Gary Sanchez, Passed Balls, and Common Sense

Gary Sanchez, Passed Balls, and Common Sense

Baseball broadcasters, writers, and casual observers alike have focused on the rise of Passed Balls by catchers across Major League Baseball in the 2018 season. The issue has been a major point of discussion throughout the playoffs this year. Most notably, the Red Sox’s defensive darling, Sandy Leon, has struggled with multiple high-profile Passed Balls and Yasmani Grandal, starting catcher for the Dodgers in the regular season, was benched in favor of career backup Austin Barnes due to Grandal’s inability to prevent passed balls. It is impossible to talk about Passed Balls without mentioning Gary Sanchez, who has led or tied for the Major League lead in Passed Balls in each of his two full seasons behind the plate for the Yankees (18 in 2018, 16 in 2017).

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What the Yankees Should Have Learned this Month

What the Yankees Should Have Learned this Month

The easiest person to blame for this is Giancarlo Stanton whose ninth inning strikeout with two runners on base in game four was just one of several times in that series when the slugger came up empty in potentially game changing situations. That strikeout will likely be the enduring memory from a solid, but unspectacular season from Stanton, his first with the Yankees. However, the fault cannot be laid entirely at the feet of Stanton. The problem is bigger than that and starts with a team that had five batters with 100 or more strikeouts, two more with between 90-99 whiffs and 180 more team strikeout than the Astros, Red Sox or Indians, the other teams that made it into the final four in the American League.

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Don't Look to the Farm System for Help

Don't Look to the Farm System for Help

Top Yankee prospects are either a few years away like Estevan Florial or Anthony Seigler, major question marks like Clint Frazier or, like eight of the team’s top ten prospects according to MLB.com, pitchers. Overall, the system is no longer very impressive. The highest ranked, again according to MLB.com, Yankee prospect is Justus Sheffield at 31st. The Yankees placed a respectable but not overwhelming four prospects in MLB’s top 100. Prospect ranking are imperfect and always in flux, but these rankings are consistent with what we know about the system-no elite prospects ready to contribute immediately and a lot of somewhat unformed pitching.

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To My Dad, The Life Long Red Sox Fan...

CONGRATULATIONS!

Teddy Ballgame is smiling down from Heaven on you and your beloved Red Sox.

It always hurts (a lot) to see the Yankees lose, especially to the Red Sox, but, I am glad for you. You suffered for a long time with the Sox and because you are a true fan, you always stayed loyal to your team. Enjoy this ride - the winning doesn’t ever happen enough.

It is good the Sox are winning in your 80th year. It’s a wonderful year-long birthday present.

And now that the Yankees are done, just for you, I’ll say “Go Red Sox!”