Our collective evaluation of Gary Sanchez is weird. He puts up solid batting lines every year while being consistently younger than the league average and yet he's almost considered to be a flop by many who follow the Yankees system. Don't get me wrong, to a certain extent he has been a disappointment; for all the promise and hype surrounding him a few years back he has done nothing to turn that imaginary prospect into reality. When his defensive abilities behind the plate and his attitude in the clubhouse are constantly in question, he's going to have to absolutely rake to compensate, but so far the offensive barrage we've all been waiting for just isn't happening. However, considering he's only 21, is it really fair to demand more?
In 2014, Sanchez had a solid, if unspectacular, offensive year for a catcher, hitting .270/.338/.406 with 13 home runs at the Double-A level. His peripherals left a little to be desired when he compiled a 19.1% K-rate and 9.0% walk-rate, though neither were disastrous, given his tool set. The biggest issue was that on top of the middling offensive numbers, he also managed to get benched for an entire week for some form of clubhouse issue that has remained undisclosed. His attitude and maturity has been an ongoing discussion over the last few seasons and the Yankees seemed to confirm what everyone already expected anyway. The benching didn't look good for his prospect status, and in the end MLB.com, Baseball America, and Baseball Prospectus all dropped him from their top 100 prospect lists heading into the 2015 season.
The book is obviously far from closed for Gary Sanchez, but things aren't exactly going in the right direction for him. I wouldn't be surprised if he stays in Double-A Trenton to begin the 2015 season, just because there's no real reason to rush him at this point. A league-average bat behind the plate isn't a bad thing, but when you pair it with poor defense and a bad attitude, it's going to be hard to see things get any better for him. Seeing as how he could be in Triple-A as a 22-year-old at some point this season, he still has upside and some prospect status left that could make him an intriguing trade piece at some point over the season. He isn't Mason Williams bad, but it might be a good idea for the Yankees to unload Sanchez before he is. Time will tell, but it might also change nothing. Just as Sanchez was going to be the catcher of the future when Jesus Montero was traded, Luis Torrens might ultimately usurp him at some point if things don't change soon.