(MCT) — SURPRISE, Ariz. — Ranging behind second base to field a grounder and throw quickly in one smooth motion, Carlos Sanchez looks as polished as any of the White Sox’s infielders.
“That’s what we tend to forget, that he’s only 20 years old,” said Joe McEwing, the Sox coach who works with the infielders. “I think back at 20 years old to where we were, and to be in Triple A at 20 and be knocking on the door and possibly playing in the big leagues at 20 is very special.
“All the credit to him and the work that he’s put in, and he’s proved it at every level and continuing to play the game the right way.”
After leaping from Class A to Triple A last season, Sanchez probably will start 2013 at Triple-A Charlotte, where he hit .256 in 11 games in August.
Sanchez gained a second wind in the Arizona Fall League, batting .299 with a league-leading 11 stolen bases — one more than speed-burning Reds prospect Billy Hamilton.
The biggest challenge for Sanchez will be continuing his progress and maintaining his patience as the Sox and their followers watch whether Gordon Beckham finally will break out of his three-year malaise or cause the Sox to opt for Sanchez.
“Those things are out of my hands,” said Sanchez, a switch hitter with a .299 average in four minor league seasons. “The things I can do are hit, run, steal bases and field. From there, the team is going to make a decision on where I best fit, but the team will make the best decision. Those are decisions I don’t want to think about.”
Sanchez, who signed out of Venezuela as a shortstop, has enhanced his value by making a smooth transition to second base and still is considered an above-average shortstop.
“It seems like he’s always in the right place,” said Nick Capra, the Sox’s director of player development. “He ranges well to both sides, turns the double play well. He’s a solid, solid player.”
Sanchez hasn’t shown any trepidation in his first major league camp as he frequently arrives early for work. His only struggles surface when asked whether he would rather make the opening-day roster as a reserve or go to the minors until he’s promoted as a starter.
“If they want me as a backup and think I can contribute that way, I’ll do that for the team,” Sanchez said. “If they want me in the minors, I’ll do that, of course. My dream is to reach the big leagues, and that decision is up to the team.”