The 23-year-old catcher has done nothing but rake since being recalled on Aug. 3, and along the way he’s keyed the Yankees’ surprise return to post-deadline relevance. Suffice it to say, Friday saw no downturn in his performance.
In the third inning, he did this:
That’s a blast to dead center off fellow gifted 23-year-old Blake Snell, who entered Friday having allowed just four home runs in 74 1/3 innings this season. After that clout, Sanchez was hitting .344/.416/.713 on the season with 12 homers in 32 games.
Of course, Sanchez’s catch-and-throw skills have been questioned pretty much throughout his minor-league career. While it remains to be seen whether he sticks at the position long-term, he’s certainly looked like an adept defensive catcher at times. Another one of those times occurred in the top of the fourth on Friday night …
Baserunner extinguished! Some numbers on that nifty heave …
Gary Sanchez pick off of Dickerson at 2nd base….
Arm strength: 84.1 MPH
Exchange: 0.5 seconds
Pop time: 1.83 seconds.
— Daren Willman (@darenw) September 10, 2016
That’s 84.1 mph from, pretty much, one knee, and that’s very brisk exchange time. As for the pop time, which is the time that elapses from when the ball hits the catcher’s mitt to when it hits the infielder’s glove, the average for a big-league catcher is usually between 1.90 and 2.00 seconds. Sanchez’s pop time on this throw, then, was in “plus” territory.
In matters related, Sanchez has now thrown out 10 of 21 basestealers this season, which comes to a caught-stealing percentage of 47.6. Compare that to the league-average mark of 30 percent. As well, coming into Friday’s action, Sanchez had registered a .995 fielding percentage in 187 defensive innings behind the plate. Catchers league-wide, meantime, have a fielding percentage this season of .984.
He’s allowed passed balls at a slightly higher rate than the average catcher this season, but on the other hand, StatCorner grades him as a slight asset when it comes to framing pitches. The Yankees’ staff ERA has been higher with Sanchez behind the plate, but, in addition to being a crude measure, that stat’s one of the last to come around for a new catcher. Obviously, with Sanchez we’re dealing with a small data sample, but thus far there’s nothing in his major-league record to suggest he’s unworkable behind the plate.
We know about Sanchez’s bat, and we’re learning more about his fielding skills. Friday night’s events provided us positive reminders on both counts.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / WATCH: Gary Sanchez uses both his bat and arm to continue role as game-changer