Thursday, September 22, 2016

Gary Sanchez is NOT Kevin Maas


Gary Sanchez is a man possessed and will not be stopped this season after Brian Cashman unleashed the Kraken on the league earlier this season. Sanchez has done nothing but unload on almost every pitcher thrown in front of him this season while also adding great defense and game calling behind the plate but while most are happy to see one of the Baby Bombers not only get a chance and succeed there are others who have to question how real this run really is. Some expected Sanchez to cool off by now, and he hasn’t while others have gone as far as to compare Sanchez to another couple of Yankees who started hot only to fizzle away, Shane Spencer and more notably a former Yankees first baseman named Kevin Maas.

Shane Spencer came up in 1998 only to belt 10 home runs in first 67 at bats helping the Yankees to a World Series ring and 114 victories while Kevin Maas hit 13 home runs in his first 110 at bats back in 1990. The similarities in them both are that both had careers that started hot and both had careers that quickly fizzled out but what Maas has that makes him unique to Spencer is that Maas was once considered a Yankees top prospect, like Sanchez, where Spencer was not.

One has to keep in mind that Sanchez has never hit the ball with this much authority in his career, not even in the lowest levels of the minor leagues, so a regression is in store for the Yankees catcher and his fans. The thing about Sanchez though is that he’s pretty much always been solid, especially for a catcher, offensively speaking so even with a regression to say .275 with 20-30 home runs that’s still something special for a 23-year old and a catcher in general.

Unlike Maas and Spencer, and Jesus Montero before him as well, he has the defense to stick and the on-base percentage to allow you to wait out the lows in order to reap the benefits of the highs. He may never hit in the .350’s again and he may never be on pace to hit something like 200 home runs in a season, I’m just guessing and exaggerating slightly, but having watched Sanchez as a 16-year old kid to what he has developed into today I just can’t see him falling by the wayside like Maas and Spencer. I don’t have a stat to back that up or anything other than my gut and the eye test I’ve received in 2016 but this kid is just too good, too mature, too willing to put in the word and too cool under pressure to let the big lights of New York and MLB pitching affect him. He can hit fastballs and he can hit the offspeed stuff too and I just can’t think of anything that he can’t do. That’s why he will be successful. Write it down.


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