Tag Archives: Yolmer Sanchez

A Home for Yolmer

While folks have been making the rounds dreaming up scenarios that ship off Jose Abreu or Avisail Garcia this Winter for a return of riches, they’ve been forgetting about the rest of the Chicago White Sox and what other interests might be on the roster.

Though it’s been most popularly speculated that Abreu and Garcia would draw interest from teams and are most likely to be moved to amass prospects, smaller deals may come into play for the White Sox, too. There are always teams on the lookout for a simple upgrade—such as a super-utility type player or left-handed bench bat—and could be interested in Yolmer Sanchez. That’s right, clubhouse goofball and Sanchez, recent discovered as a steady,everyday ballplayer could be garnering interest from perspective trade suitors.

Though GM Rick Hahn seems to have made most Sox fans accustomed to the blockbuster style deal that happens in a hurry, not all his dealings will be as boisterous as in the past.

Sanchez is an interesting case this offseason. After three years as a plug-and-play option on the White Sox, he finally saw 141 games of steady playing time in 2017. And the progress he made was quite transformative.

Perhaps, for Sanchez, seeing more time at the plate has helped his offense blossom. Take a look at Sanchez’s stats for the three years he spent in the majors getting just 687 plate appearances under his belt, as compared to 2017, when he saw 534 trips to the plate in just that season alone:

2014-2016 .224 .261 .330 21.5 3.9
2017 .267 .319 .413 20.8 6.6

Though it may not appear that Sanchez has done much to improve his strikeout rate, he did drop it 5 percentage points from 2016’s 25.8 percent.

What really seemed to flourish with extra time in the batter box was Sanchez’s plate discipline. Of course, though Sanchez still had a swinging strike rate of 11 percent in 2017, his walk rate nearly doubled in 2017, which certainly correlates with the increase in on-base percentage. Sanchez also hit for more power than you’d expect a 5’11” utility bat to hit for, blasting a career high 12 home runs into the seats last year. His previous career high was five home runs in 2015.

On the defensive side, Sanchez proved his glove plays sufficiently at multiple positions on the diamond, and not only overcame a career of negative WAR totals, but actually became a 2.1 WAR player according to FanGraphs.

Third base has been a question mark for the White Sox for sometime now. With Matt Davidson showing off his raw power last season—but not much else—and third baseman of the future Jake Burger still a few years away. If talks with Manny Machado die down, Sanchez may be best kept aboard as the White Sox’s starting third baseman in 2018. Perhaps a starting role, or at least most of a shared role, could help Sanchez solidify his value as a strong defensive utility infielder that comes with a bat that truly has some pop.

Another option would be for the White Sox to begin the season with Sanchez at third base and perhaps sprinkled elsewhere, then trade him at the trade deadline when a team needs a little more push or to fill a need left by injury.

With Tyler Saladino looking to be back in the fold as long as health permits in 2018 and Tim Anderson not moving over anytime soon, Sanchez and Saladino could create a crowded infield dynamic, though one of them would be easily relegated to a bench type role. However during the season impromptu opportunities often arise and, for the White Sox, having a valuable piece in Sanchez simply to aid in making a larger deal more palatable for another team is an important asset to possess during a rebuild.

Perhaps Sanchez can best serve the White Sox as their everyday third baseman and switch hitter in 2018, but that need can change in an instant—and if he does, the White Sox will be ready to deal.

With An Eye Toward the Future

As the season winds down for the White Sox, a few of the younger bats have been heating up. Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada, and Yolmer Sanchez have all been on a run in the final weeks of the 2017 season. They’ve been the kind of runs that, coupled with the continued stellar production from Avi Garcia and Jose Abreu, make you wonder about just how quickly the White Sox rebuild can take shape.

Anderson’s first four months were tough, to say the least. What he had to deal with off the field was tragic and well-documented. In August, once he was able to start sleeping and dealing with the death of his best friend—a brother, nearly—Anderson’s performance on the field began to come around.

He’s picked up 30 points in batting average from August 1st to now. In 41 games, he’s slashed .320/.331/.543 and reminded most of his rookie campaign.

As for Moncada, Jose Abreu has helped in ways other than lineup protection. Although Abreu hitting behind Moncada and doing his best impression of a wrecking ball (.337/.380/.639 over the last two months) can’t hurt. Abreu suggested that Moncada use a lighter bat. A new shipment of lumber arrived for the White Sox rookie in time for the four-game series against the Royals on September 11th.

Since, Moncada has hit .448 over six games. He’s hit two homers and a triple. He’s driven in six and registered multi-hit games in four of the six. Quite simply, he’s been the sensation White Sox fans and front office alike were hoping for.

