Gary Sanchez, was seen as a likely candidate following his breakout 2015 season to make it to the Bigs as a back up catcher to Yankee backstop Brian McCann. But if you read BYB's GARY SANCHEZ IS TAKING A WALK, he was sent down to AAA this week.
I'm not gonna like, I’m happy with that, and I’ll tell you why;
First off, let’s discuss why Austin Romine has earned the backup job in my opinion. He has without a doubt outperformed Sanchez at the plate, batting .273 with four doubles over 13 games. But there's more to it. Romine is also out of options and if he is not on the Opening Day big league roster, he could opt for free agency and likely sign elsewhere. That would be a loss to the organization who has invested many years into this guy, although he didn’t quite develop as we hoped he would. But enough on Romine…
Gary Sanchez finally came around in 2015 where he compiled a .274/.485/.815 slash line with 18 home runs and 62 RBI between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He also performed very well in the Arizona Fall League and was named the AFL’s Fall Stars Game MVP.
Coming into camp this season, he seemed like the favorite to win the backup role, but something happened. He's struggled this Spring, compiling just one hit in 21 at-bats heading into Thursday. Joe Girardi seemed to think he may be pressing, and he sure might have been. But batting about a fifth of your weight just isn’t going to win you many jobs in professional baseball. That's the bottom line.
Unlike many other fans however, I’m actually rather happy he's gone to AAA. In Scranton Wilkes/Barre, Sanchez gets to play every day and continue to develop. As I wrote in December in my piece, EITHER WAY, SANCHEZ MUST PLAY, the most important thing for Sanchez is to develop.
By being the starter in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, he will have the opportunity for regular at-bats and that will allow him to keep moving forward. A concern of mine for him in the Bigs would have been for him to play just 2 days a week behind McCann.... giving him just 200 at bats or so. For a young top prospect, he needs to play and play often. And so, Scranton works.
We all know McCann isn’t getting any younger and over the next few seasons will see more and more time at DH (especially as this Yankees roster turns over) and perhaps make a transition to first base where he could also see occasional time. As of now though, the Yankees have half a roster of DH candidates, and by keeping Sanchez on the Major League roster, it would force one of their better bats in McCann to sit more often than he likely should.
Look, keep in mind.... Sanchez is just 23 years-young. Another season, or half a season for that matter, in the minors where he can play and improve, will only help the Yankees organization and himself over the long run.
So yeah... when it comes to Sanchez in AAA to start the season? Yup it's A-OK to me!