Sanchez turning heads with impressive start

Catcher socks ninth homer in Yankees win over Mariners

August 24th, 2016

SEATTLE -- As if the monstrous upper-deck home run on the first pitch he saw or the scalded double down the left-field line, or the two homers in the first game of this series weren't enough, the first thing the traveling band of Yankees reporters wanted to hear about was how a 23-year-old catcher with 21 games of Major League experience could get walked intentionally twice in one game.

Add another chapter to the story of the joy ride, which continued unabated Wednesday in the Yankees' 5-0 win over the Mariners. The prospect who has become a phenom in a few short weeks made his mark on yet another big league game, and now the history books, and he's done it all in a hurry.

Batting third in the Yankees lineup against Seattle starter on Wednesday afternoon, Sanchez hit a long home run, giving New York a 1-0 lead. Sanchez had entered the game with a staggering eight home runs in his first 69 Major League at-bats and quickly made it nine in 70.

"Outstanding," Yankees starter said through an interpreter when asked for his reaction to what Sanchez is doing these days. "Astonishing."

He also could have said legendary, because the Yankees catcher, who has been assaulting baseballs since his callup from Triple-A on Aug. 3, is also now putting a dent in some Yankees records.

Sanchez is one of five players in Major League history (since 1913) to record nine or more homers in his first 21 career games, joining (10 homers this year), George Scott (10 in 1966), Alvin Davis (nine in 1984) and Mandy Brooks (nine in 1925).

He's also one of nine players in Major League history (since 1913) to record 15 or more extra-base hits in his first 21 career games, joining Brooks (18 in 1925), Joe DiMaggio (17 in 1936), Roy Weatherly (16 in 1936), (16 in 2008), Story (15 this year), Scott (15 in 1966), Mitchell Page (15 in 1977) and Johnny Mize (15 in 1936).

According to Katie Sharp of River Avenue Blues, Sanchez joined Joe DiMaggio as the only other Yankee to have 10 or more extra-base hits within his first 16 career games, and he became the first Yankee ever with nine homers in his first 21 career games.

He's also in the top five of Yankees with the most hits in their first 20 games in the Major Leagues, with his 27 trailing only DiMaggio (37) and Oscar Azocar (28).

"I've never seen a young player come up and do what he's doing in nine years as a manager," Yankees skipper Joe Girardi said. "This is pretty remarkable, what he's doing."

The intentional walks seemed to be just another part of how remarkable this all is. Both times, Mariners manager Scott Servais elected to put Sanchez on and face instead.

"He's a good-looking young player," Servais said. "You certainly respect Teixeira and what he's done in his career. I've seen a lot of it. But you're playing the game, and watching with your naked eye, it's pretty obvious that he's hot. Sanchez had a heck of a series."

Sanchez said he was flattered by the mentions of his name amongst all those all-time greats but that he would prefer to keep things simple and focus at-bat to at-bat to keep the good vibes flowing.

"I'm just getting really good results right now," he said through an interpreter.

"I'm working hard, and I really don't have another explanation for it."