Yolmer Sanchez, who’s often been one of the younger players at whatever level of the minors he’s competed at, has shown enough extra-base pop to open eyes. His plate discipline has improved by quite a stretch as well. Through his first 687 MLB plate appearances, his OBP sat at .261. This season it seems regular playing time has benefited the 25 year-old infielder. His OBP is up a full 40 points (.320) and he’s added 11 home runs for good measure.

White Sox manager Ricky Renteria has been quick to say that while Sanchez may not be the double-digit home run type in the future, he’s a big proponent of what Yolmer adds defensively—especially at third.

Each of these three players are, to differing degrees, important to the rebuild. Moncada may very-well be the face of the transition. Anderson, perhaps, a potential steadying force. Sanchez, a meaningful bonus. Regardless of import, we’ll watch each try and carry hot finishes into the start of the 2018 season.

The Only Yolmer in the Game

Yolmer Sanchez has been a killer on the auto correct of many a White Sox beat writer since day one of Spring Training. Yolmer (whose name my auto correct wants to change to Holmer) is the only Yolmer to have ever played Major League Baseball. Yolmer is an up-beat, positive guy in the clubhouse. He seems to always call people “my friend,” whether he knows their name or not. Yolmer has been a favorite of White Sox manager Ricky Renteria since the latter took the job… and possibly even before. It’s possible it’s because of the former’s personality but, more likely, because of his production.

Yolmer (I’m going to buck convention and keep using his first name in this post so as to teach my auto correct a lesson) has been an everyday player since April 25th. The Sox have played 22 games over that stretch and Yolmer has started 15 and played in 19. Over the 61 at bats he’s accrued in that run, he’s slashing .361/.412/.475.

Two immediate issues have allowed for Yolmer to take the bulk of the playing time since the April showers turned to… well… May showers.

One: The White Sox have been desperate for left handed production in the lineup. As a switch hitter, Yolmer provides in that department. Renteria has hit Yolmer mostly in the two- or seven-spot in the lineup and, while the Sox really could use a left hander who’s a middle-of-the-order thumper, it’s worked out well.

Two: Tyler Saladino, despite taking the second longest average at-bats for the White Sox this year (4.45 pitches per plate appearance, a rate that would be good for a top-five placement in MLB if he was qualified with enough PAs), hasn’t been able to put the ball in play enough. Saladino has walked plenty (13 walks is second on the team, behind Omar Narvaez and Todd Frazier) but his 34 strikeouts (also good for third on the team, behind Matt Davidson and Tim Anderson) have been too much to bear.

That brings us to the tipping point, perhaps, on Yolmer. He hasn’t walked a whole lot—just six times in 99 trips—but his 21 K’s are somewhat concerning. That Yolmer likes to swing isn’t a bad thing in a vacuum, it’s just that the White Sox have plenty of hitters who fit that description.

While the White Sox wait for Yoan Moncada (heir to the keystone and potential usurper of Most Popular White Sox Whose First Name Starts With A ‘Y’) it will be interesting to see how quickly Renteria shuffles his options at second base.

Brett Lawrie Released

The White Sox have requested waivers on second baseman Brett Lawrie for the purposes of granting his unconditional release. Lawrie’s last game with the Sox, it seems, was July 21st of the 2016 season. Numerous leg injuries Lawrie attributed to wearing orthotics for the first time in his career sidelined him for the vast majority of the second half.

Releasing Lawrie, however, was a philosophical decision by the organization not cutting bait on an injured player.

“As we talked about throughout this offseason, part of this process of building something sustainable for the future involves making some difficult decisions and today was a difficult decision,” GM Rick Hahn said. “Brett is a talented player who, no doubt in any of our minds, will help a club this season. At the same time we are committed to giving an opportunity to several of our young players–players who are going to be here for an extended period of time and we want to find out about.”

Lawrie (who slashed .248/.310/.413 with 12 HRs and 36 RBI) started 2016 on a tear and was part of the reason the Sox were able to get off to such a hot start while Abreu and other struggled at the plate. He was acquired December 9th, 2015 when the Sox sent JB Wendleken and Zack Erwin to the A’s.

After resigning Lawrie for the 2017 season for $3.5 million dollars, it was widely thought that Lawrie, if he got off to a hot start like last year, could be trade bait as the White Sox continued their rebuild. Health would be a big factor, however, as up until his release, Lawrie had not been able to get into a game. He’d been recovering, still, from nagging injuries related to orthotics and told reporters late last week that he was “close” to being comfortable enough to get into games.

With Lawrie’s release, Tyler Saladino and Yolmer Sanchez figure to be the replacements at the keystone at least until top prospect Yoan Moncada is ready for the Big Leagues. The White Sox currently have 38 players on the 40-man roster with 59 players in camp. First baseman Jose Abreu returned from his testimony in a Miami court and is in the lineup for tonight’s game against the Padres. The White Sox will be on the hook for just under $600,000 of Lawrie’s $3.5 million dollar deal. The major league minimum salary is $535,000 for 2017.