Gary Sanchez must hit to remain on San Diego Padres roster

World Baseball Classic Pool D: Israel v Dominican Republic
World Baseball Classic Pool D: Israel v Dominican Republic / Al Bello/GettyImages

The San Diego Padres bats are scuffling as the lineup needs an offensive boost. Currently, the Padres are ranked 29th with a team batting average of .221. And the lack of productivity at the plate has been a concern for team general manager A.J. Preller.

Finally, he made a roster move by claiming Gary Sanchez off waivers from the New York Mets. It is the latest twist into what has become quite a saga for the Padres. The bats have been frozen all season, as the Friar Faithful have lost confidence in the club’s catchers making any contribution offensively.

Gary Sanchez is a proven home run hitter

However, it will not take long to turn this mess around. The process begins with Sanchez becoming a bonafide run producer. No question, he possesses immense power (154 career home runs in eight major league seasons) but has struggled to make consistent contact over the last several seasons. Sanchez has a career .225 batting average and struck out over 100 times in four seasons.

The Friars hope Sanchez can become a threat with the bat like he was early in his major league career. Sanchez debuted with the New York Yankees in the middle of the 2016 season. He batted .299 with 20 homers and 42 RBI in 53 games. For his effort, Sanchez finished second in the Rookie of the Year Award voting. He followed that season with an impressive sophomore campaign. Sanchez batted .278 with 33 homers and 90 RBI, which earned him an All-Star Game selection.

San Diego Padres could be last chance for Sanchez to stick in MLB

The Padres are Sanchez’s third MLB organization since signing a minor league contract with the San Francisco Giants on April 1. He opted out of the deal and signed with the New York Mets on May 2. Sanchez had a short stint in the minors before making his 2023 season debut on May 19. However, his stay in New York was short. Sanchez was removed from the roster to make room for Mets starting catcher Tomas Nido, who was coming off the injured list last week.

Upgrades of this nature can be challenging. But the Padres need more punch coming from the catching position. Sanchez is replacing Austin Nola, who is hitting .131 with three extra-base hits in 100 at-bats. Recently departed backup catcher Brett Sullivan did not provide much offensive production either. Since his call-up on April 19, Sullivan mustered only a .170 batting average with four extra-base hits in limited at-bats.

The loss of Luis Campusano has been devastating

Let’s not forget Padres catching prospect Luis Campusano is recovering from left thumb surgery that will keep him sidelined for up to two months. The injury occurred while Campusano was catching a bullpen session. Team doctors diagnosed the injury as a sprain, but the thumb did not heal as expected.

Campusano is the Padres top prospect (.296 career minor league batting average) who was supposed to play the understudy role behind Nola this season. His major league performance level has been underwhelming, with a .198 batting average in limited action. Unfortunately, all the plans for Campusano have been put on hold until he is healthy.

The Friar Faithful must temper their expectations for Sanchez. He is a no-risk acquisition for the organization. All he has to do is hit .250 with 10-15 homer and drive in 50-60 runs for the remainder of the season. If this occurs, everyone will be satisfied with the results.

2023 has been a challenge for the Padres. The team is sitting near the bottom of the National League West standings with a 25-29 record. The addition of Sanchez is promising, but there is still work to be done before turning this mess around.