to throw that way. Was Pat Tabler just making #### up? (entirely possible)

mlb.com video of the play.
   5. SoSH U at work Posted: September 07, 2018 at 11:49 AM (#5740489)
He looked kind of awkward doing so as McGuire threw from his knees. But the Jays commentators mentioned that McGuire prefers to throw that way. Was Pat Tabler just making #### up? (entirely possible)


Honestly, I like it. It is unusual, but he should be much quicker on the release. And he doesn't throw straight from his knees, but more off the left knee while dragging the right hip through, which would help preserve some of the zip on the throw.
   6. Tom Nawrocki Posted: September 07, 2018 at 11:56 AM (#5740494)
One other way Sanchez could improve is to get his batting average off the interstate.

The Rockies had a similar player a few years ago, Wilin Rosario, who came up and had a big rookie year, hitting 28 homers, but he could just not catch the ball. They worked with him on it, but he never really improved behind the plate, and meanwhile the bat just kind of dwindled away. They eventually moved him to first, but by that time, he wasn't hitting enough to justify that position. Earl Williams, of course, is kind of the archetype of this.

Catching is just really hard, physically and mentally. Some guys can't do it, and they devote so much energy to improving, they lose the other parts of their game. The best thing for the Yankees, I think, would be to move Sanchez to first and see if he can recover the bat he once had.
   7. Greg K Posted: September 07, 2018 at 12:07 PM (#5740503)
The Rockies had a similar player a few years ago, Wilin Rosario, who came up and had a big rookie year, hitting 28 homers, but he could just not catch the ball. They worked with him on it, but he never really improved behind the plate, and meanwhile the bat just kind of dwindled away. They eventually moved him to first, but by that time, he wasn't hitting enough to justify that position. Earl Williams, of course, is kind of the archetype of this.

The Jays did that with Carlos Delgado. Not catching did a great job of improving him as player.
   8. Tom Nawrocki Posted: September 07, 2018 at 12:09 PM (#5740506)
Right. Dale Murphy is another good example.
   9. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 07, 2018 at 12:10 PM (#5740507)
Honestly, I like it. It is unusual, but he should be much quicker on the release. And he doesn't throw straight from his knees, but more off the left knee while dragging the right hip through, which would help preserve some of the zip on the throw.
Looks like a rotator cuff/labrum problem waiting to happen.
   10. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 07, 2018 at 12:21 PM (#5740512)
Dale Murphy is another good example.


If you want to go way back, Jimmie Foxx - although both Connie Mack and Joe Cronin made attempts to turn him back into a catcher in the prime of his career.
   11. Greg Pope Posted: September 07, 2018 at 01:07 PM (#5740545)
Honestly, I like it. It is unusual, but he should be much quicker on the release.

Sample size of one, of course, but that throw in the video really wasn't very good. It was pretty far off line and it was really the SS that made the play.
   12. Jim Furtado Posted: September 07, 2018 at 01:30 PM (#5740558)
A few people have said he has the athletic ability to catch but needs to work on technique. That's different than not having the talent. If he's not self-motivated enough to consistently work to improve his technique, whatever physical ability he has is irrelevant. If the work ethic isn't there on defense, though, moving him to another position won't really be much of an option. Of course, he'll have to hit a hell of a lot better than he's doing right now to have value to a team.
   13. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: September 07, 2018 at 01:37 PM (#5740565)
12 - I've seen that reported but how true is it? That seems like the kind of thing organizations say all the time about guys who suck. I think Alex Cora said earlier this year that Rafael Devers could be a Gold Glover given time. I'm all for managers and organizations pumping their guys up but I don't have to believe it.
   14. Zonk qualifies as an invasive species Posted: September 07, 2018 at 03:15 PM (#5740604)
I have to admit that I always find it amusing when people discuss a catcher's problems catching the baseball :-)

You'd think the name of the position would imply the need to be adept at it.
   15. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 07, 2018 at 03:54 PM (#5740630)
You'd think the name of the position would imply the need to be adept at it.
I mean, they call Tyler Chatwood a pitcher...
   16. Zonk qualifies as an invasive species Posted: September 07, 2018 at 04:16 PM (#5740642)
I mean, they call Tyler Chatwood a pitcher...


Well, technically, he unfailingly does release the ball and hurl it... somewhere.. every time he tries.

BTW - not being a regular AL watcher, I am shocked to see how awful his numbers are. I was reading #6 and thinking "Wilin Rosario? Come on..." but yikes - 186/283/- 411 though.

Has he been hurt? Or is it really that bad that he's essentially splitting time with Austin Romine?
   17. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 07, 2018 at 04:21 PM (#5740645)
Well, technically, he unfailingly does release the ball and hurl it... somewhere.. every time he tries.
Oh, I'd say he releases and hurls it quite failingly.
   18. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: September 07, 2018 at 04:24 PM (#5740650)
He's been hurt for awhile but he was bad before that. I think a lot of it is an illusion, very very low BABIP (sub-.200 I think) and actually better K/BB rates than last year. I'd bet money on a big bounceback next year if not sooner.
   19. Randomly Fluctuating Defensive Metric Posted: September 08, 2018 at 12:53 PM (#5740897)
He's been hurt for awhile but he was bad before that. I think a lot of it is an illusion, very very low BABIP (sub-.200 I think) and actually better K/BB rates than last year. I'd bet money on a big bounceback next year if not sooner.


Sanchez has made an absurd amount of hard contact for outs, but he also does pull the ball on the ground far too much to the left side of the infield. It may not have been such poison to his batting average ten years ago, but at this point, with the shifting, unless he starts hitting the ball more consistently in the air, he will fall way short of his ceiling as an offensive player. I think the fix is relatively straightforward. Sanchez has a huge leg-kick that could be seriously trimmed down to emphasize pitch recognition. I'm a Yankees fan so I've seen most of Sanchez's season. As you said, the atrociousness of the performance is somewhat illusionary. But the ceiling of this performance (hitting lunging grounders, albeit hard grounders, but lunging grounders) on most outside pitches is still far lower than what he's capable of doing. For that reason I'd like him to make some changes to his approach for next year.

Of course the Yankees would be insane to give up on Sanchez. (and they won't) His combination of raw power and bat to ball skills are a rare skill set for a guy who can legitimately catch. (he's not good at blocking balls, quite good at throwing, OK at framing. All the wild pitches heading to the backstop are an embarrassing visage, but his overall defensive game is passable. Watch him catch a guy with plus command like Tanaka and his deficiencies are barely noticeable)
   20. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: September 08, 2018 at 04:10 PM (#5740945)
How does a guy who sucks at catching the ball become a MLB catcher? He must have stunk at being a catcher in the minors, too. He didn't all of a sudden become this bad. He must be a complete oaf if they haven't tried to convert him to 1B by now. Greg Bird isn't exactly Joey Votto or Paul Goldschmidt.

It's kind of poetic justice. All the Yankees fans who ####### about David Ortiz not being a "real" baseball player because all he did was hit now have such a guy on their team!
   21. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: September 08, 2018 at 04:43 PM (#5740954)
I'd love Sanchez on the Red Sox. I'd burn all his fielding gloves. I'd DH him for the next 10 years, minimum.

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