20. Gary Sanchez, C, New York Yankees
Sanchez can stand out in crowd
Sanchez was signed as an non-drafted free agent by the Bronx Bombers in July of 2009, and he didn't make his pro debut until 2010. After hitting eight homers in '10, Sanchez has blasted 17 and 18 dingers in each of the past two seasons at Class A. Aside from his .256 average in 2011, he's also shown the ability to hit for a high average (.329 in '10 and .290 last year) for a catcher.
This 20-year-old Dominican leads the way in terms of prospects in the organization, and he's an offensive-minded backstop that has risen through the minor league ranks thanks to a powerful bat in part because of his strong, 6-foot-2, 220-pound frame. He has no problems crushing fastballs and excels against left-handed pitching. The defensive side of his game has been lacking, and despite improvements recently, the Yankees are content to let him develop that side of his game before calling on him in the bigs.
Sanchez's raw strength and natural swing give him plenty of offensive upside at the next level, and his above-average plate discipline make him a realistic candidate for a BA near .300 and around 25 homers. Francisco Cervelli, barring a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, should serve as the primary catcher this year. Austin Romine could pose playing time obstacles to Sanchez in the short term, but New York sees Sanchez as the long-term solution behind the dish. He'll get the call when they feel his defense is major league-ready, and considering the lack of offensive-minded backstops, Sanchez can become an elite fantasy baseball catcher. He should be starting for the Yanks by 2015.
Top fantasy baseball prospects - AL 1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-20 | 21-25
Top fantasy baseball prospects - NL 1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-20 | 21-25
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
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