Welcome to the next installment of Tampa Bay Rays vs. the AL East. Today we focus on catchers.
The Tampa Bay Rays watched a very important and beloved player walk away in free agency. Travis d’Arnaud was obtained for $100,000 from the Dodgers last season as the Rays suffered injuries to Mike Zunino and Michael Perez. This season they are handing the reigns back over to the duo. Today, we will preview how the rest of the American League East stacks up to the Rays at behind the plate. On Deck: New York Yankees
AL East 2B Team Previews:
AL East 3B Team Previews
AL East SS Team Previews
New York Yankees
New York Yankees Fangraphs 2020 Projected C WAR: 3.1
It is hard to believe the Yankees have a talent like Gary Sanchez behind the plate and they are projected to finish with the third-most fWAR in the division. The 3.1 projects still has them finishing eighth overall in the entire league, it just speaks to the talent within the division.
Sanchez burst onto the scene in 2016 with 20 homers in just 53 games played. When he’s healthy, Sanchez is one of the most prolific power hitters in the game, regardless of position.
When his numbers are averaged out, Sanchez claims an astonishing 46 homers per 162 games. The two-time All-Star has already racked up 105 homers in through 372 games played. Not only is Sanchez the fastest catcher to ever reach 100 homers, he is the fastest player to reach 100 home runs in American League history. He also became the second-fastest player to reach the century mark in all of major-league history.
And he’s projected to lead the Yankees to the third-highest WAR total in 2020 in the American League East. I’d say there’s some serious talent here.
Sanchez has always had a cannon of an arm, ranking in the top six in pop time each season. While there have been questions surrounding his defense, Sanchez and the Yankees have been working hard to not only improve his craft but to make him one of the best in the game. The Yankees brought in new catching coach Tanner Swanson, formerly of the Minnesota Twins. Swanson helped Mitch Garver exponentially improve in all major defensive metrics last season. We’ll see what he can do with Gary Sanchez in 2020.