Sanchez Just Needs To Keep It Going

Sanchez should be back in the lineup soon

Despite having only one home run this season [a blast hit Tuesday in Charleston], Gary Sanchez still manages to be one of the most feared hitters in the Yankee organization and a dominant defensive force on the Charleston RiverDogs.

"He's done a really nice job this first month," hitting coach Greg Colbrunn explained. "Even though he doesn't have many home runs he has still swung the bat pretty good."

Pretty good is an understatement. Sanchez is currently ranked the #5 Yankee prospect in hitting with 12 runs, 35 hits, 12 doubles, and 9 RBIs. He is currently batting .354 with an OBP of .407. Last season, Sanchez was twice named the SAL player of the week hitting .256 and maintaing an OBP of .335 with the River Dogs.

River Dogs' head coach Carlos Mendoza is very happy with the way the Santo Domingo native has been improving his game, and sees a promise in the 6-foot-2, 220 pound catcher.

"Last year helped him gain a lot experience," Mendoza said. "He's taken more control of the pitching staff -- the pitchers like to throw to him and that's always a good thing. We want him to be a leader and he's doing it so far.

"Defensively, he's been outstanding. He's done a great job calling the game and communicating with the pitchers. He's blocking, throwing to second -- people forget he is only 19. Offensively, everyone knows he can hit the ball. He's got power and he's having a good season so far."

Even though Sanchez has only been able to muster one home run so far this season, the coaching staff isn't worried.

"Home runs will come, that's not what we're concerned about. We're concerned about good at-bats," Colbrunn said. "He's hitting the ball hard and every game it seems like the wind is blowing in on us. His improvement from last year is very obvious. He's better balanced, more mature as a hitter, and a lot more confident."

Sanchez feels like his home run Tuesday represents a huge weight being lifted off his shoulders, and now feels like his season has been reborn.

"I had felt really anxious recently because I haven't hit a home run yet," Sanchez admitted through the help of a translator. "It's a huge relief to get over that and now I can focus on playing baseball.

"I just want to do the best I can and help my team win. I feel like a much better player compared to last year and it feels really good."

Even though Sanchez is already playing stellar baseball, both he and the coaching staff know there are always things to improve.

"I'm always working on everything, but right now it's mostly defense I'm focused on," Sanchez said. "Offensively, I'm just trying to make contact and put the ball in play."

"There is always room for improvement," Mendoza added. "For Gary, he just needs to keep communicating well with the pitchers, being a leader, and playing the game the way it's supposed to be played. All I want him to do is keep playing the way he's been playing and have fun."

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