Sixto Sanchez was your selection as the #1 prospect in the Phillies’ organization.
For the first time since 2015, the Phuture Phillies top prospect will be some one other than J.P. Crawford. Sanchez received 105 of 254 votes cast (41%). Scott Kingery (70 votes, 28%) and Crawford (68, 27%) finished second and third. Seven other players shared eleven votes.
Sanchez remains one of the most talked about prospects in the Phillies’ organization. I reported last year that Sanchez was signed as a 16-year old international free agent in 2015. He was discovered when he was asked to pitch to a prospect that a Phillies’ scout wanted to see hit. After the session, the scout reported that he hadn’t found a hitter, but he had found a pitcher. At that time, Sanchez had only just converted to pitcher from shortstop.
Sanchez tossed 25.2 innings during the 2015 DSL season. He wasn’t invited to 2015 Instructs or 2016 spring training, but arrived for extended spring training (XST) and quickly made an impression. He was selected to the 2016 GCL All Star team at the end of the season as the starting RHP. Facing batters who averaged 2.5 years older than he, Sanchez posted a 0.50 ERA and a WHIP of 0.759 WHIP in 54.0 IP. He struck out 44 (7.3/9 IP) and walked 8 (1.3/9 IP).
Sanchez began 2017 at Lakeland. In spite of being almost four years junior to the rest of the league, he posted a 2.41 ERA and 0.817 WHIP in 67.1 IP. He struck out 64 (8.6/9 IP) and walked 9 (1.2/9 IP). After just 13 starts, he was promoted to Clearwater.
In Clearwater, Sanchez ran into his first adversity as a pitcher. He suffered losses in four of his five starts, posted a 5.20 ERA, and a 1.301 WHIP in 27.2 IP. He struck out 20 (6.5/9 IP) but walked 9 (2.9/9 IP).
Sanchez’ Advanced A difficulties could be attributed to his facing advanced hitters, he was five years younger than the average player in the Florida State League. But, it is equally likely that the long season had an impact. He threw a combined 95.0 innings in 2017, after less than 80 the previous two seasons (25.2 in ’15 and 54.0 in ’16). After, last year was only his third as a pitcher.
Sanchez is generously listed at 6-foot. He throws a mid to upper 90s fastball. Comfortably. He often hits triple digits. He introduced a slider in 2016 that was reaching 91 mph. And, he has expanded his repertoire to include a change up to go along with his curve ball and slider.
It’s really interesting speculating Sanchez’ future. His ceiling could be quite high, TOR high. But he’s a young pitcher with a bright future and extreme risk due to his youth and distance from the majors, although it is likely he could see Reading at some point in the 2018 season.
Next up is your selection for the #2 prospect in the organization with Spencer Howard and Thomas Eshelman added to the poll.
By the way, in 2014 when a player other than Crawford was our top prospect, it was Maikel Franco. Crawford was third behind Jesse Biddle and ahead of Miguel Gonzalez , Carlos Tocci, Roman Quinn, Ethan Martin, Aaron Altherr, Kelly Dugan, Cesar Hernandez.