Veteran catcher Gary Sánchez continued his unlikely tear on Friday night, homering as part of the San Diego Padres' six-run first inning against the Colorado Rockies (GameTracker). According to Statcast, his home run left the bat with a 100.9 mph exit velocity and traveled 404 feet. Observe:
Sánchez, 30, has now swatted five home runs in his first 10 games since joining the Padres on May 29 on a waiver claim. He had previously spent time this year with the San Francisco Giants and New York Mets organizations. Sánchez was released by the Giants in early May and subsequently joined the Mets. He appeared in three games with New York's big-league squad, going 1 for 6 with no extra-base hits and just one run batted in, before he was waived.
The Padres likely viewed adding Sánchez as a low-risk gamble that was unlikely to yield much in the way of results. It was worth the shot. After all, their other backstops had failed to produce this year. To wit, take a look at the numbers amassed by the trio of Austin Nola, Brett Sullivan and Luis Campusano compared to what Sánchez had done in San Diego prior to Friday night's home run:
Other Padres catchers
Sánchez, a two-time All-Star, entered Friday hitting .310/.375/.793 (218 OPS+) in 32 plate appearances.
The Padres came into Friday's game with a 29-33 record on the year, putting them in fourth place in the National League West. San Diego was some eight games back of the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks, and 3 ½ games back of the final wild card spot in the NL playoff picture. That is, to say the least, not what the Padres expected from this season.
Still, there's plenty of time for the Padres to make a run -- even if the charge is led by an unlikely source like Sánchez.