How Acquired: Drafted in the 1st round (4th overall) of the 2009 Amateur Draft by the Pirates
2009 – State College (New York-Penn League – Pirates Short-Season A) – 4 games
- 1 RBI
- 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
2009 – West Virginia (Sally League – Pirates A) – 41 games
- 7 HR, 46 RBI, 1 stolen base
- 21 strikeouts, 34 walks
2009 – Lynchburg (Carolina League – Pirates High-A) – 3 games
- 1 RBI
- 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
2009 Totals (3 levels – 48 games)
- 7 HR, 48 RBI, 1 stolen base
- 23 walks, 40 strikeouts
Baseball America – #3 (PIT – 2010)
Baseball Prospectus – Unranked (PIT – 2009)
John Sickels – #3 (PIT – 2010) – B+
Sanchez was taken with the 4th overall pick of the 2009 amateur draft, and was widely viewed as a signability pick for the Pirates. He was viewed as a top-tier catcher in the draft, however not really that high by very many experts. He was coming off of a great season at Boston College (.346/.445/.614, 14 HR, 51 RBI), and also improved his plate discipline during that season (30 walks, 40 strikeouts).
Whether or not he was drafted to address lower contract demands, Sanchez came out during his brief time in the minors and posted excellent numbers as well. (.309/.409/.539 between 3 stops. His bat would definitely play at catcher if it keeps up like this, but what about his skills behind the plate?
From MLB.COM’s draft report: Solid catch-and-throw guy behind the plate. Has pretty quick feet and moves well defensively.
It seems to me that Sanchez should be at least a solid chance to stick behind the plate long-term. He did throw out 33% of baserunners attempting to steal in the minors (18 out of 54), which should hopefully improve. The Pirates’ system does not really have a lot of catching prospects behind the two players on the Major League roster (Ryan Doumit, Jason Jaramillo), so I have to imagine that they’re going to give him every chance to stay there.
MLB.COM doesn’t think he will develop a lot of power, but I could see potentially him hitting 15-20 a season in the Majors. His bat really looks like it is not going to be a hindrance that a team would have to hide. Strangely, a pretty decent comp for Sanchez is current Pirates catcher Ryan Doumit. Doumit’s best season to date: .318/.357/.501, 15 HR, 34 2B. I could see less power out of Sanchez overall (probably like a .450-.475 slugging), but the average could be similar, and a slightly higher OBP as well.
Sanchez should hopefully start the season at High-A Lynchburg, and if he performs well should be promoted to the Pirates’ AA team by mid-season. He looks like he could potentially grow into a solid Major League catcher, providing that they don’t rush him too much. He’s going to need some seasoning most likely to help make sure his defense behind the plate develops to a Major League level. His plate discipline should allow him to be considered at least a solid hitter for the position as well.
Projection for 2010
.320/.390/.490, 12 HR, 65 RBI (Split between High-A and AA)
I can’t see him getting there until 2012 at the soonest. The Pirates would be smart to let him develop in the minors, and help keep his cost down since the Pirates are probably at least another 2 years away from seriously being in contention. But he should be another good young player for the 2012-2013 Pirates.
Monday’s Prospect for Review: Chris Carter (1B/DH) of the Oakland Athletics