Catcher ties record with 20 homers in 51 games; New York's No. 13 prospect posts 2.33 ERA across two levels
By Bryan Hoch
Gary Sanchez's impressive rookie campaign made the baseball world take notice, creating a ripple effect of headlines that should follow him into the offseason. Accordingly, the slugging catcher has earned honors from MLBPipeline.com as one of the Yankees' Prospects of the Year.
Sanchez, who tied an 86-year-old Major League record by hitting 20 home runs in his first 51 big league games, has been named as MLBPipeline's Yankees Player of the Year. Right-handed starter Chance Adams was selected as MLBPipeline's Yankees Pitcher of the Year.
The 23-year-old Sanchez took over the Yankees' starting catcher job after being called up in early August, batting .299 (60-for-201) with 12 doubles, 20 home runs and 42 RBIs in 53 games.
The 20 homers equaled a pace set by Wally Berger of the 1930 Boston Braves. Helping the Yankees remain in the postseason chase until the season's final week, Sanchez compiled an 1.032 OPS while throwing out 13 of 32 runners attempting to steal (41 percent).
"It was hard work. I tried to give everything I had," Sanchez said through an interpreter. "We really wanted to make the playoffs, but we couldn't make the playoffs. What we need to do now is try to focus on next year, come back ready."
Though the Yankees have Brian McCann under contract through 2018, Sanchez appears to have staked his claim as both the future and the present behind the plate. General manager Brian Cashman said on Wednesday that the position is Sanchez's to lose going into the spring.
"Talking about next year, I want to keep doing what I've been doing here, which is play hard and give my all," Sanchez said. "That's the way I look forward to next year. You want to work hard and you want to come back ready to play next year."
Adams, 22, is currently rated as the Yankees' No. 13 prospect by MLBPipeline. He was a combined 13-1 with a 2.33 ERA in 25 games (24 starts) for Double-A Trenton and Class A Advanced Tampa this year, including going 8-1 with a 2.07 ERA in 13 games (12 starts) for the Thunder.
In 127 1/3 combined innings, Adams permitted 38 runs (33 earned) and 76 hits, while walking 39 batters and striking out 144. Adams was a fifth-round selection by the Yankees in the 2015 Draft.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.