It's been a wild season for Gary Sanchez, who his starting job, won it back and is now the hottest hitter on the team.
There will be an All-Star catcher playing at Yankee Stadium this week.
Salvador Perez of the Royals is having another excellent season with the Royals and was the leading vote-getter in the first round of voting for AL catchers last week.
The next question is: Will Gary Sanchez join Perez in Colorado next month?
A once-laughable notion has a chance of becoming a reality thanks to Sanchez’s resurgence in a season during which he lost his starting job, won it back and is now the hottest hitter on the team.
And it all follows an offseason that left Sanchez’s future in The Bronx as uncertain as it had ever been.
The turnaround began when Sanchez unofficially got his starting job back on May 27 after losing it to Kyle Higashioka a month earlier.
Since then, Sanchez is 22-for-64 with six doubles, six homers, 14 RBIs, seven walks and 19 strikeouts in 71 plate appearances. His OPS during that 20-game stretch is 1.127, bringing his overall OPS from .642 to .820. Only Perez and Minnesota’s Mitch Garver have a higher OPS among regular catchers.
Sanchez and Aaron Boone have credited the increased production to a simplification of Sanchez’s swing.
Boone noted over the weekend that “even back last year, he had the leg kick that was getting him in-between and messing with his timing, especially with the fastball.”
Last month, he ditched the leg kick, which Boone called a “real adjustment.”
“Now you’re seeing a real quiet lower half and a more balanced hitter,’’ Boone said. “He’s just in a much different place than he was a month ago.”
Sanchez, though, is notoriously streaky, which has left some to wonder how sustainable this recent turnaround will be.
The past few weeks — and even month — have been excellent, but it doesn’t erase the dreadful performance Sanchez consistently showed last season and the opening months of 2021.
“Pitchers and teams were able to find holes in his swing before, so I’m not sure how long this will last,’’ said one AL scout.
But another said what Sanchez brings to the table when he’s going well gives the Yankees reason to have faith in him.
“I’ve always been a Gary fan because he gives you a bat at a position where you don’t always find one,’’ the second scout said. “I get why the Yankees stayed with him because this is what he’s capable of.”
And Boone also made a point of crediting Sanchez’s work ethic — and willingness to make a noticeable alteration to his approach in the middle of the season.
“The major league season can be such a grind, it’s hard to make real significant mechanical changes … and he’s made those,’’ Boone said. “He had that big leg kick he would hold in the air and think it was destroying his timing and causing him to miss some pitches he should be on.”
The results have been evident.
After dropping to as low as eighth in the lineup at times over the first three months of the season, Sanchez hit third in each of the past two games.
Luke Voit is expected to return from an oblique strain Tuesday after being sidelined nearly four weeks with an abdominal strain and will be part of the middle of the order.
The first baseman has played just 12 games this season and struggled when in the lineup.
As the Yankees’ offense continues to improve, both right-handed hitters — question marks throughout much of this season — will need to produce.
And if Sanchez maintains something close to his current pace, he could end up joining Perez in Colorado as a reserve next month.
This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Dan Martin