BBB Top Prospect Countdown #3: Gary Sanchez

A name that has seemingly been in the Yankees farm system forever now, catcher Gary Sanchez comes in at #3 on our top prospect list. The Yankees signed Sanchez out of the Dominican Republic in 2009 for $2.5 million at the age of 16. Now 23 years old, the slugging catcher will look to capitalize on his chance to become the backup and future of the catching position for the Yankees.
Photo Via Pinstriped Prospects
Breakdown
After signing with the Yankees, Sanchez spent the 2010 season splitting time between the Gulf Coast League and Staten Island Yankees. As a 17 year old, Sanchez’s first go at pro ball was a huge success, hitting for an impressive line of .329/.393/.543 and driving in 43 runs. In 2011, Sanchez gained a promotion and started the season with Single A Charleston, where he continued his solid offensive production. He hit for an average of .256, drove in 52 runs and clubbed 17 homers to go along with 16 doubles. A problem for Sanchez however, was his ball security, as he allowed 28 passed balls.


The 2012 season saw the slugging catcher in Charleston and Tampa, where he again proved that he was a solid hitter. Between the two teams, Sanchez slugged 18 homers and drove in 85 runs while producing an average of .290. From the 2013 to 2014 seasons, as a member of both Tampa and Trenton, Sanchez racked up 136 RBI’s and 46 doubles. Sanchez’s ball handling improved, as he only allowed 13 passed balls in 2013 and 10 in 2014.


As for the 2015 season, the then 22 year old Sanchez began the year in Trenton but quickly earned a promotion to Triple A Scranton. Upon making the jump from Double A to Scranton, Sanchez did even better. Producing a line of .295/.349/.500, Sanchez drove in 26 runs in 35 games and allowed not a single passed ball.


As a reward for his fantastic production after his promotion, Sanchez was invited to participate in the Arizona Fall League, where he tore it up. Sanchez led the league with 7 home runs, 21 RBI’s and took home MVP honors. He followed former minor league teammate and current Yankee Greg Bird in his path to dominating the AFL, but Sanchez wasn’t focusing on that and instead had his sights on mashing in the Bronx “No, I wasn’t aware of that,” speaking to MLB.com, “But I expect to be doing the same thing, in New York.”


Projection
In 2012, Sanchez was ranked #40 on Baseball Prospectus’ list of top 101 prospects, ahead of future stars such as Sonny Gray and Anthony Rizzo, so it’s fair to say that the expectations have always been there for him. Sanchez undoubtedly has the power and awareness to be a full-time and successful major league catcher. Now, MLB.com has him ranked as the 2nd best catching prospect in baseball and #59 overall. 

He hits for power and contact at a position that often lacks consistent hitters. The big question with him is if he can maintain a good attitude and consistent defense. With his defensive numbers improving and a work ethic that is getting better, Sanchez is putting in the effort to reach his potential. 

After seeing his stock rise and fall throughout his time in the minors, Sanchez took to the AFL to showcase what he is capable of and he shined. Sanchez hit .295/.357/.625 with a league leading seven homers and 21 RBI in 22 games.

Right now, the backup catching gig is his to lose. If he has a good showing in spring training he should start the season with the backup job all but locked up. More importantly, Sanchez will be able to learn under the guidance of one of the league’s best in Brian McCann and hopefully become the starter down the road.


MLB Comparison: Devin Mesoraco and (*gulp*) Jesus Montero


You can view his minor league stats HERE.
You can keep up with our full top 30 list with links to our breakdowns HERE.


Article: Phil Akre
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