Veteran White Sox utility player having solid season on the South Side. Can team expect repeat performance from him in 2018?
So far in the 2017 season, Yolmer Sanchez has proven his worth to the Chicago White Sox both in the field and at the plate. For a player whose average failed to break .230 in either 2015 or 2016, this year Sanchez burst through in a way many did not expect. Should we believe that Sanchez will continue performing at a solid level in future? Let’s delve into the numbers to find out.
First and foremost, the biggest change has nothing to do with age or an offseason but a manager. When Rick Renteria took over for Robin Ventura in this year, many talented youngsters played up to their potential. The most notable case of this is Avisail Garcia, however his situation far exceeds Sanchez’s.
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Now, how well has Sanchez played? To put it mildly, he has been the epitome of what a utility infielder should be. Play four positions (one in the outfield), not to mention bring an element of speed to the table. As for his speed, Sanchez swiped eight bags in sixteen tries and he has eight triples. Given the stolen base percentage is not the best, Sanchez provides the Sox an option off of the bench in pinch running situations.
An even greater improvement would be in his home run power. Considering that Sanchez hit nine home runs in 643 at bats prior to 2017 (1 per 71.4 AB), he has gone deep eleven times in 448 trips to the plate so far season (1 per 40.7 at-bats). While that is far from an elite home run rate, keep in mind it is much better than in previous campaigns (outside of 2016 when he had a ratio of 1 per 38.5 however it was only in 154 AB’s).
Before 2017 began, Sanchez was known as an all-glove, no-bat player. Even though his bat has finally come around, Sanchez still is a steady defender regardless of where you put him on the field. He has a +1.6 DWAR at four positions (second base, shortstop, third base, and right field), not to mention only eight errors in 124 defensive games played. That equates to one miscue every 15.5 games sent to defend the pitcher.
Before we wrap up, the big question has yet to be answered. Will Sanchez continue to play at this level? The response to that is complicated, mostly due to the fact that while he has always been a great glove man, Sanchez does have the ability to hit. When he was a top prospect in the Sox system (given it was awful at the time), he was expected to be a solid hitter. Will he consistently hit 15 or more home runs per season? Maybe not, but it is possible that Sanchez provides a solid option off of the bench for the South Siders.
All in all, Sanchez is one of many exciting young players the Sox have at the major and minor league levels. If the front office thinks they have something better below the big club trading him is always an option, however having him around is a fantastic luxury for them moving forward for many of the aforementioned abilities listed above.
Ready for the final homestand of the season, Sox fans? Goes by quick, doesn’t it?