After Gary Sánchez’s rough 2020, there’s pretty much nowhere to go but up.
That was the rationale for including him among the 2021 ZiPS breakout candidates, with Dan Szymborski noting that no big league hitter — especially one with Sánchez’s power pedigree — carries a true-talent .159 BABIP. Unfortunately for the Yankees’ backstop, that’s how his batted ball luck shook out, with the shortened 60-game season preventing his BABIP from ever regressing to the mean.
Granted, Sánchez was not the only hitter to face extremely poor batted ball luck. A perusal of all players with at least 100 trips to the plate last season shows us that Sánchez only posted the fourth-lowest BABIP in the majors, with Hunter Renfroe (.141), Edwin Encarnación (.156), and Rougned Odor (.157) all worthy of taking even more issue with the BABIP Gods.
But even compared to these other tough luck seasons, Sánchez sticks out. What caused him as much trouble, if not more, was a lot of swinging and missing, something he did considerably more often than most of his peers in the bad BABIP department, with strikeouts in 36% of plate appearances. That combination of poor BABIP and a low…