Carlos Sanchez trying to show Sox he's second to none
When Gordon Beckham was traded to the Los Angeles Angels last week, the White Sox sought out a new second baseman for the first time in over five years.
Micah Johnson is the odds-on favorite to man the starting job when the 2015 season opens, but the promising Class AAA Charlotte prospect is on the shelf for the remainder of this year with a hamstring injury.
For now, Carlos Sanchez has taken over for Beckham, and the 22-year-old switch-hitter realizes he's been given a golden opportunity to prove his worth.
"I am very aware that the White Sox have very good prospects and players coming up, which is the case with Marcus Semien and which is the case with Micah Johnson," Sanchez said through an interpreter Wednesday before making his fifth straight start at second base. "But I'm going to do my best and try to show the team what I can do and go from there."
Sanchez is off to a solid start. Since coming up from Charlotte on Thursday, he's hit with authority and has shown he can play solid defense.
"The first game, I think like with most young players, you sort of see the element of, 'Wow, this game's really fast up here. I've got to speed up my game,' and I think we might have seen a little of that in New York," Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "He was playing a little quick. At the same time, you've seen the reason we like him. You've seen the range, you've seen the baseball acumen. If we can tone down the eagerness a little bit and get him to be selectively aggressive in certain elements of the game, I think that's going to help him."
While Johnson would undoubtedly be playing second base for the White Sox now if he was healthy, Sanchez is not a bad second option.
The Venezuela native had a .293/.349/.412 hitting line at Charlotte along with 6 triples, 7 home runs, 57 RBI and 16 stolen bases in 110 games.
Even though he speaks little English, Sanchez's self confidence comes shining through.
"I have a lot confidence in my talent and in my abilities, and I think I can play at this level for a long time," he said. "I do thank God for giving me the tools and the abilities to be here."
If Sanchez has to give way to Johnson next season, he can also play shortstop and third base. At worst, he looks like a pretty good utility infielder.
"I am an natural second baseman, but I can play shortstop as well," Sanchez said. "Obviously, I feel more comfortable at second base only because I have played more at second base. But I also feel comfortable at shortstop.
"First and foremost is staying healthy. And second of all, just continue to work on the things I've been working on. I want to make sure I belong here, that I can play here."