The current catching situation with the New York Yankees is great on the defensive end, but not so promising when analyzing Russell Martin‘s offensive numbers. A line of .196 BA, 12 HR, 31 RBI, 31 Runs, 3 SB is nothing to be proud of. Furthermore, Russel’s .312 OBP is only as high as it is, because it’s aided greatly by the 63 walks he has taken. If not for the youthfulness and immaturity of Gary Sanchez, I think the cries for his callup would be even greater.
Again, Russell Martin is a fine defensive catcher, but I personally believe his value ends there. Gary Sanchez was signed June 20, 2009 as an international prospect out of the Dominican Republic for $2.5 million. Regarded by scouts as the 30th best prospect prior to the 2011 season, and he is said to currently be the Yankees 4th best prospect overall.
As a 16-year-old, Sanchez received the highest ever signing bonus that the Yankees have ever given to an amateur. The money was worth it to GM Brian Cashman, who saw his raw talent and incredible power to all fields as a must.
In 31 games for the Gulf Coast Yankees, Gary Sanchez hit 6 HR, had 36 RBI, and boasted an OBP of .419 and an average of .353. He split the 2010 year between there and Staten Island, where he was just decent in his 16 games there. Following his 18th birthday, the Yankees had seen enough, in their minds, to send him to the South Atlantic League’s Charleston RiverDogs.
In 2011, he played in 82 games before a season ending injury. After a slow start, and getting the swing of things in his first season in one spot professionally, Sanchez shined. Overall, he had a season split of .256/.335/.485/.820. His 17 HR and 52 RBI weren’t too shabby either.
The overall consensus about his defense following the season, however, was that it was just decent. His percentage of runners thrown out was low, and he allowed several passed balls. With Russel Martin allowing his fair share as well, Yankees fans certainly can’t be thrilled with that aspect of things. Remember though, that Sanchez is very young, and has time to clean up his mistakes.
With the way clear following Jesus Montero‘s departure, it’s tough to think that Austin Romine or any other Yankees farmhand could stand in his way. In 99 games this season, Sanchez is hitting a very promising .291, with 16 round-trippers and 72 RBI. A .349 OBP and 15 steals is pretty good to look at too.
While he has still only made it to Single-A, let’s not forget that he is only 19. The Yankees have had a few scouts speak of a slight attitude that certainly doesn’t play in his favor. However, there are those who say he was just frustrated with the times he hasn’t performed up to his high expectations for himself. My prediction is that with a few more years of seasoning, and a little help in the maturity department, (which will come with time and life experience) Gary Sanchez will be putting down the signs for Yankees pitchers by mid-2014 or early 2015. Considering the fact that the Yankees only like to employ stars, that says a lot.