Last season, Gary Sanchez clubbed 33 home runs with a .278/.345/.531 slash. As a result, fantasy players were drafting Sanchez with the 34th pick on average. Cue the Grey cackle. What What???!!! When our mustached leader descended from the peak of Mt. Tout, he read these words from the tablet that was being carried in the hand that wasn’t holding his boba drink: Thou shall not draft catchers early. Now, I know there are sinners among you. It’s ok. We are not perfect beings and many of us succumb to temptations. What’s done is done. That’s right. Not only did you sin, but you’ve been experiencing a Dirty Sanchez up to this point, as Gary is batting .190/.291/.430. What to do? What to do?

Sanchez has clubbed 12 home runs, so the Sanchez hasn’t been that dirty. That’s what she said. The walk rate is at a career high 12.2% and strikeout rate is 24.8%. A tad high, but not too far off from last season’s 22.9%. The swinging strike rate is a career-low 11.9% and he’s chasing pitches at a career-low 31.2%. The contact rate in the zone is at a career-high 86.8%. What what???!!! What the hell is the problem then?

Hard hit rate is fine at 34% and he’s barrelling balls at a 13.9% rate, which is 2% higher than last year. The things that stand out to me when I look at the batted ball data are that he’s not hitting line drives (13.9% vs 21.1% last year) and the pop up rate is at an elevated rate of 23.4%. In 2017, that number was at 10.8%. In addition, the fly ball rate has increased from 36.6% to 44.4%, while the ground ball rate has essentially stayed the same. What’s it all mean?

My first reaction was to think that Sanchez was just swinging for the fences. Makes sense, especially when the launch angle data shows an increase from 14.6 to 13.2 the prior year. But then I had a change of heart. I think part of the problem is a timing issue. Getting under balls and popping them up. As a result, fewer balls driven into the gaps. The other part, though, seems to be a bigger issue. For the first two years of Sanchez’s major league career, teams were employing the shift against him 25.4% and 27.5% of the time. This season? 39.9%! All those ground balls that were getting through, are now being gobbled up. That .197 BABIP may not be so unlucky after all.

With that said, a .197 BABIP is just ridiculous. Sanchez will get his timing back and start hitting more line drives. The .240 ISO is legit, so he will likely end up with around 30 home runs. Just don’t expect anything close to a .278 batting average.

VERDICT

   
  1. Daniel Moran says:
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    I love me some Gary (Yanks fan), but the funny thing is you could swap our Gary’s name for Salvador Perez!

    Babip is low, power is there, peripherals look good, his IFFB & HardHit rates are even better than Gary’s. Salvy even missed the first month and their numbers are within spitting distance!

    If someone’s looking for a buy-low catcher I’d suggest Salvy over Gary.

    • Son

      Son says:
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      @Daniel Moran: I can dig that. Damn, just saw that Perez has a 47% hard hit rate!!!

  2. Rudboy says:
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    Lmao rofl great title and article! Gary is as good as it gets for buy lows right now. I havent tried trading for him so i dont know what asking price looks like

    • Son

      Son says:
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      @Rudboy: Ha! Thanks! I figure asking price would be high because draft capital was

  3. The Shoe says:
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    Hey Son, Great article!

    Could you share some fantasy wisdom? How do you rank Hangier, McCutchen, Merrifield, and Meadows ROS?

    I am mulling a trade possibility where I would send my McCutchen and Wacha for his Merrifield and Treinen. I currently have Kinsler at 2B. I’ve been hesitant to move forward since McCutchen and Kinsler have started to heat up recently while Merrifield has been meh. I have Haniger and Meadows as well, but since Hangier’s been cold for a while now (the K:BB ratio has been hurting him in my league), I’m trying to predict if I’ll come out ahead with this deal, i.e. if Haniger and Merrifield will be solid moving forward.

    Thanks for any insights!

    • Son

      Son says:
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      @The Shoe: Thanks!

      I’d probably go Haniger, Meadows, Merrifield, McCutchen.

      As for your trade possibility, what’s the rest of your squad look like? You have excess pitching and are hurting for saves? I prefer Whit over Cutch and, if you need saves, I like Treinen. For full disclosure, I’ve never been a Wacha guy but he’s been decent this year.

      Rudy has created the Razzball Trade Evaluator. Such an awesome tool. Check it out: https://razzball.com/trade_analyzer_mlb/

      • The Shoe says:
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        @Son: Thanks for the reply! The Trade Analyzer says it’s even. I’m in a 12 team H2H league where Ks are -1 points, saves worth 4, holds 2.

        My offense is Posey, C Santana, Kinsler, Arenado, Bregman, Trout, McCutchen, Haniger, N Cruz, Meadows on the bench though Haniger’s been there a lot lately since he’s been cold.

