As the 6'2" 220-pound catcher entered the 2011 Spring Training, there was only so much that the 18-year old Dominican Republic native could work on. Gifted with a big league body and a swinging stroke that is extremely smooth and fluent through the zone, he went into spring with the mindset to improve his defensive skills.
"I didn't work on my hitting that much," Sanchez said through a translator. "I really only worked on my defense like calling pitches, balls in the dirt and just being a strong presence behind the plate."
With power and gap-to-gap hitting capabilities that Sanchez provides at such a young age, his future looks as bright as a star. After playing in the Gulf Coast League and Staten Island in 2010, he hit for a combined .329 with 57 hits and adding an impressive .393 on base percentage in only 47 games.
As the 2011 campaign was set to start, Sanchez found himself heading to Charleston, South Carolina where he would be starting the season in low-A. When the season kicked off, not everything went according to plan for Sanchez.
His hitting stats were nothing more than poor and his overall game was struggling. With his struggles evident, Sanchez believes that it was just a learning experience and a time of adjustment.
"At first I was getting my feet wet, I was little uncomfortable," said Sanchez when asked about his early season struggles. "I was trying to get a feel for playing at night and everything but in May I started to feel good and everything felt back to normal again."
Sanchez is currently sporting a .238 batting average with 29 hits and 37 strikeouts in his 37 games played so far. With his statistics somewhat hard to look at for Sanchez and the Yankees, given his talent, one bright spot does appear in his last ten games, he is starting to heat up.
In his last ten games he is batting .314 with three home runs and 10 RBIs while also walking ten times which has gave Sanchez a highly impressive on base percentage of .455.
With his last game in Charleston played on May, 20, the streaking Sanchez has not played another game for them since. He has been sent down to Tampa and has been playing Extended Spring Training games for the past two weeks.
When rumors swarm that he was injured, Sanchez took no time to make sure he wasn't giving any information out to the public.
"I don't want to talk about it," Sanchez said when asked about his undisclosed injury.
With Sanchez in the lineup for the Yankees Extended squad, his supposed injury seems to be just fine as he has been smoking the ball at the plate. On Friday afternoon Sanchez went 3-4 with two hard-hit singles and a booming double in the first inning scoring two.
If there is any discussion or worry that Sanchez is actually hurt, it would come behind the plate. On Friday he let up two passed balls, and on Thursday he suffered 3 passed balls. After some of the mishaps behind the dish, he appeared to look at his left thumb either in pain or confusion.
There is no time table for Sanchez on how long he will stay down in Tampa, but according to Sanchez he feels fine.
"I feel ready now, everything is fine," said a short-talking Sanchez when asked when he will back to 100 percent on the field.
As Extended finished up on Friday afternoon, time will tell where Sanchez will continue his 2011 season. The Yankees number two rated catcher and one of their top minor league prospects seems to be getting hot at the plate, but where he ends up and how his supposed injury feels will have to be put to the back-burner, for now.
Period Of Adjustment For Sanchez
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