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