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Gary Sanchez is running away in the American League Rookie of the Year Award race

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Another day, another two home runs and five RBI for Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez. Sanchez tagged Rays starter Alex Cobb for a three-run home run in the top of the second inning and belted one off of Justin Marks, a solo shot in the top of the sixth inning of Wednesday night’s 11-5 win by New York. This on the heels of an RBI single in the first inning. Following his at-bats against the Rays, Sanchez is sitting on a .337/.410/.747 triple-slash line with 19 home runs and 38 RBI in 166 at-bats. He’s homered in four consecutive games now.

As a result, Sanchez made some Major League Baseball history in the process:

Sanchez was brought up for one start on May 13, going 0-for-4, then was sent back down to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The Yankees brought him back up on August 3 and the rest is history.

Indians outfielder Tyler Naquin seemed to be the favorite for the American League Rookie of the Year Award before Sanchez burst onto the scene. FanGraphs lists him at 2.1 Wins Above Replacement, while Baseball Reference has him at 0.6. Sanchez, in roughly half the plate appearances, has respective WARs of 2.9 and 2.7.

Tigers starter Michael Fulmer and Astros reliever Chris Devenski also deserve mention. Fulmer has a 3.03 ERA and a 120/39 K/BB ratio in 148 2/3 innings, helping stabilize — with Justin Verlander, of course — what has otherwise been a shaky starting rotation. Devenski, in five starts and 41 relief appearances, has a 1.98 ERA and a 97/19 K/BB ratio in 104 2/3 innings.

But it’s Sanchez’s award to lose now. And it doesn’t look like he’s going to be cooling off anytime soon.

Nationals’ major leaguers to continue offering financial assistance to minor leaguers

Sean Doolittle
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On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.

After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.

Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.

The full statement:

Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.

We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.

We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.

Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.