Yankees rookie catcher Gary Sanchez is the best baseball player ever to play baseball in the history of baseball. I know that because the New York sports writers say he is. So do the east-coast radio personalities on MLB Network TV and radio.
“He has turned the Yankees season around,” was what one commentator said last night. Turned it around. Just like that. One rookie.
When they brought up Sanchez for good on August 3 (he played one game in May), the Yankees were in fourth place, 7.5 games out of first.
Thursday, the Yankees were in fourth place, 10.5 games out of first.
Turn. A. Round.
What a difference Sanchez has made. He single-handedly transformed the Yankees from a fourth-place team into a fourth-place team. You wouldn’t even recognize that as the same team anymore. Just ask any Yankees fan when they say, “Who are these bums?”
Anybody who has had that much of an impact on a pennant race deserves Rookie of the Year. Without question. Sanchez is so amazing as a catcher, with what he has done with that pitching staff in his fifty games, a strong argument could be made he deserves the Cy Young award as well.
The Hall of Fame is deciding which cap he wears upon his induction.
The Vatican has him up for popehood.
The New York Yankees have their new Babe Ruth.
The Texas Rangers, on the other hand, really struggled this year to find a competent, qualified rookie. The best they could muster was Nomar Mazara, a distant fourth-best rookie in the minds of the baseball experts who are experts on baseball expertise.
Let’s see how right the experts are.
As of Thursday, Gary Sanchez had played fifty games this season. Let’s compare his numbers to Mazara’s at each ten-game interval. (I ignored the two hitless at-bats he got in two games at the end of last season.)
Rookie of the Year voters, take note.
While Sanchez’s power and production numbers are, to be honest, pretty impressive, they were also fairly contained to a monumentally incredible ten-game stretch between his eleventh and twentieth game.
Eight of his twenty home runs came in that span. Fourteen of his forty-two RBIs did as well.
Every other ten-game span he has averaged 2.75 home runs, and 7 RBIs.
Mazara averaged 2.0 home runs and 5.4 RBIs every ten games through his first fifty. Not as good as Gary Sanchez, granted, but very close. But also not so amazing that Sanchez deserves the award hands down and nobody else is even close.
You can’t take away that monster ten games Sanchez racked up. Rookie or not, eight home runs is a half season for most guys. And fourteen RBIs is a typical good player’s month. He just happened to do that in New York, the only place on Earth that matters.
But after his twentieth game, he really tailed off. Unless your name is Mike Trout, all rookies do.
Sanchez has the benefit of running out of games before he totally runs out of steam. The dog days of the summer that Mazara had to endure, where he had to prove he wasn’t a flash in the pan, where he had to make adjustments and counter adjustments and re-adjustments, Sanchez won’t have to endure.
The season will conveniently end for him. And not a moment too soon.
Last night, in his fifty-first game, Sanchez went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. His average fell to .303.
Mazara, by the way, went 2-for-4 in his fifty-first game to raise his average to .321.
Pity he didn’t do that in New York. He’d be the MVP. And the mayor.
Matt Andriese (8-7, 4.34) vs. Yu Darvish (6-5, 3.53)
Game time: 7:05
TEXAS 94-65, BOSTON 92-67 (-2.0), CLEVELAND 91-67 (-2.5)