Bounce Back Candidate: Gary Sanchez
Each week I’ll be looking in to a bounce back candidate at each position. These are going to be more of a stat based, analytical deep dive on a specific player. The projections next to the player names are an average of THE BAT, ATC, Steamer, and ZIPS projection systems found on Fangraphs. NFBC ADP data is from the date range 1/01/2019-02/03/2019. Is Gary Sanchez worth an early in pick in fantasy drafts?
Gary Sanchez, NYY (ADP 58): 526 PA, 73 R, 29 HR, 80 RBI, 2 SB, .250/.329/.490/.820
Okay, so I can hear you saying “duh” from over here. Yes, Sanchez is the ultimate bounce back candidate, but after digging in to his numbers, I want to show you just how primed El Gary is to re-breakout. While Sanchez missed over two months last season due to a groin injury, his numbers were horrible for anyone, let alone someone drafted as highly as he was (2018 ADP top 40). He slashed .186/.291/.406/.697 with 18 homers in 89 games. Again, objectively bad. His strikeout rate jumped up to 25.1% from 22.9% in 2017, which isn’t all that significant for a power hitter. The HR/FB% dropped from 25.4% in 2017 to 18.2% last season. The only other hint of bad news is Gary’s atrocious defense behind the plate, which won’t cause the Yankees to cut his playing time… until it does.
Now, for the good stuff. Sanchez entered 2018 fresh off of offseason shoulder surgery, presumably factoring into his performance at the plate. He hit the ball essentially as hard as he had his entire career. He raised his walk rate from 7.6% to 12.3% in 2018. The BABIP is where we start to run into the obvious factors. It was .197 in 2018, a 107-point drop from his 2017 season. He’s not a fast runner so it’s not a surprise that he’d have a bad BABIP but .197 just isn’t realistic. With a little BABIP luck, better health, and a walk rate stabilizing above 12%, Sanchez should be in for a monster 2019.