The Braves announced their full slate of non-roster invitees to spring training Wednesday, noting within that they’ve signed veteran infielder Yolmer Sanchez to a minor league contract. The MVP Sports Group client will vie for a roster spot this spring. It’s his second stint with the Braves, having also spent the 2021 season with their Triple-A affiliate in Gwinnett.
Sanchez, 30, has appeared in parts of eight big league seasons dating back to 2014. That includes a three-year run as the White Sox’ primary second baseman from 2017-19, which culminated in Sanchez winning a Gold Glove for his defensive prowess at the position.
While he had a roughly average year at the plate in 2017, when he batted .267/.319/.413 through 534 plate appearances, Sanchez’s overall offensive track record is lackluster. He’s a career .243/.299/.355 hitter, including just a .244/.316/.317 slash dating back to 2019. He totaled 44 trips to the plate between the Red Sox in 2022 but went just 4-for-37 at the plate in that stretch. He posted a heartier .246/.372/.394 slash in 396 plate appearances between the Triple-A affiliates for the Red Sox and Mets last year.
Sanchez has been primarily a second baseman in his career, but he has more than 2700 innings at third base and more than 2100 innings at shortstop under his belt as a professional as well. He’s posted plus defensive grades at second base (11 Defensive Runs Saved, 16.2 Ultimate Zone Rating, 6 Outs Above Average in 3581 innings) and at third base (12 DRS, 6.3 UZR, 9 OAA). He’s only logged 99 innings at shortstop in the big leagues, though, and the majority of his experience there came in the minors back in 2012-14.
The shortstop experience could still hold some appeal to a Braves club that let Dansby Swanson walk as a free agent and has opted to stay in-house to replace him. President of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos has touted young Vaughn Grissom and veteran Orlando Arcia as the two primary options to replace Swanson. It’s doubtful Sanchez would be under consideration for a full-time look at short, even in the event of injuries/struggles from both Grissom and Arcia, but he could be an occasional option there if he snags a bench job. He joins fellow veterans Adeiny Hechavarria and Ehire Adrianza as non-roster players who’ll look to work their way into the infield mix in some capacity this spring.