Who would have thought that slugging catcher Gary Sanchez would ever put on a San Diego Padres uniform?
So far, in just three games, the former Yankees star smashed two home runs and has been vital in SD’s recent success.
Sanchez marks the fifth catcher the Padres have brought in over the last four seasons. The Friars traded for Austin Nola and Jason Castro in the 2020 covid season. A year later, they traded for Yu Darvish and catcher Victor Caratini. In 2022, the Padres signed fan favorite Jorge Alfaro, who broke a Padres record with five walk-off hits. Now comes Gary Sanchez. Overall, that is actually a solid list of catchers … however, none have panned out long-term.
It’s safe to say that Sanchez isn’t likely the long-term answer. With Luis Campusano ready to play in the majors, he should see a lot of time when he returns from a thumb injury.
I’m sure many have seen future star Ethan Salas tear up Single-A Lake Elsinore in his few games there. On the verge of 17 years old, Salas is surely on pace to wear a Padres uniform for a long time.
The point is, don’t expect to see Sanchez in a Padres uniform for long unless he starts to really pay dividends. We have seen it with the Yankees, but it’s been about four seasons since he has been at his best.
The Dominican Republic native broke onto the scene in 2016 when he smashed 20 home runs in just 53 games. His OPS was 1.032, which is actually the highest of his career. 2017 was his best season in a Yankees uniform when he hit 33 homers and had 90 RBIs. His WAR reached 4.1, and the Yankees thought they had their future catcher. However, he regressed after that due to injuries and has yet to be the same.
All in all, Sanchez was the fasted catcher ever to hit 100 home runs. Surely, the Padres can still benefit from his power.
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) June 1, 2023
The right-hander has started all three games as a Padre (two at catcher and one as the DH). His batting average is .364, as he has four hits and four RBIs to go along with his pair of homers. Three of his hits have produced RBIs, and even though it’s a tiny sample size, it’s quickly becoming apparent that he is the man for the job right now.
Nola is on the hot seat. He is basically jumping on broken ice. The organization trusts Nola and wants to see him succeed. However, Nola has fewer hits in the month of May than Sanchez does in just three games in a Padres uniform.
If Sanchez continues to hit, then expect him to be the primary starter until either Campusano returns or the Padres make another change. The lineup can be very scary if they pick up it. Manny Machado is close to returning.
Chris is a graduate of the University of San Diego. He is the former Sports Editor for the USDVista newspaper. Chris is also an athlete and is huge fan of San Diego sports. Chris has covered the San Diego Loyal, and contributes regularly about the Padres.