Sam Evans writes for Fish Stripes, a Miami Marlins site on the SB Nation network. Sam covers the Marlins prospects for Fish Stripes, and was kind enough to send over his thoughts on the Gaby Sanchez trade, with a look at the struggles from Sanchez this year, as well as more information on minor league reliever Kyle Kaminska. To see my analysis on Gorkys Hernandez, who went to Miami in the trade, check out Sam’s article.
By Sam Evans
On Tuesday, the Pirates traded Gorkys Hernandez to Miami for Gaby Sanchez and Kyle Kaminska. Sanchez, a twenty-eight year old right-handed first baseman, had two years of above-average production for the Marlins in 2010 and 2011. However, in 2012, Sanchez has posted a career-low BB% (6.1) and is striking out at an unusually high rate compared to his career average. When he has hit the ball, he hasn’t hit it very far. His line-drive percentage is also at a career-low (13.5%). Sanchez has spent the past few weeks in Triple-A New Orleans, where it appears he has started to figure some things out. Sanchez probably isn’t the long-term solution for Pittsburgh, but he could form a nice platoon with Garrett Jones.
Kyle Kaminska, a twenty-three year old minor-league reliever, has posted great strikeout and walk rates at every step of his minor-league journey. A former Michigan commit, Kaminska projects to be a solid middle reliever. The Marlins have a surplus of long relievers, so Kaminska hasn’t had a chance to reach the majors. With Pittsburgh, he might see more time in the majors. Time will tell, but it looks like Pittsburgh got the best side of this deal.
The Marlins snagged him in the 25th round of the 2007 draft, and gave him over $100K in order to keep him from attending Michigan. Kaminska’s fastball sits around 88-89 MPH. He’s actually pretty good facing left-handed hitters, even better than facing righties. He has always had great strikeout/walk rates in the minors. Even though he started something like twenty-five games in Greensboro a few year back, he’s never going to be an average major league starter. Kaminska doesn’t have the stuff to be a closer or setup man, the velocity is not there, and he pitches to contact without a true “out pitch”. However, he could turn into a decent long reliever who could give Pittsburgh two solid innings out of the pen. He was not ranked in my midseason top twenty Marlins’ prospects.
Sanchez is not the same player he was last year or the year before. The ball doesn’t jump off his bat the way it used to. In fifty-nine MLB games this year, Sanchez only had twenty line drives. There is a slight possibility that he could be battling an injury, but he doesn’t appear to be hurt.However, there is room for optimism thanks to his improved strikeout and walk rates in Triple-A. I’m not sure how his relationship with Ozzie Guillen was, but after the whole Castro, Cuba thing, Sanchez got some criticism from Cubans for defending Ozzie. Sanchez is never going to be an above-average first baseman overall, but he could hold down the position for Pittsburgh until they find a better option. If he platoons with Jones at first, Pittsburgh could see him produce more. I think a change of scenery will be really beneficial for him.