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Which Catcher is Better? Kyle Higashioka or Gary Sanchez?

Which Catcher is Better? Kyle Higashioka or Gary Sanchez?

Catching is one of the issues that plague the New York Yankees. Right now, they have two catchers: Kyle Higashioka and Gary Sanchez. The question is which catcher is better? Kyle Higashioka or Gary Sanchez?

Kyle Higashioka

It was during the 2008 Draft that Kyle Higashioka was picked in the seventh round. He made his debut on April 10, 2017. Higashioka has had a few injuries since then, including a left groin strain, right elbow soreness, left thumb injury and the most recent of injuries, a right oblique strain.

Since 2017 and keep in mind that 2020 was a short year, Higashioka has played in 139 games averaging .183. His OBP, SLG and OPS are .234, .385 and .619. He has 20 home runs, 56 RBIs and struck out 118 times in 387 at-bats. His strike-out percentage is 30 percent. Not good.

Higashioka’s defense is pretty good though. His fielding percentage is .995. He has a total of six errors in his career, allowed 67 stolen bases and he caught 14 people stealing. Approximately 17 percent of the time, Higashioka throws a player out trying to steal. He also has allowed 10 passed balls in his career in 1,003.1 innings.

Which Catcher is Better? Kyle Higashioka or Gary Sanchez?

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Gary Sanchez

Gary Sanchez has had his share of injuries as well. His injuries were strained right biceps, right groin strain and left calf strain.

Sanchez made his MLB debut on October 3, 2015. He went 0-for-1 pinch-hitting for Greg Bird in the ninth inning. Sanchez’s best year was 2016 when he averaged .299 and had an OPS of 1.032. His career average, however, is .230, playing in 538 games with 340 RBIs and 582 strikeouts in 1,932 at-bats. Sanchez struck out approximately 30 percent of the time, similar to Higashioka.

Defensively, Sanchez has a fielding percentage of .989. He has a total of 49 errors, has 60 passed balls, allowed 184 stolen bases and caught 74 players trying to steal in 3,793.2 innings. This means that Sanchez threw people out who tried stealing, approximately 29 percent of the time.

Who is Better?

Looking at numbers, it seems as though Sanchez is better. There could be many reasons for this. First, it could be that Sanchez has played more games than Higashioka. Just give Kyle some more playing time and he may improve on his numbers.

Also, Sanchez has more power. He has 138 career home runs. He also walked 220 times which means that pitchers are afraid to pitch to him with the fear of him hitting out of the ballpark.

When looking at who is better, one must look at the post-season as well. Higashioka’s numbers in the post-season are better than Sanchez’s. Understand, Higashioka has played much less. He has played in only six post-season games, five in 2020 and one in 2021. His average is .250 with an OPS of .686. He has 20 at bats, five hits, one home run, one walk, five strike outs and two RBIs.

Sanchez has played in 31 post-season games. He averages .171 with an OPS of .602. He has 19 hits, seven home runs, 19 RBIs, six walks and 44 strikeouts in 111 at bats.

If fans know anything about the Yankees, or baseball for that matter, they would pick Sanchez as the better player and also choose him as the starter. Taking into consideration Higashioka’s lack of playing time and the better performance during the post-season, the question can still be in play for who is better? Let Higashioka play a lot more, look at his stats and then the fans can decide for themselves.


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