The Surprise Saguaros had eight hits and five runs in their 6-5 loss to the Peoria Javelinas in the opening game of the Arizona Fall League. Yankees prospects drove in all five of the Saguaros runs and came through with six of the eight hits, two from each of the three players in the lineup.
It was an all offensive day as no Yankees pitched on Tuesday, but clearly that didn’t stop Yankee prospects from making an impact. Batting cleanup and catching was Gary Sanchez. Sanchez had the best day of any batter in the game, with his best moment coming in the first inning. Sanchez turned on a Lucas Sims (the Braves 7th ranked prospect) 2-2 pitch and absolutely crushed it, putting it halfway up the grass berm just to the right of the left field bullpen.
Past balls are going to happen with more frequency, especially early in the Arizona Fall League, as catchers catch guys they have not caught in game action before that day, and Sanchez was guilty of this as well. Despite letting a couple pitches get away that you would otherwise like to see him keep in front of him, he did show the ability to pick a bad ball in the dirt a few times which caught the eye of a highly thought of scout. When it comes to receiving, he jabbed at the ball more than you want to see, but he is good enough to stick behind the plate and there is no denying his bat has the potential to be special, especially for a catcher. While his receiving ability left something to be desired, he did show off a strong arm in nearly back picking a guy at second base.
The right side of the Saguaro infield was made up of a pair of Yankees with Tyler Austin at first base and Tyler Wade at second. In the first inning, Wade nearly took Austin out of the game when he fielded a ball to his left and his throw to first was off target. As Austin stretched out up the line to get the throw and was able to record the out, but wound up taking a knee to the head and was down on the ground for a while. After a lengthy talk with the trainer, Austin was able to stay in the game and came through with a pair of hits later in the game.
Austin’s most impressive at bat came against Eric Yardley of the San Diego Padres. Yardley is a right handed side armer, and Austin did an excellent job of staying back and balanced despite the unique delivery and a plethora of off speed pitches. He managed to keep his hands back and drive the ball for his second hit of the day.
The throw that nearly took Austin out of the game was not the only poor one from Wade on the day, as he had another poor throw to the opposite side that Austin was able to get to and tag the runner on his way to first to record the out.
At the plate, Wade had two hits, including a two run double to deep right field, but was thrown out trying for third. Tyler O’Neill was playing wade pretty shallow on the play and the ball just got over his head, so he showed a good ability to drive the ball, but poor defensive positioning and two good plays by Tyler Austin turned Wade’s day from a rough day to a good one.
The Yankee prospects were the catalyst of the offense for Surprise today, but more needs to be seen from both Wade and Austin. Sanchez is as highly touted a catching prospect as there is in baseball, and he showed why today, although his receiving ability will likely not be graded as anything higher than average.