2011 Top Pirates Prospects: #3 – Tony Sanchez

The Pirates Prospects 2011 Prospect Guide was released last week, featuring 237 prospect reports, interviews with Jameson Taillon, Stetson Allie, Zack Von Rosenberg, and Zack Dodson, the 2011 top 50 prospects, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find. While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, the top ten prospects will be released on the site.

Be sure to purchase your copy of the book by clicking “Buy Now” at the bottom of this page (or to the right).

To recap the countdown so far:

10. Colton Cain
9. Zack Von Rosenberg
8. Jeff Locke
7. Rudy Owens
6. Bryan Morris
5. Luis Heredia
4. Stetson Allie

We continue the countdown with the number three prospect, Tony Sanchez.

3. Tony Sanchez, C

Sanchez had an injury filled 2010 season, but looks to bounce back in 2011.

The Pirates drafted Sanchez with the fourth overall pick in the first round of the 2009 draft, passing up top prep pitchers like Tyler Matzek and Jacob Turner to go with what was criticized as a “signability” pick. Tony quickly silenced the critics, putting up strong numbers in West Virginia in his professional debut, including a good amount of power. He continued his hitting success this season with an excellent line in the pitcher friendly Florida State League, despite an injury shortened season.

Sanchez started the season with a minor shoulder injury, then was hit in the face with a pitch on two occasions in June, with the second incident fracturing his jaw in two places, and forcing season ending surgery. He returned to action in the Arizona Fall League, where his performance wasn’t the best, although that is to be expected after missing over three months and returning to only play once every three days.

Despite the missed time, Sanchez is expected to start the 2011 season in Altoona. He projects to be a great defender behind the plate, with his defense regarded as major league average at the time he was drafted. He has a borderline plus arm, frames pitches well, and has quick feet, allowing him to excel at blocking pitches in the dirt. He has drawn comparisons to Yadier Molina, due to the strong defense, but his offense will determine whether he can be a potential All-Star like Molina has become. One strong point for Tony has been his power production, with double digit home run totals being very likely throughout his career. If he gets back on track in 2011, he could arrive in the majors by June 2012.

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • salempirate

    Agree with the McGehee use. Considering he was given away as a “favor” to him for Qualls who was about to be DFA’d and might be again soon qualifies as poor use of assets to me.

  • salempirate

    Jones should be retained. The logic of keeping him for another year is a no-brainer when you consider NH’s extremely poor F.A. position player signings. This offseason, McLouth became a $1MM+ giveaway in about in a month. Barajas, at best a backup at this stage of his career, was clearly overpaid. And Barmes, not only is he one of the worst OPS+ guys around, but he’s way, way overpaid, not only for ’12 but ’13 as well.

  • Lee Young

    Plus, Jones can play a passable RF.

  • TonyPenaforHOF

    I agree. I would have kept McGehee…Harrison may be fast but if he can’t get on base what difference does it make. Would have rather kept McGehee as a pinch hitter/platoon 3rd baseman with Pedro.

  • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

    I don’t know if there’s much difference in that comparison. Fryer was used as a backup catcher when the team was totally depleted, and an emergency catcher this year. Qualls has been middle relief depth at best. Value wise, I’d say they’re the same.

  • http://twitter.com/jlease717 John Lease

    That’s assuming you assign any positive value to Qualls. I don’t.