Adrian Sanchez played 914 games over eleven seasons in the Washington Nationals’ minor league system before making his MLB debut in late June of this past season.
Sanchez, 27, stuck around too, playing a total of 34 games for the injury-depleted Nats, and putting up a .268/.288/.366 line with seven doubles, one walk, and 25 Ks in 75 plate appearances. Sanchez split time between second (10 games), short (8 G) and third base (7 G) after spending the majority of his time at second and third in the minors.
To cap the year off, the infielder, who was signed by Washington as an amateur free agent out of Venezuela back in 2007, got to participate in the Nationals’ WinterFest celebration, which, he said, was unlike anything he’d done before.
Sanchez was asked what he took away from his first experience in the majors.
“Just being a part of the team, enjoying my teammates, learning a lot from them, and one of the most difficult things — coming off the bench — which I did, is learn how to go about it to enter the game,” Sanchez said through a translator.
Coming off the bench, he admitted, took some getting used to.
“At first it was difficult, just like anything,” he explained. “It was an adjustment I had to make. As the season went on, and I did it more and more, I got more comfortable in my situation and being able to prepare better, and I got better at the preparation part.”
Knowing that he might end up in the same role again if he’s back in the majors in 2018, Sanchez told reporters that he’s even asked his Winter League manager to help him try to simulate the experience.
“I’ve been rotating my positions, playing third base, shortstop, second base, even some outfield,” Sanchez said, “and I even told my manager to bring me off the bench so I can stay focused and be prepared for that situation in case that’s my role up here.
“So I’ve been trying to prepare and be as ready as possible for Spring Training.”
Sanchez has played just eight games total in the outfield as a pro, so how is that going for him now that he’s trying it again?
[ed. note - “Also, he’s apparently forgotten that he’s played a bit of outfield in the minors.”]
“I played outfield when I was younger, a lot younger. I never did it as a professional. It’s an adjustment, but I don’t feel as out of place as I thought I would,” Sanchez said, then he added one more thought.
“I’m still a little afraid of the wall though.”