The runner-up to the 2016 AL Rookie of the Year Award isn’t worried about failing in his first season as the Yankees everyday catcher.
On Monday afternoon, dressed in his home pinstriped No. 24 Yankees jersey, Gary Sanchez took time to meet with fans and talk to media about the upcoming baseball season. At Bullpen Deli Twin Donut, just around the block from Yankee Stadium, Sanchez sounded poised for a monster Sophomore campaign as he made delicious looking sandwiches.
Through a translator Sanchez said:
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“I don’t feel any pressure at all. … During the baseball season, there are highs and lows. … You’ve got to go through all of that as a baseball player. That’s something you understand and you’ve got to keep your head high. Hopefully, you continue to be consistent. … I’m working very hard right now. … I’m trying to stay healthy. What kind of results am I going to have in the upcoming season? I don’t know. We’re going to have to wait and see. … This offseason I’ve tried to do the same thing I did last year, which was work hard right up until spring training.”
Obviously, only time will tell if Sanchez is able to fully build off of one of the most electric debuts in baseball history. After all, in the grand scheme of things, 53 games is a small sample size to contend with.
But the Yankees clearly believe in the 24-year-old backstop who has already drawn comparisons to a young Ivan Rodriguez. As early as last September, in the midst of almost singlehandedly keeping the Yankees afloat in the AL Wild Card race, general manager Brian Cashman waxed poetic about Sanchez while on The Dan Patrick Show.
We thought he was going to be a middle-of-the-lineup bat with great defense. I gave him $3 million back in 2009 — which was a record bonus at that time — and for good reason. He’s honored that as he’s grown through the system. He’s hungry to be a great player. Which, there’s a lot of people that have talent, but when you match the hunger to be great with the talent–that’s where the magic happens. I think we have a chance to have a special player on our hands.
As long as Sanchez can keep a level head going forward, and receives even a slight uptick from those batting directly in front and behind him in the order, there is no reason to think that Sanchez won’t surpass the astronomical numbers he put up a season ago.