Gary Sanchez, 2016 AL Rookie Of The Year (ROY) has a great ring to it. It really does. Here’s the thing though. There’s no way Gary Sanchez wins AL Rookie of the Year. Even if he played in every game through the rest of the season (and if the Yankees are anywhere near a playoff spot he just might), he simply won’t have played in enough games to overtake what is already an impressive rookie class.
Which is not to say he has not been equally impressive. Whenever you can preface a stat line with “Not since 1930…” you know there’s something interesting coming. Sanchez has slugged 17 HRs in his first 44 Major League games, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since 1930 when the team in Boston was the Braves.
He’s got a ridiculous 1.109 OPS, easily leading the team, and has a .327 average to boot. Couple that production with his strong throwing arm (he still looks a little…big…behind the plate) and Sanchez is showing himself to be the real deal.
The thing about the Major Leagues, though, is that even the most mediocre (for a Major League athlete that is) Major Leaguer can have a hot stretch. It’s maximizing the ups and, even more so, minimizing the downs that makes a Major League career. Sanchez went through a rough spell a few weeks ago and has seemingly re-adjusted, but there’s a big difference between doing it over 44 games and doing it over 150. Especially for a catcher.
So as much as I am enjoying Sanchez’s performance and the contributions he’s made to the Yankees, he’s not going to get more than a few dozen ballot votes for Rookie of the Year. And that’s fine. It’s as it should be, really, and it does nothing to take away from how great he is that he won’t have that to add to his resume.
Yes, Derek Jeter won the award and it was indicative of the spectacular career the Yankee legend had. But you know who else won it? Eric Hinske and Angel Berroa. In other words, it’s nice hardware but, if he keeps playing like this, his award shelf won’t miss it.