Gary Sanchez: Average Defensive Catcher?

Gary Sanchez

Today, Baseball Prospectus announced their new defensive statistics for minor league catchers. Catcher defense has always been very hard to measure, especially at the minor league level. Here’s what they’re able to give us:

  • Controlling the running game (Swipe Rate Above Average, SRAA, and Takeoff Rate Above Average (TRAA)
  • Blocking (Errant Pitches Above Average, EPAA)
  • Framing (Called Strikes Above Average, CSAA)
  • Total (FRAA)

Missing here is the dark matter of catcher defense: game calling, sequencing, psychology, etc. However, this is overall pretty comprehensive. So where does Gary Sanchez rank?

  • Running Game: 0 runs
  • Blocking: 0 runs
  • Framing: +3.0 runs
  • Total: +3.0 runs

This is remarkable in how boring it is. Sanchez was a league-average Triple-A catcher in 2015. Given his hitting talent, that is a big deal. An average defensive catcher was worth something in the 1.5-2 win range alone in 2015. If he were to hit something conservative like .252/.320/.453, which is what Chris Young hit last season, we’re talking about a 3.5-4.0 win player.… Click here to read the rest

Discussion: What Would You Trade for Cole Hamels?

At some point between now and July, the Phillies will trade Cole Hamels. A so-far-so-good Spring Training aside, the Yankees clearly have a need for pitching. Hamels is signed to a reasonable long term contract and coming off his best season. All of this makes yesterday’s new rumor predictable:

Many teams have called on ace Cole Hamels, but so far one club has enticed the Phillies more than the others.  Of the teams that have expressed interest in Hamels, the Yankees have come closer than anyone, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes.  The Bombers have offered a package of prospects for the 31-year-old that at least has given the Phillies a baseline for future talks.

Who knows how far along the Yankees got with trade talks. The Yankee front office is one of the least gossipy in the majors, so the rumor may not even be credible. Still, the news begs the question: What would you trade for Cole Hamels?… Click here to read the rest

Yankees Still Generating Plenty Of Catching Depth

J.R. Murphy

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

There was a time not too long ago when the Yankees looked like they were going to be set at catcher for a long time to come.  They had Russell Martin as the immediate replacement for Jorge Posada, top prospects Jesus Montero and Austin Romine waiting in the wings at the upper levels of their farm system, and an 18-year-old kid named Gary Sanchez raking down in A-ball.

Fast forward to the present day and the catcher position is basically a wasteland.  Lifelong backup Francisco Cervelli is on the DL with a broken hand, which cruelly befell him just as he finally seemed to be nailing down the starting job.  His backup Chris Stewart is who we thought he was and who he’s always been as an all field/no hit player whose defensive reputation always seems to outweigh what he actually does on the field.  And Romine, now forced into the backup role for Stewart, has looked awful in his real Major League debut, posting a .151 wOBA and -17 wRC+ and striking out 17 times in 61 PA.… Click here to read the rest

Sickels ranks farm system 14th in MLB

Yesterday, John Sickels of Minor League Ball ranked the Yankees’ farm system 14th in Major League Baseball, up two spots from last year’s ranking of 16. Sickels comment on the Yankees was as follows:

14) New York Yankees (16): Strengths: quartet of young hitters at the top, with Gary Sanchez, Tyler Austin, Mason Williams, and Slade Heathcott all potential impact prospects, though all have some questions. Good depth in C+ types behind them. Weaknesses: impact pitching. I don’t count Manny Banuelos as an automatic Tommy John recovery. Wildcard: Rafael DePaula, who could vault up lists quickly once he pitches against people his own age.

So they’re not blowing the world away, but they’re not falling behind, either. The construction of the farm system–at least the top thereof–shows us how quickly things can change in a farm system. Just a few years ago, we were excited about the “Killer B’s,” pitchers Manny Banuelos, Andrew Brackman, and Dellin Betances.… Click here to read the rest

Top-30 Prospects Preview: How Far Has Manuel Banuelos Fallen?

Manuel Banuelos was the no-doubt top Yankee prospect entering this season, and held down the #2 spot, behind Jesus Montero, for a year before that. A lot of people, myself included, expect him to spend time on the Yankee roster down the stretch in 2012, and move on to a bright major league career. Instead, Banuelos had pretty much the worst possible 2012 season: after months of trying to rehab an elbow injury, Banuelos was shut down on August 6th after pitching just 24 innings.

