Gary Sanchez Is Clobbering Baseballs

Wingack

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In under 50 at-bats this year Gary Sanchez has 5 HRs, 11 RBIs and is OPSing over a 1.000. Now obviously, this is SSS, but this is a guy, who even though he has had his ups and downs in the minors, has been a highly touted offensive prospect ever since he was signed at 16. Girardi seems to believe in the kid, because he is hitting cleanup today. In addition, Girardi today hinted that Sanchez will be the primary catcher.

I know that he has improved behind the plate has well, but I honestly haven't watched him much when he has been back there. Anyone have any thoughts on his arm or framing?
 

jon abbey

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No cheapies for Sanchez so far, his five HRs in the last eight games have gone 426', 407', 403', 419' and today's was the longest so far at 437'.
 

jon abbey

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Also, to further answer your original question, Wingack, McCann had some quotes after the game today, this is the best one I've seen:

McCann on Gary Sanchez: "He's a future All-Star, year in and year out. There aren't many guys walking around with his talent."
 

Wingack

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The pieces seem to be there for him, but unfortunately catching prospects seem to fizzle more often than other positions. There is obviously a toll that is taken.
 

Sampo Gida

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It seems to me Sanchez is punishing off speed stuff, and pretty much anything left up in the zone or inside. I suspect he will see a lot more sinkers at the knees and low/outside sliders/cutters. A 4 seamer up in the zone would pretty much just be to get him to chase at the neck, and the inside stuff would be to get him off the plate.

He will face some pretty poor pitching against the Angels, but things should toughen up for him as teams develop more of an approach to use against him.

Montero had a similar hot start, but Sanchez looks more solid in a way I can't articulate.

Defensively, he has impressed me. He will definitely be a good player, and I think YS3 will make him a better hitter like Fenway makes some LHB'ers better hitters. Many of his pop ups to RF should be HR , Hasn't been any yet since pitchers are giving him stuff he can pull or drive to CF
 

jon abbey

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Four straight multi-hit games, 10-17 with 3 walks and a 2.265 OPS.
 

Wingack

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The walks are great to see from such a young player. Between that and the way he is hitting, I think is probably just seeing the ball really well right now. And that has led to Girardi really trusting him, batting him third.
 

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He snapped off a throw to 1B after a pitch bounced in the dirt and nailed an overaggressive Kole Calhoun. Arm looked really good.
 

jon abbey

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Yeah, that wasn't even close and it wasn't a perfect throw, his release is just so quick and he gets it there so fast, the throws don't need to be perfect.

Presumably he'll be named AL player of the week, whenever they do that.
 

jon abbey

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As expected, Sanchez is named the AL player of the week, only the second Yankee catcher ever to win that, and the first to not die in a midseason plane crash (yet, anyway):

 

Sampo Gida

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Last 2 games he is 1-8. The 1 hit was a HR of course on a hanging slider middle middle, but his next 8 PA they pounded him low and outside, 3 K and a BB (0-7). He should see a steady diet of that. Of course, pitchers miss location so he will still see some hittable pitches, but probably nothing like the last 10 days. OTOH, Baltimore pitching after the Mariners series should be interesting
 

jon abbey

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Well, before going 0 for his last 6 with a walk, he was 12 for his previous 19 with 5 HRs. I think it's a safe bet that his career trajectory will end up somewhere between those two. :)
 

terrynever

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It's also a safe bet that opposing teams are going to game plan for Sanchez and find out how he got pitched to in AAA ball where he hit .284 with 10 HRs in 305 PAs. It's easier to hit homers in the big leagues, of course. Sanchez has size and raw power. He seems patient at the plate, as opposed to Tyler Austin, who does not control the strike zone at all. I would venture to say Sanchez is a more polished hitter than Judge, because he has accumulated over 2650 PAs in nearly six minor league seasons. Judge has shown patience, too, and doesn't chase very often. He has 1500 PAs in the minors.
 

jon abbey

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Sanchez has thrown out 5 out of 7 guys trying to steal. The other two were against Betances, who doesn't really hold guys on and who has given up 17 SBs this year, 0 CS.
 

jon abbey

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First Yankee ever to have 8 HRs in his first 19 games, and those 19 include 2 last September in which he went a combined 0-2, plus the game in May where they brought him up just to DH against Chris Sale (thanks). So really it's 8 HRs in 16 games this time around, pretty amazing.
 

Sampo Gida

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It was interesting pitch selection last night. Perhaps missed location, I dunno. The 1st HR was on a slider that was middle middle. Gary is HOT, so he made Martin pay. Not all mistakes get hit for HR, but when you are hot as him, it's gone. The 2nd HR came on a high and inside 88 mph FB that was right where Gary likes them. Crushed.

