Monday’s winner is Reggie Sanders; he will go on to face the winner from today.
Today we have Gaby Sanchez (Staunton 2003) vs Daniel Murphy (Luray 2004-05)!
- Gaby Sanchez was picked in the 4th round of the 2005 draft by the Miami Marlins (out of the University of Miami). He made his major league debut for the team in 2008, but did not carve out a starting spot with the team until 2010. He was very good that year; he hit .273/.341/.448 in 151 games and 572 at-bats, along with 37 doubles, three triples, 19 home runs, and 85 RBIs. He finished 4th in the Rookie of the Year voting (Buster Posey won it, but Jason Heyward should have). He went on to have an almost-identical season in 2011. In exactly the same number of at-bats, he slashed .266/.352/.427, with 35 doubles, 19 home runs, and 78 RBIs. He was named an All-Star. In 2012 the team moved to the new stadium in Miami, and Sanchez got off to a slow start, and was sent to Triple-A for a while to regain his swing. The Marlins then traded him to Pittsburgh on July 31. He spent the rest of 2012 and the next two seasons in the Steel City. After the 2014 season, he signed with a team in Japan, and played in 66 games there in 2015. He retired after being released by the Seattle Mariners in March, 2016. He ended his career with a line of .254/.332/.413 in 1,998 at-bats, with 126 doubles, four triples, 61 home runs, and 266 RBIs.
- There is a legend about Daniel Murphy. The story goes that when he went to Jacksonville University as a freshman, everyone took turns introducing themselves. Supposedly, when it was his turn, Murphy said, “I’m Daniel Murphy. I hit third.” That showed a focus and confidence in his bat that has served him well in his MLB career. Drafted pretty late, in the 13th round in 2006 by the New York Mets, Murphy hit his way to the majors, making his debut in 2008. After splitting his time between the outfield and first base in 2009 for the Mets, he missed 2010 to a knee injury. Returning in 2011, he settled in at second base for the next few years. In 2015, Murphy exploded onto the national scene when he went nuts in the NLDS against the Dodgers, homering three times in five games, and then hit .529/.556/.1.294 in a four-game sweep against the Cubs in the NLCS, winning the MVP and driving the Mets to the World Series. He signed with the Washington Nationals for 2016, and went on to have his best season in his career, hitting .347/.390/.595 in 531 at-bats, with 47 double, five triples, 25 home runs, and 104 RBIs. He was an All-Star, won the Silver Slugger award, and finished second in MVP voting. He went on to have another excellent season in 2017, again making the All-Star game, winning the Silver Slugger, and earning MVP votes (he finished 19th). He was traded to the Chicago Cubs in August of 2018, signed with the Colorado Rockies before the 2019 season, and was back with the team for 2020 when the season was halted. He won two Player of the Month awards- May and July of 2016- and led the National League in slugging percentage, on-base percentage, and doubles in 2016. He won another double “title” with 43 in 2017 as well. In his career up to this point, he’s hit .298/.343/.458 in 5,185 at-bats, with 368 doubles, 29 triples, 135 home runs, and 719 RBIs.
Vote by going to twitter.com/JohnATVL to vote! (Closes Tuesday morning)
And by the way, if you want to read much, much more about the 2019 VBL season, be sure to check out the 2019 Valley League Annual!