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Yes, yes, I know. It’s been nearly two months since The Sport Mouth has had something to say and I can promise you that will not be a continuing trend. Instead of sitting here and diving into what happened to me and why I’ve been silent, I’d rather come back roaring.
Gary Sanchez has been an absolute phenom since entering the Yankees lineup on a full time basis a little over a month ago. You can argue that he has been not just the best rookie in baseball over that time, but the best player period. Hitting a .337 clip with 19 home runs in 45 games is nothing to sneeze at. Having the most home runs in the first 45 games over your career in MLB history is an impressive feat. Almost single handedly keeping the Yankees in the playoff hunt is incredible, especially for a rookie. To do all of this while playing arguably the toughest position on the field, catcher, makes it that much more impressive. To not only do it while playing catcher but also be playing the position at a well above average level is astonishing. HOWEVER, there is no way Gary Sanchez can be in the race for AL Rookie of the Year.
I know, I know, “blasphemy!” “How could you say something like that?” “You’re insane and have absolutely no idea what you are talking about!” Those are just a few of the reactions I’m expecting to receive when this column is posted. However, before the bashing begins, let me explain. As impressive as the “Sanchize” has been, there’s one problem here. Even if Sanchez plays every single game for the rest of the season, he will have played in just 34% of the Yankees games this year. That’s just over a third of the entire season. I find it extremely difficult to consider Sanchez for ROY honors when he will still be considered a rookie until game 106 of NEXT season. You wouldn’t vote for a player to make the All-Star team if he only appeared in 34% of the teams games in the first half of the season would you? (By the way that would equate to just 25 games for the Yankees this season). You wouldn’t vote for a guy to win MVP if he played in just 56 games the entire season either, right? Even if he hit 25 home runs, had 50 RBI’s and a .350 batting average. You just wouldn’t do it. While the MVP is clearly a more prestigious award than the ROY award, there’s still something to be said about the integrity of the award. There are 35 other rookies in the American League right now. Five of them have played in over 100 games this season. Nine of them have played in more than half of their teams games this season. Those are just the position players. There are seven rookie PITCHERS who have appeared in more games than Gary Sanchez this year.
I don’t mean to knock Gary Sanchez at all. It’s not like he’s out their campaigning to be the Rookie of the Year. Well, not verbally anyway. Sanchez is an incredible prospect who looks like he has the potential to be a legitimate superstar in this league for years to come. I will not take that away from him. And it’s not his fault he hasn’t played in more games this season. The Yankees paid Brian McCann a lot of money to be their catcher so it makes sense that they stuck with him for large chunk of the season. However, I just can’t bring myself to consider him a serious ROY candidate when you have guys like Michael Fulmer in Detroit, Nomar Mazara in Texas, and Tyler Naquin in Cleveland who have been putting up good numbers for just about the entire year. Sanchez looks like he will have a career full of All Star game appearances, potential Gold Glove awards, and maybe even MVP awards. But I just don’t think the Rookie of the Year award should be in the cards for this young phenom.
Image from: http://nypost.com/2016/09/15/how-will-gary-sanchez-yankees-handle-high-stakes-at-fenway/