Low-Level Highlights: Gary Sanchez

My apologies for my lack of Minor League Monday this week. I had the article written but the Internet swallowed it up whole and wouldn’t spit it out. There were going to be changes to the list. Ended up being as follows: Dylan Bundy, Jurickson Profar, Manny Machado, Miguel Sano, Trevor Bauer, Taijuan Walker, Wil Myers, Francisco Lindor, Julio Teheran, Gerrit Cole. Myers had the minor league equivalent of Josh Hamilton’s week and it’s hard for me to not include him on the list going forward.

As far as this week’s Low-Level Highlight is concerned, he’s even more special than normal considering that he’s not just a top-flight prospect, but also has had the opportunity to release some of the funniest movies in the last ten years through his company, Gary Sanchez Productions. Even more incredible considering he’s only 19 years old.

Whoops, wrong Gary Sanchez.

While the Gary Sanchez responsible for “Eastbound and Down”, “Step Brothers” and “The Other Guys” has been making audiences laugh, the Gary Sanchez responsible for catching the Charleston Riverdogs in the Sally League has been making audiences cheer. This is mainly because at 19 years old, he’s making some big-time noise as a catcher with an above-average hit tool, swinging the stick at an impressive .333/.380/.483 clip in 129 plate appearances this season.

Sanchez was a 16-year-old signee out of the Dominican Republic by the New York Yankees, who paid him $3 million in 2009 and Sanchez is making it look like a sound investment. He showed up in 2010 and destroyed the Gulf Coast League, moving on to the short-season New York-Penn League and doing well. As an 18-year-old last year, he did very well at Charleston, hitting .256/.335/.485 with 17 home runs. That being done at the Sally League, one of the least appealing hitters leagues around, is quite impressive. There are still questions about his defense, but if he can become even average by the time he’s a Major Leaguer, the value he brings to the position could be a game changer.

At this point, he’s a bit far off from making an impact, but he’s turned into more of a complete hitter this year. While he does have a pretty high strikeout rate at 26%, if he can manage a walk rate at 10%, that’s still a very valuable player with his pop. He shouldn’t be in Charleston for long, and might be a good candidate for a promotion to Tampa of the Florida State League by mid-season. Keep an eye on this one as he moves up, because with Russell Martin holding down the Major League spot currently, Sanchez is a good candidate for that job as soon as 2014.

Tim Livingston

About Tim Livingston

Tim is a former communications coordinator, play-by-play announcer and beat writer for the Dunedin Blue Jays, Toronto's High-A minor league team in the Florida State League. He also recently finished his debut season as the announcer for the Sonoma Stompers, an independent baseball team in the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs. He's currently going to school for a Master's degree in analytics and broadcasts high school sports, fighting game tournaments and anything else where he can talk into a microphone.

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