Yankees rookie catcher Gary Sanchez was named Player of the Week today for the games from August 22-28. He is the first rookie in MLB history to win American League Player of the Week two weeks in a row. He is also the first AL player to win Player of the Week twice in a row since Albert Belle did so for the Chicago White Sox in July of 1998.
“I think it is hard not to look at Gary Sanchez and be in awe of what he has done,” Joe Girardi said.
In the six games through August 28, Sanchez had an outstanding .522 average (12-23) with three doubles, five homers, seven runs scored and nine RBI. He also had a remarkable 1.911 OPS. In addition to being in the record books for his consecutive Player of the Week awards, he was also the fastest player in Major League history to reach 11 homers. He reached that milestone in 23 career games.
Sanchez, who is 23 years old, hit at least one home run in four of the six games in the last week and also had two games with two hits and two games with three hits.
“I don’t have an explanation for it,” Sanchez said through an interpreter. “I’m doing the same routine that I was doing in the Minor Leagues, I’m doing it here. I’m getting really good results right now. That’s it.”
The catcher has done a good job making adjustments within games and within at-bats. “When I have two strikes I try to shorten the swing,” Sanchez said when interviewed by MLB Network. “I am just trying to put a good swing on the ball. It is just instinct right now.”
John Sterling says “Gary is scary” in his home run call for Sanchez and scary is exactly what he has been for opposing pitchers. He has been a major factor in the Yankees getting back in the wild card race. It appears that he will continue to be a productive bat for the rest of the season even though he obviously will not be able to continue at the pace he has the last week.
Besides his offense, Sanchez has been able to take charge behind the plate while impressively throwing out six of the nine runners that have attempted to steal on him. He has always been known for his offense but his defense has greatly improved.