CHICAGO -- Yolmer Sanchez's antics -- the Mickey Mouse ears after hits, the clubhouse pranks, the interview videobombing -- aren't his role.They are just a part of who he is, and what he's trying to be.The 25-year-old utility man pitched in for the White Sox in a variety of ways
CHICAGO -- Yolmer Sanchez's antics -- the Mickey Mouse ears after hits, the clubhouse pranks, the interview videobombing -- aren't his role.
They are just a part of who he is, and what he's trying to be.
The 25-year-old utility man pitched in for the White Sox in a variety of ways in 2017 -- his third full big league season -- blossoming into an everyday player when injuries pressed him into duty while remaining a versatile option on manager Rick Renteria's bench. Sanchez has done it all with a smile on his face, too, and with good reason.
Sanchez said he's content with his life. Fatherhood has calmed him. His son, Noah, provides the same level of energy and just turned 2, and a new sense of family has matured him to the point where failure one day won't carry him into the next.
"A lot of people know I bring a lot of energy, but at the same time I worked really hard to get here in the big leagues," Sanchez said. "I've got a beautiful family, a beautiful wife, a beautiful son and they've helped me a lot.
"You get frustrated a lot in this game. But I know that when I got 0-for-5, when I get home and see these two people I forget everything about it and I come back the same day with that same energy."
Sanchez has always been strong with his glove, which has carried into 2017. He's responsible for 14 defensive runs saved across four positions so far, and he has proven to have Major League ability when it comes to his defense.
It's his evolving offensive game that could catapult Sanchez into a role with the next great White Sox club. Sanchez put together a career-best offensive season this year, posting a .734 OPS -- more than 100 points better than his previous best mark -- while also setting personal bests with 12 homers, 59 RBIs and eight triples. He's also shattered his previous best mark for bWAR, going from 0.7 in 2015 to 3.3 in '17.
Sanchez said an offseason training program in Charlotte, N.C. -- the home of Chicago's Triple-A affiliate -- changed his body and allowed him to display more strength at the plate.
"This offseason, it was the first time I trained like that," Sanchez said. "That helped me with my strength, with my power, and that's the key for me. This guy who trained me, he works with football players, soccer players.
"He's a personal trainer who helped me a lot, and training with him like three months. I feel the difference. When you get a professional, and he helps you, I've felt the difference since Spring Training."
Sanchez also tinkered with his swing from both sides of the plate, whether it be adjusting his hand placement as he loads up or changing his follow-through so that he keeps both hands on the bat. To his coaches, however, his development isn't that surprising.
"He has come a long way," said White Sox hitting coach Todd Steverson. "He's always been a good hitter. In terms of his hands, that's just position stuff and timing things. But he has a good eye, and he's got a good swing from both sides. His left-handed swing is what you see the most, but he's a good hitter."
Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com.