His one out on the night came on a low outside pitch, which is really his only weakness and that should be known to MLB teams by now

Mariners also compounded the problem by trying to steal on him with someone not named Betances was on the mound, Mariners coaches are either living in a cave w/o access to mlb.tv or they have no advanced scouting to speak of

His streak reminds me of Alfonso Soriano in August of 2013. 7 HR in 9 games. Out of baseball by June next year. Of course, Gary is just starting his career and Soriano was at the tail end
 

DBB23

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Another bomb today in the 1st. Impressive art was he was way out in front of it and still put it in the upper deck 420ft! I try to control my enthusiasm after the debuts of Kevin Mass Shelly Duncan and the highly touted Hensley Bam Bam. Its getting real hard not to be excited about this 23 year old kid. The power is real and he seems to understand the strike zone. I would't jump the gun and buy out his arbitration and coupe of free agency years or anything but it may be time to accept that he will be a solid foundation piece. Question whats more likely hes just seeing the ball incredibly well and its an extended hot streak or hes a better version of Posada on both sides of the ball? Time will tell.
 

BigMike

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I have had Sanchez on a lonterm keeper league for 5 or 6 years, so it's good to see him develop like this. I don't think he is going to become Frank Thomas at the plate. But I do believe he will be a 250 hitter, who hits 20 HR a season. Not saying he wont be 290 with 30 HR some year, but I think he will probably be safe to look at around the 250 20 HR type.

I think where you should really be excited is the degree to which he has developed the defensive side of his game. For a long time he was a very poor defensive player who flashed some tools, particularly the 1.7-1.8 pop time to 2B.
But it now looks like he has a chance to really develop into an above average defensive player with the elite arm.

a 250 20 HR guy with plus defense is a very valuable player.
 

jon abbey

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I have had Sanchez on a lonterm keeper league for 5 or 6 years, so it's good to see him develop like this. I don't think he is going to become Frank Thomas at the plate. But I do believe he will be a 250 hitter, who hits 20 HR a season. Not saying he wont be 290 with 30 HR some year, but I think he will probably be safe to look at around the 250 20 HR type.

I think where you should really be excited is the degree to which he has developed the defensive side of his game. For a long time he was a very poor defensive player who flashed some tools, particularly the 1.7-1.8 pop time to 2B.
But it now looks like he has a chance to really develop into an above average defensive player with the elite arm.

a 250 20 HR guy with plus defense is a very valuable player.
The thing about this is, at least so far, he hits the ball so hard that you'd think his BABIP would be high enough so he'd have a better BA than that. His single the other day was the second hardest ball any Yankee hit all year, his double down the line today was pretty much right at the third baseman, but it was hit so hard, he had no chance.

But I totally agree about the defensive side of things, that was always the underlying issue with Montero, who looked like he might be a perennial DH even if he did hit like he was supposed to.
 

jon abbey

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Assuming he's done today, he hit a homer first time up, ripped a bullet double his third time up, and has been intentionally walked his last two appearances (the second time with NY already up 4-0, second and third, and NO ONE OUT). The last time a Yankee was IBBd twice in a game this early in his career was Joe Gordon in 1938.
 

jon abbey

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Pedro on MLBN right now comparing his swing to Pujols and Victor Martinez.
 

jon abbey

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Sempo, I hope you saw his second AB tonight, the one that ended with a double. Gallardo pitched him really well, trying to get him fish low or outside, and finally tried to get him on something offspeed on the outside corner at 3-2. Sanchez went with it, and shot a double into the RF corner.
 

Sampo Gida

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Sempo, I hope you saw his second AB tonight, the one that ended with a double. Gallardo pitched him really well, trying to get him fish low or outside, and finally tried to get him on something offspeed on the outside corner at 3-2. Sanchez went with it, and shot a double into the RF corner.
I did see that and it was impressive piece of hitting by Sanchez. However, I think that's all you can do with him at this point. At least that keeps him in the park. Now if he can hit that stuff into the short porch, pitchers are truly fucked
 

jon abbey

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His first opposite field one, just off the top of the wall. Bundy had been pitching him well, but he got hold of a high fastball and bang.
 

Sampo Gida

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Bundy threw what looked to be an outside pitch, but it was high and not low. Can't throw any high pitches to Gary since he can elevate them and he has the power to go opposite field in that bandbox. This was his first YS3 special. Pitchers are going to have to keep the ball at the knees to keep him in the park, and preferably outside.

That said, Garys minor league numbers don't suggest this kind of performance. A lot of people were asking the same questions about Trevor Story that are asking them again with Gary Sanchez.

