Hot off Baggs’ twitter:
Well, that’s one way to work on the catcher problem. We ranked Sanchez, pre-season, as the 12th best prospect in the Giants’ system. At the time, Sanchez was more of a “feel” pick for me — though, Otis was heavily stumping for him. This is what Otis and I thought back in January when we posted our prospect list.
12. Hector Sanchez, C 21 years old in 2011
Otis Anderson: The thing I like about Sanchez is that he’s got all the skills that you can’t teach, but he’s pretty crap at just about everything that can be picked up. He’s got a great arm and excellent delivery times to second, but crappy blocking skills. He’s got good BP power and a good eye, but has too much noise in his swing. He’s also got some conditioning problems (i.e. he’s a fatty). The way forward for him is to play catcher and continue to get on base.
Chris Quick: I’m the first to admit that I don’t know a lot about Hector Sanchez. However, any catcher that can stick at the position defensively and show some modest tools on offense is a top 15 prospect in my book. Like Otis noted above, Sanchez has shown the ability to take a walk and his approach at the plate seems solid. He’s definitely someone to keep an eye on.
Since that post, Sanchez has done an excellent job as a prospect this season. He started in San Jose and batted .301/.321/.511 in 42 games and 184 at-bats. That’s not too shabby for an age appropriate player in the California League, especially as a catcher. His plate discipline took a step backward — 2.7% walk-rate compared to 8.2% in Augusta (A-ball) in 2010 — but the other hitting skills look pretty decent. The Giants then promoted him straight to AAA Fresno. In 25 games and 82 AB’s in AAA, Sanchez has hit .305/.370/.366. That’s quite the reversal. After not walking in San Jose (2.7%), Sanchez has walked a ton in Fresno (10.2%) albeit in a very small sample.
On the defensive side of the equation, Sanchez is rough around the edges, but he’s got promise. Catcher guru and current Fresno Grizzlies manager, Steve Decker, had the following to say on June 28 of this year.
Decker, a former catcher himself, said Sanchez is “in the process of a lot of classroom time” right now, learning all the basic elements of playing the position. He has done well thus far, even earning rave reviews from Giants lefty Barry Zito after a rehab start, but he still has to refine his talent. Decker pointed to pitch selection as well as receiving, throwing and blocking techniques as chief among the many aspects of his game that need improvement.
So, needs work on: pitch selection, receiving, throwing, and blocking. Excellent. I always wonder about the truthfulness of articles like that. That’s not to say that Decker isn’t concerned with Sanchez’s game on defense, but on 6/28/11 Sanchez needs work on all things defense. On 7/15/11, he’s in the majors. Quick learner, maybe?
Anyways, Sanchez is here (or on his way), and it’s likely that the Giants will give him a few AB’s to judge him in the majors. The Giants Way ™ of judging prospects generally annoys me, but Sanchez is possibly better than Whiteside and Stewart — even with defensive questions – and for the Giants, they need to find upgrades at key positions of need. The Whiteside-Stewart bar is pretty low to clear, let’s hope Sanchez can clear it.
UPDATE: Baggs is now reporting (tweeting?) that Pat Burrell is headed to the
designated disabled list because of a spur in his foot. Sanchez will take Pat’s spot.