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Prospect Note: Gary Sanchez, C, Yankees

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Gary Sanchez
Gary Sanchez
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

New York Yankees catching prospect Gary Sanchez is off to an excellent start in 2013. Catching for the High-A Tampa Yankees in the Florida State League, Sanchez is .306/.386/.542 through 19 games with eight walks and 15 strikeouts in 83 plate appearances. He currently ranks eighth in the Florida State League in OPS. Keep in mind that the FSL is a pitching-oriented circuit.

Sanchez did play 48 games for Tampa in 2012, hitting .279/.330/.436. While he is technically a league repeater, he is still reasonably young for the level, having turned 20 this past December. His status does make it more likely that the Yankees will be willing to promote him to Double-A if he continues to hit at this pace.

His hitting skills have never been doubted; they earned him a $3,000,000 bonus out of the Dominican Republic in 2009. There have been questions about his defense. His arm strength is excellent, but he's had problems with his receiving and footwork in the past. However, Sanchez has made good progress behind the plate and is playing quite well defensively this year, throwing out 43% of runners while giving up just one error and zero passed balls thus far.

Sanchez was already an elite offensive prospect. If he continues to play this well defensively, he will jump even higher on the prospect charts. I had him ranked at Number 46 on my pre-season Top 150 Prospects for 2013 List. Continued progress behind the plate likely vaults him into the Top 20 for 2014, perhaps higher.