After posting their list of the top 100 prospects on Monday, Baseball America posted their list of the top potential breakout prospects on Thursday afternoon. The list was broken up into two groups, one for guys who were just outside the top 100 and the other list was for guys who were further away, but could make the jump to a top 100 prospect when they update their list.
Lolo Sanchez, the 18-year-old center field prospect for the GCL Pirates in 2017, made the second list. He hit .284/.359/.417 in 51 games this past season, while picking up 14 stolen bases, 17 extra-base hits and a league leading 42 runs scored. In each of his first two seasons, Sanchez has walked more often than he has struck out. His overall stats weren’t impressive in the DSL as a rookie in 2016, but he was one of the youngest players in the league and his season got off to a slow/late start due to a leg injury near the end of the DSL preseason schedule.
From our 2016 DSL recap, which was based on the scouting reports we got from down there, this was the wrap-up of Sanchez’s write-up:
“Sanchez will be a player to watch in the GCL next season. With plus speed and his ability to get on base, along with his defense in center field, he has a chance to be a legit prospect at this time next season.”
He showed off all of those tools when we saw him and on top of what we already knew, we saw a player who was driving the ball with some authority. Sanchez is going to naturally fill out some as he gets older, which will help some with his power. He’s 6’0″ tall, but does not have a big frame, so it will be hard for him to add much muscle. His power now comes from his quick bat and ability to square the ball up often. He already has an advanced approach at the plate and as the BA article points out, terrific hand-eye coordination. He’s a four-tool player with plus speed already, who could eventually have average power.
Sanchez’s game is well-rounded enough that he could end up with the West Virginia Power to begin the season, still a few weeks shy of his 19th birthday. The Pirates have shown the willingness to push advanced hitters at a young age, sending Austin Meadows, Reese McGuire, Cole Tucker and Ke’Bryan Hayes all to Low-A ball as teenagers. Sanchez fits that mold.