Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Road to Yankee Stadium Top 10: #3 Gary Sanchez

Gary Sanchez, C, LoA

Gary Sanchez didn't quite have the 2011 season people expected him too.  He played 82 games, all in Charleston (LoA).  There he hit .256 with 17 HRs, 16 doubles, 49 runs, and 52 RBIs. Had he not gotten hurt for the end of the season he would have been within the league leaders in HRs and RBIs.  He played about 40-50 less games then the league leaders.  Now his average this season was definitely lower then most were hoping, his other numbers remained on par.  He then played in the Dominican Winter League, where he hit .300 in 8 games.

Sanchez was signed out of the Dominican Republic as a 16 year old in 2009.  The Yankees gave him the very impressive $3 million contract.  His first season in professional baseball was in 2010 where he played mostly in the GCL and some in Staten Island (LoA SS).  In 31 games in the GCL he hit .353 with 6 HRs, 11 doubles, 25 runs and 36 RBIs.  He was then called up to Staten Island where he played 16 games.  There he hit .278 with 2 HRs, 2 doubles, 8 runs and 7 RBIs.  After this season he was ranked as the #32 prospect in baseball by MLB.com.

Going forward Sanchez has a lot of potential.  The biggest concern is with his health.  He has yet to make it through an entire season without getting hurt.  After signing a huge contract with the Yankees coming out of the DR there are a lot of expectations for Sanchez.  His scouting report puts him as the hitter that Montero is and a similar catcher to Romine, although I have heard some less then impressive reports of his defense.  However, Sanchez just turned 19, so that gives him a lot of time to turn from the raw player that he is today to a polished major leaguer.  If he can stay healthy he definitely has a bright future.  Although depending on how Montero and Romine work out ahead of him he could end up being stuck in the system as well and may end up being traded.  The way I see it however is that if Montero is moved to DH then this gives Sanchez a shot at the catching spot in a few seasons when he should be ready.  At this point however he has yet to play above Low A ball so he will still have to prove himself and show that he can stay healthy.  Best case scenario he is probably big league ready in two seasons so around the end of 2013/start of 2014 season.  He has definitely been fast tracked for the majors so I could see him jumping some levels if he gets healthy and starts hitting the way he did in 2010.  If he has a hot start I could see him ending this coming season at AA, stuck behind Romine who will most likely spend most of the season at AAA.  That again though is best case scenario so not to highly likely that it will actually occur.  If we are being realistic I could see him playing much of the season at Tampa and I just hope that he can get an entire season under his belt.

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