Yankees Prospect Profile: C Gary Sanchez

Background

Gary Sanchez, 18, was signed back in June 2009 out of the Dominican Republic. He is listed at 6’2″ and 195 lbs., he was signed for $3 million which is a lot compared to the $1.6 million the Yankees gave fellow catching prospect Jesus Montero in 2006.

Sanchez immediately made some of the Yankees top prospect lists immediately after signing, but it wasn’t until he played his first year of professional ball in America that he jumped nearly to the top of those lists. Currently he’s ranked no. 2 on both Baseball America’s and John Sickel’s prospect lists.

Pro Career

Sanchez was impressive in instructs before finally getting a chance to play in 2010. An abdominal injury caused him to miss spring training last year, but that hardly held him back. He started with the GCL Yankees (rookie ball) where he tore the cover off the ball. In 31 games in Tampa he hit .353 with six homers and a 1.016 OPS. That earned him a promotion to Staten Island (short season A-Ball) where he hit a still impressive .278 and a .759 OPS over 16 games. Not as impressive as his time in Tampa, but 17 year-olds almost never play that high. There was also a silver lining as he threw out base runners at a much better clip in Staten Island, a 54 caught stealing percentage compared to a 19 percent rate in Tampa.

Scouting Report

Sickels said about Sanchez that he could be Montero with a better glove and Baseball America said that he has a higher ceiling than anyone in the organization including Montero. High praise, but considering that many consider him better defensively at his age than Montero was if his bat continues to develop it’s easy to see where he is drawing those comparisons.

From what you read on Sanchez it sounds like he is slightly more polished than Montero was at his age, but with less power potential. His development at this point depends on his ability to adapt to tougher pitching at each level especially as breaking balls get better.

His defense has been praised and although it is still a work in progress there has not been the questions of whether he will stick behind the plate or not like there were with Montero. Reports out of Staten Island were especially impressive, but because of the small sample size of games don’t bank on him being a gold glover yet.

2011 Outlook

2011 will be a big year for Sanchez. It’s hard to tell where he will start out, but it will likely be in Charleston (Low-A) as he’s probably too young for High-A Tampa. It’ll be a big year though, but not a make or break year by any means. It’s big because it’ll be his first full season as a professional so seeing how he’ll adapt not only to better pitchers will be huge, but also how he deals with the rigors of catching everyday will be important too. A poor showing will be upsetting to some, but at 18-years-old it’s not out of the question that he’ll struggle against more advanced players.

Expect the Yankees to take it slow with this kid. There is a lot to get excited about, but because of his age it could still be three to four years until he gets to the majors if at all. Remember, there are no guarantees with players this young.

Stats

Year Age Tm Lg Lev G AB R H 2B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2010 17 2 Teams 2 Lgs Rk-A- 47 173 33 57 13 8 43 14 44 .329 .393 .543 .936
2010 17 Yankees GULF Rk 31 119 25 42 11 6 36 11 28 .353 .419 .597 1.016
2010 17 Staten Island NYPL A- 16 54 8 15 2 2 7 3 16 .278 .333 .426 .759
1 Season 47 173 33 57 13 8 43 14 44 .329 .393 .543 .936
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/4/2011.
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10 Responses to Yankees Prospect Profile: C Gary Sanchez

  1. dutchsailor says:

    Any chance they team him up with another catcher like they did with Romine/Montero? And along the same line, in your opinion, was that good or bad for Romine/Montero — to only catch 50% of the time for their first few years? It seems like Romine struggled both offensively and defensively the second half of the year last year being full time catcher — like he wasn't used to full season.

    • I actually really liked the fact that they split their catching duties. Now both players have made it through the minors with relatively little wear on their legs.

      That said, you are probably right. Romine struggled late last year likely because it was his first full season behind the plate. But I’d rather half a season of struggles than 3 or 4 full years of wear on his legs. Long-term I doubt it hurts his development and may have saved both of them from some injuries.

  2. Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

    Me like this kid. Me really like. Let's hope the potential becomes realized because nothing would be better than to pay a pittance for several years for a high caliber catcher who can hit and field. Someone's going to have to offset that wasted ARod contract in a couple of years.

  3. Alex Taffet says:

    “Sickels said about Sanchez that he could be Montero with a better glove and Baseball America said that he has a higher ceiling than anyone in the organization including Montero.”

    This makes me extremely, EXTREMELY excited. I really have to make a conscious effort not to get overly confident in an A-level 18 year old prospect. That said, Sanchez’s skills just seem so refined for his age and full of potential that it’s impossible not to be.

  4. Franco Kotos says:

    The Yankees have little room for Romine, Montero and eventually Sanchez (if he rises)…expect either Romine or Montero to be traded…Romine has an outside chance of being a fulltime catcher but his defense is a sore spot, although better than Montero…Sanchez is the hope of the future behind the plate…

    • Considering that Sanchez is so far away 3-4 years, it is possible that they could keep all 3. Not likely, but possible. They could break Romine in as a backup and eventually split their time at catcher. Then when Sanchez is ready start using Montero at first base as Teixeira's time with the Yankees will be close to over by then.

      I doubt this will happen though.

  5. dondbaseball says:

    Catching is the toughest position in baseball and despite both Mauer’s and even Posey’s success, most catchers take a long time to develop from minors to majors-look at Wieters, Carlos Santana who have yet to really make it. Heck, it took John Buck YEARS before he finally did something. Posada wasn’t a full time catcher until 27 and he had very good offense. Think of Sanchez as 5 years away, Romine as 2+ years and with any luck, Montero pulling a Posey and contributing the second half of this year but more likely, doing something in 2012 when the DH slot will be fully available.

  6. Mindkind says:

    Very excited about this raw talent. If he reaches his potential then Montero will have to move positions if he isn't traded. I personally think that Montero will be traded I just hope it's not for a number 3 starting pitcher. He is very young and needs time to develop. Rated number 3 by MLB.com so I will mos def keep an eye on this kid.

  7. Kevin Ocala, Fl says:

    He looks older than 18 in thant photo, maybe it's the angle…

  8. He's actually only 17 in that photo.