It’s easy for some concerns to fall by the wayside if you’re supporting the New York Yankees.
Despite a 2-0 loss on Sunday night to the crosstown rival Mets, which was the first time they were shut out all season, the Yankees still sit in first place in the AL East with a 42-19 record. And while the team is in need of some help in the starting rotation, which will likely be addressed before this summer’s trade deadline, there are issues arising with star catcher Gary Sanchez.
The 25-year-old backstop who quickly developed into the best hitting catcher in baseball has been unable to find any sort of consistent success at the plate in 2018.
The power is there on paper with 12 home runs in 55 games, which puts him on pace for just under 30 round-trippers this year, but it’s his average that’s the been the real problem.
An 0-for-4 on Sunday night dropped Sanchez’s average to .190 on the season as he continues a horrific slump that has seen him collect just four hits in his last 51 at-bats. That’s a .075 average in 15 games.
He hasn’t hit a home run since May 19 and has just eight walks compared to 19 strikeouts since then.
In the meantime, the Yankees have a back-up catcher in Austin Romine who is hitting .344 with four home runs and 19 RBI in 22 games, yet hasn’t appeared in a game since Jun. 6.
Sanchez though has started 16 of New York’s last 18 games with seemingly no repercussions from his slump. One would think that manager Aaron Boone would give his slumping star a few nights off to try and get his swing right, but that probably won’t be the case as he continues to put his trust in Sanchez.
“I know I have beaten this drum a lot with him but he is such a natural hitter. I think he is in one of those stretches that is a little fluky, that every great hitter has [gone through] at some point in the course of their career,” Boone said (h/t New York Post). “Watching the last couple of weeks, he is probably a little bit anxious and hasn’t necessarily struggled like this as a hitter in his career. Hitting is hard and sometimes you want to chase that hit. You want to get that hit so bad that it can work against you. Results will follow good at-bats. It’s only a matter of time. He will settle in and the hits will fall in.”
Boone has an opportunity to be patient with Sanchez due to his teams overwhelming success to start the year. The Yankees have the best winning percentage in baseball and possess the league’s most potent offense.