ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 20: Gary Sanchez #24 of the New York Yankees hits a solo home run in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 20, 2016 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Yankee catcher Gary Sanchez is one of three American League finalists for the 2016 Rookie of the Year award. Detroit Tiger pitcher Michael Fulmer and Indians outfielder Tyler Naquin join Sanchez as the other finalist.
Gary Sanchez, Michael Fulmer and Tyler Naquin are finalists for the American League Rookie of the Year, as announced on @MLBNetwork.
For someone who played in only 53 games in 2016, it does not seem likely that Sanchez will win the award but to be in the discussion shows how special his time in the Bronx was. However, it should not come as a surprise if Sanchez were to take home the award. He hit .299/.376/.657 with 2o home runs in those 53 games. Sanchez was the fastest to 20 home runs in Major League history and sparked a Yankee team into contention in September.
Harold Reynolds on AL Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year finalist @ElGarySanchez: “He made the #Yankees relevant in the month of September.”
Fulmer appeared to run away with the award for most of the season. However, down the stretch Fulmer struggled. The 23-year-old still finished the year 11-7 with a 3.06 earned run average in 159.0 innings. In the middle of July, Fulmer had his ERA down to 2.11 but a tough September saw his ERA jump over three. Still, Fulmer was exceptional for the Tigers and appears to be the favorite for the award.
Naquin might not have the popularity or flash Sanchez and Fulmer have but he was the starting center fielder for the American League Champion Indians and turned in a solid rookie campaign. Naquin hit .296 with 14 home runs in 116 games. He also played an exceptional center field, committing only two errors all season.
This year’s race should be very close with all three having reasons for winning. The only player to win the award playing fewer games than Sanchez is Willie McCovey who appeared in 52 games for the 1959 San Francisco Giants.
For Yankee fans, a full season of Sanchez is something everyone is looking forward too and Brian Cashman has already made it clear that Sanchez is the starting catcher going into the 2017 season.