Friday, January 24, 2014

Gary Sanchez, C:

Gary Sanchez was signed as an international free agent in 2009. Because he was regarded as one of the best IFA free agents; he got 3 million dollars as a very raw catcher. Since making his debut as a New York Yankees prospect ,Sanchez's defense has progressively done better, and he has performed very well as a hitter.

Vital Statistics:

DOB: December 2, 1992
Bats/Throws: R/R
Height: 6'2''
Weight: 195

2011 SALL (82 gms) BA/OBP/SLG/WOBA/WRC+                         .256/.335/.485/.364/122
2012 SALL (68 gms)                                                                           .297/.353/.517/.390/136
2012 FSL    (48 gms)                                                                           .279/.330/.436/.351/117 
2013 FSL    (94 gms)                                                                           .254/.313/.420/.336/108
2013 EAS   (23 gms)                                                                           .250/.364/.380/.348/113


The Santa Domingo native signed with the Yankees as a 16 year old free agent out of the Domincan Republic. His $3 million bonus set a Yankees record that won't be broken anytime soon.

The Yankees trusted Sanchez so much that they let him skip the DSL league and had him begin his career in the United States. Sanchez had an immediate impact in the league and was quickly compared to Yankee top prospect Jesus Montero.

Generally GCL players don't receive such lofty praise but Sanchez put up a WRC+ of 188 and deserved all the praise he received, and was rated the best prospect in the GCL by BA. Sanchez ended his season in Staten Island and was considered a top prospect by BA(30) and Keith Law (68).

The 2011 season went slightly less smoothly as Sanchez was sent down to extended spring training for disciplinary reasons. However the move seemed to serve as a spark for the young catcher, as he hit 8 homers in his next 13 games. Overall Sanchez did well at his first go-around in A ball.

Especially considering he was one of the youngest players in the league. BA ranked him as the 14th best prospect in the South Atlantic league and dropped him to 81st on the top 100 list. Sanchez actually rose on Law's list and finished as his 55th best prospect.

Despite his success Sanchez started the 2012 back in A ball. This was probably due to his defense, he was very bad at blocking balls, and the presence of JR Murphy in the system. The move seemed to pay off as both Murphy and Sanchez improved their defensive games. Sanchez allowed 8 fewer passed balls, and started throwing more runners out.

Offensively Sanchez stayed very consistent and  earned himself a midseason promotion to High A. 2012 was a very strong year for Sanchez and he was named the 5th and 9th best prospect in A ball and High A. Sanchez was also named to the following top 100 lists: BA (57), Law (18), John Sickels (46), Fangraphs (42).

2013 Season:

In 2013 Yankees kept Sanchez in High A, and wanted him to work on catching tough fastballs. This was the main reason that they kept him down for so long.The plan worked out as he got a chance to catch Rafael DePaula and some other hard throwers. Sanchez stills needs to work on that aspect of his game but it is improving.

Another aspect of his game that is improving is his strikeout total. For the past few years his stikeout percentage has been consistently over 20. In 2013 he struck out 17.8% of the time in Tampa and only 14.5% of the time in Trenton. His walk rate also went up as the year went on. This shows that Sanchez is really working on particular parts of his game and so far he's doing a good job of fixing the few flaws that he has.

Sanchez finished as the 7th best prospect in the FSL according to BA, and was not eligible for the EAS list. Sanchez also finished top 50 overall range on many lists, including Sickels year end review. Overall Sanchez had a very nice season, and showed his glove is catching up to his bat. His offensive numbers got worse in Tampa as the season went on, and he did better in his short stay at Trenton.

Scouting Report:

Sanchez's two biggest tools are his plus-plus power and his elite throwing arm. While most know that Sanchez has a lot of pop, people seem to ignore his arm while talking about his defensive potential. Sanchez threw out a league leading 46% of base stealers last year. Sanchez still has problems blocking the plate and calling a game, but his arm is solid and every aspect of his defensive game is improving. Allowing "only" 11 passed balls is an improvement for him.

Despite his improving defense he will probably always be regarded a bat first prospect. Of course this isn't exactly a bad thing, and he certainly has the bat to make the statement work. Sanchez has short compact stroke, and great bat speed. Sanchez has some patience and he has shown the ability to wait for his pitch. He doesn't take that many walks, but he does work big counts in an attempt to get a pitch he can handle. Sanchez biggest tool on offense is his right-handed power potential.


Sanchez projects to be an all-star caliber catcher. If everything goes right he should be able to hit .270 and have a 30 homeruns a year. If he can continue to would on his selectivity he might be even better than that. There aren't that many good offensive catchers in the majors so he should be a pretty valuable player.

2014 Level:

Gary Sanchez will begin the year in AA, and should be promoted later in the year. Like Murphy he will greatly benefit from catching with Tony Pena in spring training. There is also the possibility that the Yankees trade Sanchez, as he is their best trade chip. I do not think this will happen, as he has too much potential. Additionally there aren't so many options on the trade market. Sanchez has the bat to play first or DH so getting him playing time wont be too difficult. If he has a good season it is entirely possible that he becomes a top ten prospect, as he has that much ability.


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