If baseball had an award for dumping sports drinks on themselves or random teammates, Yolmer Sanchez would be the annual winner, and probably have the trophy modeled off him. Unfortunately for him, such an award doesn’t exist, but Sanchez earned himself some hardware Sunday, winning the AL Gold Glove Award at 2nd base for 2019.
Sanchez spent most of the 2018 season at third, but he swapped defensive positions with Yoan Moncada during Spring Training heading into the 2019 season, and the move paid dividens for both players, as Sanchez’s only committed nine errors in 149 games for a .987 fielding percentage at 2nd all season, and four of those errors came very early in the season. Moncada saw his offensive numbers increase with the move to his natural position of third and he committed six fewer errors in 2019.
The award is the first Gold Glove for a White Sox infielder since Robin Ventura captured five at third base, most recently in 1998. The only other 2nd baseman in White Sox history to win the Gold Glove is Hall of Famer Nellie Fox, who captured three, in 1957, 1959 and 1960.
Sanchez’s infectious enthusiasm has helped keep the White Sox clubhouse loose during some trying times as the Sox have endured seven straight losing seasons, and no one has more fun celebrating walk-off wins than him, often-times dumping full Gatorade buckets on himself, or unsuspecting teammates, or even coaches. Despite this, he may not be around much longer, as Nick Madrigal seems poised to take over at 2nd, and he won a Minor League Gold Glove for his handiwork defensively this year.
Madrigal also could prove to be a better offensive option than Sanchez, as Madrigal only struck out 16 times across three levels at the plate, which helped him to a .311 batting average. With the glove, Madrigal only made four errors in 108 games, good for a .992 fielding percentage. He also turned 95 double-plays.
Sanchez is arbitration-eligible, and he is projected to earn a 2020 salaray above $6 million, which might mean GM Rick Hahn will decide to non-tender him. But with Nick Madrigal on the way early in the 2020 season, it may not matter.