Gary Sanchez has often been compared to Jesus Montero, and with good reason. Both are power-hitting catching prospects with defensive questions and occasional attitude problems. Both players have also raised the level of their games over the summer after a slow (by their standards) start to the season had prospectors worrying about their long-term projection. Montero’s performance has been well discussed around the blogosphere, but Sanchez’s August performance has been so ridiculous that I thought it was worthy of mention. Looking at the numbers also made me curious about how Sanchez stacks up to Montero at the same age.
In 8 August games (SSS, I know), Sanchez has put up a silly .448/.529/1.702 line with 7 home runs. This hot streak has made Sanchez’s previously pedestrian season numbers look more impressive. While his .253 BA and .336 OBP are well below his standards from 2010, his 17 home runs are as many as Montero hit over an entire season at the same level and age as Sanchez during the 2008 season.
Sanchez’s home run power may be exceeding that of Montero at the same age, but he has not done as well as Montero in some other areas. Strikeouts in particular have been a problem for Sanchez this year, with 93 in 81 games. Montero had 83 strikeouts in 132 games, showing that this contact tool was probably ahead of Sanchez’s at the same age. Further evidence of this difference can be demonstrated by the disparity in batting average, as Montero batted .326 (it’s possibly BABIP luck could play a role here too, as Sanchez’s is .311 compared to Montero’s .362).
However, in Sanchez’s favor, he is one walk short of Montero’s season total for 2008, possibly indicative of better plate discipline at the same age. It is by no means elite plate discipline, but it also shows that Sanchez is not hacking at everything.
It’s certainly not reasonable to put Sanchez in Montero’s class yet, but it is worthy of note that at the same age, Sanchez will likely end the season with more homers and walks than Montero did in 2008, albeit with a much lower batting average. Sanchez also comes with a lot of the same defensive questions as Montero, though scouts still are more bullish on his ability to stick at catcher long term. Sanchez’s low BA and high strikeout rate are certainly causes for concern going forward, but the home run power and ability to draw a walk at 18 in full season ball is certainly encouraging to see. It will be interesting to see how Sanchez ends the season, and if he continues to hit well, he could end up with a lofty ranking (despite being dropped down many lists midseason due to pedestrian numbers, defense, and makeup issues). Montero of course was able to maintain his beastly offensive performance at the higher levels, which will be the next step for Sanchez if he is able to finish 2011 strong.
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