Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Top Prospects: #11 – Tony Sanchez

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To recap the countdown so far:

20. Michael De La Cruz, OF
19. JaCoby Jones, OF
18. Barrett Barnes, OF
17. Cody Dickson, LHP
16. Blake Taylor, LHP
15. Joely Rodriguez, LHP
14. Andrew Lambo, OF
13. Stolmy Pimentel, RHP
12. Clay Holmes, RHP

We continue the countdown with the number 11 prospect, Tony Sanchez.

Tony Sanchez could take over as the starting catcher in 2015. (Photo Credit: David Hague)
Tony Sanchez could take over as the starting catcher in 2015. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

11. Tony Sanchez, C

For two years it looked like Sanchez was going to be a busted first round pick, limited to being a strong defensive backup catcher at best. His offense struggled at the Double-A level, and he completely lost his power. The power returned at the end of the 2012 season, and really picked up in 2013 at the Triple-A level. Sanchez also saw a boost in his overall hitting, and ended up getting called up to the majors by the end of the season. He was only used as a backup to Russell Martin with Michael McKenry out, but showed the potential to also hit for some power during his brief playing time.

The Pirates still have Martin under contract for one more year, and they traded for Chris Stewart in the off-season to be the backup catcher. That will leave Sanchez back with Indianapolis for another season, although if either catcher goes down, he could see the majors in 2014. If Martin goes down, Sanchez would almost certainly be the starter. It’s likely that Martin will leave via free agency after the 2014 season, which will open the starting catching job for Sanchez to take over.

Sanchez is strong defensively, with great blocking and receiving skills, and a strong arm. He does run into problems with his throwing accuracy, going into slumps where he lets a bad throw snowball into more errors. He needs to develop a short memory when these errors happen. If Sanchez continues to hit like he did in 2013, there will be little question about his ability to take over in Pittsburgh when Martin leaves.

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  • Another nice problem for the Pirates to have since Tony Sanchez would probably start for several major leagues teams.

  • CalipariFan506
    January 17, 2014 3:12 pm

    Better than John Buck.

  • Patrick Kelly
    January 17, 2014 2:43 pm

    I think last year is more of an indication of his true talent level than the 2 years that he spent recovering from the 2 broken jaws. He looked like he was going to outhit his projections before he got hurt, and post recovery, did it again. While I love Martin, it is unfortunate for Sanchez that he is around. Sans Martin, I don’t think there would be much of, if any, drop-off with Sanchez starting the season as the main C.

  • In terms of the pitch framing that the pirates love, is he up to the level of martin and stewart?

  • I really like Sanchez. A lot of injuries have slowed his development. Looking forward to seeing if his experience with the big league team will carry over into a hot start at AAA.