Banuelos was 21 years old entering this season, and impressive age for someone starting at Triple-A. After having his 2010 season cut short by an appendectomy and his 2011 season slowed by innings and pitch counts, it was supposed to be his time to stretch out and put some serious workload on his body. Instead, he’ll have to deal with another season of careful handling and strict limits. He’ll be only 22 years old, but the development time lost makes him start to feel older.… Click here to read the rest

Gary Sanchez & Mason Williams Get A High-A Education

Sanchez photo courtesy of Tim Priddy/Four Seam Images, Williams courtesy of Tyrone Walker/The Post and Courier

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

No matter what order you’d rank them personally, there’s little doubt that Gary Sanchez and Mason Williams are the 2 best Yankee position prospects right now (and yes, the order in which I just mentioned them is how I would rank them).  With the way the top-tier pitching prospects have faltered this season, it’s not much of a stretch to say that Sanchez and Williams are the best Yankee organizational prospects period.  When you’re blessed with the natural physical gifts and core baseball tools in the way that these guys are, you’re going to rise up the prospect board pretty quickly and that’s exactly what Sanchez and Williams have done in the early part of their careers.

Their individual successes in 2012 earned them each a promotion to High-A Tampa recently, and last Friday Kiley McDaniel of ESPN posted a scouting assessment of the Tampa Yankees, including a very detailed scouting report on Sanchez and Williams based on what he’d seen since their call-ups. … Click here to read the rest

2012 Pre-Draft Top-20 Prospect Rankings

Its that time again. Three days from now, the Yankees will add 30-40 young baseball players into their organization. Before that happens, it is appropriate that we take stock of the Yankee farm system, so that we may better understand the Yankee draft and signing strategy.

Below are my Top-20 prospect rankings. I usually rank 30 players, but given that we’re a year away from the last draft, I figure there are serious diminishing returns to going all the way to 30 at this time of the year. And it also makes the graphics a little too large. And I irrationally love graphics.

I used my prospect rating system for the ranking. A full explanation of the system is available here. I also copied some helpful graphics explaining the system below the fold to prevent everyone from having to click on the link. I like the system as a way of clearly explaining why I believe that certain players should be ranked where they are.… Click here to read the rest

Gary Sanchez’s defensive progress

Gary Sanchez is one of the top prospects in the Yankee system, almost entirely because of his hitting prowess.  Sanchez’s profile as a prospect is very comparable to that of Jesus Montero: an offense-first catcher with the potential to hit for power and average in the long-term, but major question marks about their ability to remain at the position.

Unlike Montero, who many believed was simply too big for the position, it is a little easier to project the 6’2″ 220 Sanchez as physically being able to handle the position.  Montero’s slow windup and release made catching attempted basestealers a difficult feat (usually hovering around 20%), whereas Sanchez has been relatively successful at throwing out runners (31% last year, 28% so far this year).

Receiving pitches has historically been an issue for Sanchez, and the statistics back that assertion up.  In 2011, Sanchez allowed a whopping 26 passed balls in 60 games behind the plate, and there were rumors that he stopped calling breaking pitches because he had difficulty blocking them, and did not want to inflate the passed ball total any further.… Click here to read the rest

Nightly Links: Pineda, Sanchez, Garcia

  • Michael Pineda only went 2.2 innings tonight, and gave up 7 hits and 6 earned runs. It’s impossible to make anything of this yet (though I’m sure one ESPN beat writer will) since Pineda’s velocity was sitting slightly higher at 91, and a lot of the hits were squeakers through the infield. Offensively so far, Curtis Granderson hit a 2 run homerun off Jonathan Papelbon. (Game Day)
  • Bronx Baseball Daily explains why Gary Sanchez is poised for a huge season in the minors. With the type of potential he has, a breakout season could propel him to the top of a lot more prospect lists.
  • There are a few bits from Trenton beat writer Josh Norris, first he has the current rosters for the Yankees’ minor league systems. Second, he has video of the newest Yankee prospect Rafael DePaula. From what I can tell, the ball comes out of his hand extremely easy.
Click here to read the rest