Earlier today, I spoke with John Manuel of Baseball America. Manuel's the man behind ranking the Yankees' top 10 prospects, which were released (in e-magazine form) late last month. During an hourlong interview, I asked him about a number of different topics relating to this year's rankings. Because the chat was so lengthy, I'm going to make a post out of each question. It's more easily digestible that way.
Question 2: The previous question seems to dovetail nicely into my next question. One of the bigger differences between Montero and Sanchez, as I see it, is a lack of want. There were a number of behavioral issues this year with Sanchez, whereas Montero, for all his failings behind the plate, has made it clear to anyone who will listen that he very badly wants to be a catcher long-term. What did your contacts say about Sanchez's make-up this year?
John Manuel: One of my notes from inside the organization definitely said 'I wish that you did not rank him second last year.' I think all players need to show that they can handle success and they all need to show that they can handle failure. For Sanchez, he hadn't had any failure until this year. He did not show that he can handle success that well. He didn't handle prosperity terribly well -- it seemed like it went to his head.
It does seem like he handled failure a little bit better. Once he got back on the field, he was better in the second half, it seemed like. That's all the reports that I have. Maybe he learned his lesson from that (organizational suspension). To me, the story of not wanting to call the breaking ball because he's afraid to get embarrassed, that's an immaturity thing. That's the kind of thing where you hope it gets worked out of his system.
I do think that a level of arrogance is necessary for all these players. I think you've got to go beyond confidence. I think there's a level of arrogance that you have to have to be a major leaguer, especially a star. He's got that.
One of the things that I think is most apparent on Twitter and on the Internet, especially with the media today, we don't seem to remember that the game is supposed to humble you. There are not a lot of humble writers who cover baseball anymore. Twitter, I guess, does not reward humility, but I think the game still does with players, and this is where you learn it. You learn it more in the South Atlantic League -- it's better for you to learn it in the South Atlantic League. I definitely think he got some of that (humility) this year.
Our indications and our reports are that he was better (in the second half). You're going to regain your confidence when you hit like he hit, so I think that is something he's always able to fall back on. He can fall out of bed hitting and he has some patience and he controls the strike zone pretty well for an 18-year-old and he has mad power. I think that this guy's offense is going to buy him time to grow up and to get better defensively.
Those two negatives are undeniable, but I like to focus on what the guy can do, and he can freakin' hit. I don't think that should be lost in detailing his defensive or maturity issues. Those can be fixed; it's hard to find catchers who can hit like him.