        Starting pitching is Morton, Wacha, Quintana, Stripling, Pivetta, Gibson, Clevinger, and Cahill who will most likely be dropped when Soroka comes off the DL. RPs are Norris, Gsellman, J Hicks, C Green. I’m trying to arrange my roster to have 5 RPs taking advantage of the SP eligibility of Gsellman/Hicks.

        I also haven’t been a huge Wacha fan but as you said, his performance has been solid.

        A couple more questions (feel free not to answer – I realize I’m piling on). Do you think Meadows stays up for the rest of the season? Do you think Haniger is just a streaky hitter? I need dive into his peripherals but at the moment, his Ks are sapping his value.

        • Son

          Son says:
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          @The Shoe: With the context you provided, I like the trade.

          As for Meadows, I think he regresses, especially against lefties. Plus, there will be an adjustment period when pitchers start attacking him differently. If he struggles, I could see the Pirates sending him down but I really have no idea what they would do. All I can say is that it’s within the range of outcomes.

          Haniger is a streaky hitter. With that said, I’d say most baseball players are.

          • The Shoe says:
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            @Son: Haha, true true to streakiness in baseball.

            Despite the risk of Meadows’ regression and adjustment period, it seems you like him quite a bit, eh?

            As for the trade, I think I’m just trying to get some big picture, 2-3 months from now perspective rather than getting sucked into the recent hot streaks of McCutchen and Kinsler (do you like him, btw?) and the recent cold streaks of Haniger and Merrifield. Also hesitant to let go of a solid pitcher like Wacha when consistent pitchers can be hard to come by. In any case, thanks so much for helping me get some perspective.

            • Son

              Son says:
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              @The Shoe: I do like Meadows. He’s been much better than I expected. I feel that the ceiling is just so high, but there is demotion and injury risk. Guess it depends on your risk tolerance.

              Cutch is fine. I don’t get too high or low with him. I’m not a big Kinsler guy but he’s heated up and is batting at the top of a potent lineup.

              Anytime Shoe! Good luck with whichever way you choose to go.

              • The Shoe says:
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                @Son: Ah, one last question, if Treinen is substituted out for Boxberger, is the deal still a win for me? My potential trade partner originally offered Box, but I’m thinking I will counter with Treinen. Box is worth about $5 less than Treinen according to the trade analyzer.

                • Son

                  Son says:
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                  @The Shoe: I prefer Treinen (personal preference) but it’s close.

                  • The Shoe says:
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                    @Son: Trade (with Treinen) was just accepted. Super fast! Thanks for all the wisdom, hoping it’ll work out.

                    Last question for realz. If I had to drop one of Kinsler, Meadows, or Haniger, who would it be (only cconsidering this if I want to try to run a five reliever setup and still have 8 SPs instead of just 7)?

                    • Son

                      Son says:
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                      @The Shoe: Cool. Good luck.

                      Who plays 2B if you drop Kinsler?

                  • The Shoe says:
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                    @Son: Merrifield would move over to 2nd base. I know the fantasy world’s views on him are pretty mixed, but I’m trending positive on him…

                    • Son says:
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                      @The Shoe: That’s right. Forgot about that. I like Whit

  4. Cable says:
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    H/H points…ROS. Eaton or Soto

    • Son

      Son says:
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      @Cable: Soto for me

  5. Grey

    Grey says:
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    Technically, I was double-fisting two boba drinks, but I get your meaning!

    • Son

      Son says:
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      @Grey: Ha! You’s dirty Grey!

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Nope, change my underoos twice weekly, don’t @ me Son!

        • Son

          Son says:
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          @Grey: Ha! Twice more than me!

          Serious question Grey…..

          Boba balls, ben wa balls, or base balls?

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            Boba! Doode, cmon

            • Son

              Son says:
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              @Grey: Ha! My bad

  6. Chucky says:
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    Enjoy your reports, very informative, thanks. Would I be way outside the box for the suggestion I’m about to inquire about? Stanton is hitting below 200 v RHP and at home. Why would I start him v RHP? At home? Not the craziest of ideas. Certainly goes against the grain but Stanton looks like he’s lost in the deep end of the pool here in the AL.

    • Son

      Son says:
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      @Chucky: Thanks Chucky! Not crazy at all. Just realize that you will be leaving production on the table if you try and time the Stanton market.

      • Chucky says:
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        It’s not early anymore. The fantasy season is at the half way point. 200 batting average in April is one thing, tomorrow’s Flag Day. It’s not early anymore

        • Son

          Son says:
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          @Chucky: True, but you know that Stanton is a super streaky player. And if/when he gets hot…..The upside is immense. If you don’t believe, you can still probably get value for him

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