Since his call up Gary Sanchez has been on an absolute tear for the Yankees. He has set records left and right and doesn’t seem like he will stop any time soon. Is that enough for him to win American League Rookie of the Year?
It’s hard to believe Gary Sanchez is still just 23. Yankees fans have been hearing his name for the better part of a decade, since the team signed him for a hefty $3 million bonus out of the Dominican Republic.
Sanchez appeared on the Baseball America Top 100 list an amazing five times during what seemed like a long, slow climb up the minor league ladder. In reality, however, the rookie catcher is very advanced for his age. He’s just spent his entire career under a microscope because of his high profile.
After fellow highly touted Yankees catching prospect Jesus Montero became a bust, many thought Sanchez would follow right in his footsteps. There were a lot of uncomfortable similarities, but ultimately Sanchez avoided that fate. He has worked hard to improve his defensive skills to go along with his good hitting and power.
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That hard work finally paid off this season when he finally got the long-awaited call to the big show.
Sanchez has simply been the best player in baseball in his first month in MLB. He has hit .374 with 11 Home Runs and 21 RBIs breaking several different records in the process.. He has won the American League Player of the Week award twice in a row, something that had never been done by a rookie. He also became the fastest player to ever in history get to 11 home runs.
The big question now is will he win American League Rookie of the Year, despite his relatively small amount of playing time?
If you look at the insane numbers he’s put up, it seems quite obvious that he should win. No one has come close to his pure impact in 2016, but has he played enough games to convince the voters? If he can continue at this torrid pace, he should win easily. If he slows down, as seems likely, then the right move would be to give it to another player.
The obvious frontrunner right now is young Detroit Tigers pitcher Michael Fulmer. In his rookie year, Fulmer has gone 10-5 with a 2.69 ERA. Fulmer has been able to maintain this success throughout the year, unlike Sanchez, who has only done it for the month of August. Fulmer’s numbers don’t pop off the page like Sanchez’s, but they are still very good.
Who should win? There are a few factors to consider. The first is Sanchez would need to keep at the pace he is going at to make up for the lost time. Realistically, Fulmer would also need to tank somewhat down the stretch. While I believe Sanchez is more deserving, the votes probably will go to Fulmer because he has played much more time than Sanchez has.