After making history yet again, New York Yankees’ rookie catcher Gary Sanchez has experienced a fall off which could cost him the AL Rookie of The Year.
Gary Sanchez was starting to look like a guy who just made this game look easy as a walk in the park.
Through his 44 games of his rookie campaign, the Kraken maintained a slash line of .345/.422/.756 with an OPS of 1.178 and 19 home runs. Yes, 19 home runs in 44 games.
More impressively, however, on Tuesday night he tied the fastest player (51 games) in baseball history (Wally Berger, 1930) to hit 20 home runs.
Simply put, Sanchez became something the baseball world had never seen. Unfortunately, the trend of the 23-year old hitting a home run once every 13 at-bats (from Aug. 10- Sept. 21) has come to an end.
Over his last seven games, he owns a .038/.103/.154 with 11 strikeouts in 29 plate appearances, good enough for a 38% strikeout rate.
That stretch has dropped his overall batting average under .300 for the first time since August 14 thanks to owning just one hit.
Now, he is still tied with the AL rookie home runs leader (Nomar Mazara) despite owning 334 fewer plate appearances, but his main competitor, Tigers’ rookie Michael Fulmer, has put the pressure on after experiencing a slight fall-off.
After striking out nine Kansas City Royals’ batters on Sept. 23 and pitching in 3.1 innings during a rain-shortened win against the AL Central-leading Indians, Fulmer is now the league’s ERA leader (3.06).
Additionally, his WAR has pulled even with Sanchez’s while Fulmer has sustained the best ERA in the AL over a full season while New York’s rookie has done it for a mere 44 games (excluding his latest funk).
While this slump could possibly take some votes away for the award, for Sanchez, it shouldn’t matter. In fact, the hardware would just exemplify what we already know.
When you look back on 2016, you’ll remember it for two aspects. One, this was the year the New York Yankees came to grips with reality and broke down their roster.
And two, the year Gary Sanchez took the league by storm with his flawless value, historically epic rookie campaign, and the representation of the newest — and brightest — generation of Yankees’ superstars.
So, other than securing his bid for the award — which he may win anyway — there’s nothing more he has to prove this weekend.
Christian Kouroupakis covers the New York Yankees for ESNY. Interact with him and view his daily work by “liking” his facebook page and follow him on Twitter. All statistics are courtesy of Baseball Reference.com unless otherwise noted. Don’t hesitate to shoot him an email with any questions, criticisms, or concerns.