Story was a guy who hit 10 HR in April which matched his minor league total for HR in all of 2015 (over 500 AB) , almost half his AB coming in the hitter friendly PCL. In 2016, he hit 4 of his first 10 HR at Coors, but it is April so the cold takes away some of the altitude effects

Since April, his HR rate stabilized and he hit 17 HR in 280 AB. Still well above his minor league rate, but no Babe Ruth

Gary is of course a guy known to have some power, but he only had 10 HR in 285 AB in Scranton. Now he has 11 HR in only 80 something AB in MLB. Todays HR was his first YS3 special, almost all of his HR have been 400+ ft blasts

We have also seen similar surprises in terms of power from Travis Shaw and Greg Bird last year, power numbers that surpassed their minor league production the same year.

One theory is the MLB ball is juiced relative to the minor league ball. This is why some guys who hit a lot of fly balls increase their HR production when jumping to MLB, at least those who make contact do. Gary, like Story will have some regression in their HR rate, but the MLB ball will keep their power numbers elevated.

Here is the link to the report showing the differences in the ball. Its a bit dated, but I see no evidence the balls are the same now.

http://baseball.physics.illinois.edu/UML2000.pdf

"The Major League balls are manufactured in Costa Rica and have a compressed corksphere per the specifications. The Minor League balls are manufactured in China and have a cork center as specified in “1996 Minor League Baseball Proposal”. This cork center is the likely source for the decrease in performance, which results in a comparable Minor League ball hit of 391.8 ft under the same conditions as the Major League balls. Small samples of 1998 MLB baseballs were also tested. The 1998 MLB baseball had a comparable batted-ball distance of 400.5 ft.

This article supports the theory as well

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/are-juiced-balls-the-new-steroids/
 

bosox79

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It's easier to hit homeruns in the Majors and Sanchez's calling card has always been his power. He got on the map in the first place for hitting 8 hrs as a 17 year old in 196 PA. His ISO in the minors is close to .200 and he is only 23. He could just be growing into his power more. Obviously he won't have an ISO of .500 all year long though.
 

BigMike

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If it really is easier to hit homers in the majors, pretty curious what kind of asset Kyle Higashioka has turned himself into this year. He is 26 and has always been a top defensive catcher, but tonight he hit his 20th HR in AA/AAA combined (339 ABs).

http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?sid=milb&player_id=543309#/career/R/hitting/2016/ALL
Obviously I am far more willing to write off Higashioka as a fluke than Sanchez. He has quite literally shown nothing prior to this season to suggest this was possible. Maybe it will be the new norm for him, but I;m not buying.

Sanchez on the other hand has been at least offensively a tools scouts dream since signing. He has had 70+ power for years, and honestly if anything given commitment issues and other things he had some really underachieving seasons
 

jon abbey

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Sure, I agree with that, and maybe Higashioka won't amount to much, but he has been killing it all year. He hasn't been healthy very often before this season, he missed almost all of 2013 and 2014, here's a piece from a few days ago where he even seems a bit surprised, but there are reasons:

http://www.nj.com/yankees/index.ssf/2016/08/is_yankees_prospect_kyle_higashiokas_power_for_rea.html

At the least he makes it even easier to move McCann this winter, Sanchez/Romine and Kyle H in AAA is nice depth.
 

jon abbey

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Whoa, Sanchez already has five of the top ten fastest throws to second on steal attempts in the majors, his average velocity is #1 among the 70 catchers with at least 5 SB attempts against.

Hardest throws to second base on steal attempt, catchers, 2016

1. 89.3 mph -- Christian Bethancourt, Aug. 22
2. 88.3 mph -- Bethancourt, July 20
3. (tie) 87.8 mph -- Sanchez, Aug. 5 / Sanchez, Aug. 27 / Cameron Rupp, June 2
6. (tie) 87.4 mph -- Sanchez, Aug. 24 / Martin Maldonado, Apr. 14
8. (tie) 87.2 mph -- Sanchez, Aug. 11 / Bethancourt, July 23
10. 87.0 mph -- Sanchez, Aug. 22
MLB average: 79.1 mph

"Unsurprisingly, of the 70 catchers with at least five attempts to stop stolen bases at second, Sanchez' average arm strength of 87.4 mph is the best, topping Bethancourt's 86.5 mph and Drew Butera's 84.9 mph."

http://m.yankees.mlb.com/news/article/198268062/gary-sanchez-has-elite-throwing-arm-strength/
 

Valek123

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Seems to have cooled off, what's changing for him for those watching the games? Is he being pitched around non-stop, seeing more breaking balls? Incredible start to a career irregardless, he's been a HR machine.
 

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jon abbey

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Sanchez broke out of his slump briefly by hitting one dead center into Monument Park, then he had this insane pickoff to bail Pineda out of a tough inning. From his knees!!

 

BigMike

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It is absolutely amazing that until very recently a large part of the baseball world didn't think he'd ever be able to handle the position at the major league level. That arm is just insane