New York Yankees: Gary Sanchez Erasing The Jesus Montero Memory
Joe Nicholson, USATSI

In just 19 games, New York Yankees’ rookie catcher and growing sensation Gary Sanchez has made his mark in pinstripe history and asks us the question: Jesus Montero who?

A decade ago, New York Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman picked up what everyone called a hot and powerful commodity. At the age of 16, Jesus Montero was named the best available player in the international free agent class and they had him in the bag.

He would go on to make his debut the following year with the Yankees’ rookie league affiliate, the Gulf Coast Yankees. The plan was to groom him and when the Jorge Posada era ended, Montero would take the mantel.

His name was on the tip of everyone’s tongue from the clubhouse to the bleacher creatures. Everyone was excited to see “the future” of the franchise in action.

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In 2011, on the very first day of September call-ups, Montero had his chance. In 18 games that year, he didn’t disappoint in the slightest. He finished with a .328 batting average, knocking in 28 RBIs and launching four homers.

Those are great stats but when you’re considered to be the Yankees’ best prospect and the league’s fourth-best prospect, sustained production is expected.

Perhaps the production that we’re seeing from Sanchez?

In 19 games, Sanchez has already started a new page in the Yankees’ history book, becoming the first player in franchise history to hit eight home runs in the first 19 games played. Since coming up in early August, he has posted a .385 batting average with 15 RBIs while scoring 13 runs.

What’s the connection between Sanchez and Montero, though?

Everybody knocked down Cashman when he traded away Montero to the Seattle Mariners in return for Michael Pineda and Jose Campos. Pineda is a work in progress and, well, Campos is still lingering in the minor league system.

But even Cashman admitted that he might’ve traded the best player he ever had.

Sanchez is just proving how wrong we all were, even Cashman.

Like Montero, Sanchez was signed as an international free agent and was ranked seventh on the Yankees’ top prospect list. In 2011, he would go on to make his professional debut for the Gulf Coast Yankees and moved up the ladder quickly.

When Montero was traded in 2012, everyone started to scratch their head and were asking, “Who’s going to be the Yankees’ catcher?”

“Will we ever get a Posada?”

Since being dealt, his scouting report has been thrown out the window and, frankly, he hasn’t lived up to his expectations, something that’s made Cashman look smart.

While Sanchez represented the team in 2015 in the All-Star Futures Game, Montero was floating around the Mariners’ system, eventually making his way to the Toronto Blue Jays.

With McCann slowly on the decline, the 23-year-old is securing the starting role along with our thought on who the real future of the Yankees really is.

Now, the question at hand is where does Sanchez go from here? Does he have it in him to be the Yankees’ starting catcher for the next decade? Or is he simply the next Montero?

If he stays away from the injuries and any PED scandals, Cashman and the rest of the front office personnel won’t let this kid go, especially if he continues anywhere near this kind of production.

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