The Pirates Prospects 2012 Prospect Guide will be released later this week, featuring over 250 prospect reports, the 2012 top 50 prospects, a feature on the top four pitching prospects in the system, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find. While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, we will be releasing the top ten prospects over the next week. Be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site.
To recap the countdown so far:
10. Nick Kingham
We continue the countdown with the number seven prospect, Tony Sanchez.
7. Tony Sanchez, C
The biggest disappointment in 2011 for the Pirates was the season that Tony Sanchez had at the plate. In his jump to the AA level Sanchez struggled with his hitting, showing a total lack of power production. He’s the best bet for a two way catcher in the system, and some might argue that he’s the only starting option they have, which is why his season was so disappointing.
Sanchez wasn’t overmatched at the plate, as evidence by his strikeout and walk rates. His problem was that he was making bad decisions, swinging at pitches that he could make contact with, whether or not those were pitches he could drive. That could be chalked up to the difficult jump to the AA level, where Sanchez would see tougher pitches.
He did make some strides on the defensive side of the ball, with the biggest improvement coming with his game calling. He already excelled in blocking pitches in the dirt, and his arm held up in his first 100+ game season, with pop times in the upper 1.80 range in September. The big issue he has to work on defensively is his throwing accuracy. He got a little wild at times, leading to a lot of throwing errors.
The question heading in to 2012 is where will Sanchez start out? He could make the jump to AAA. That would be aggressive, but it would be no different than the jump Chase d’Arnaud made in 2011 after a similar season at the AA level. The Pirates have Ramon Cabrera and Carlos Paulino coming up from Bradenton, with Sanchez blocking them if he stays in Altoona to start the year. The 2011 season was a down year for Sanchez, but he could rebound. He’s got the defense to succeed in the majors. His offense will determine what kind of catcher he will eventually become.