Sixto Sanchez was our selection as the #1 prospect in the Phillies’ organization.
Sanchez repeats as the top prospect after former Phillie J.P. Crawford reigned as the top prospect for three years (2015-17). Sanchez was an overwhelming selection. He received 140 of the 182 votes cast (76.92%). Adam Haseley was second with 9 votes (4.95%) and Adonis Medina finished third with 8 votes (4.4%).
Thirteen different players received votes. Spencer Howard, Luis Garcia, Alec Bohm, Kyle Dohy, and Mickey Moniak received multiple votes each. Five guys received one vote each – Enyel De Los Santos, Cole Irvin, Connor Seabold, Dylan Cozens, and Mitch Walding.
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).
Sanchez saw limited action in 2018. He went 4-3 in 8 starts before being shut down after a June 3rd start. He posted a 2.51 ERA, 11 walks (2.1 BB9), 45 strike outs (8.7 K9), and a 1.071 WHIP in 46.2 innings. He was selected for the FSL All Star game, but did not play.
Sanchez appears to have finally reached his projected height of 6 feet. He throws an 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.
Sanchez injury history is a bit of a mystery. At first glance, it appears that the elbow inflammation that sidelined the pitcher (for a couple of weeks) in June was his first injury and a minor setback. However a closer look at his career and some of my observations unveil a different story.
- While pitching mostly out of the bullpen in the DSL (2015), Sanchez had a couple lengthy gaps between appearances – 3, 8, 5 (before 1st start), 6 (before 2nd and final start), 14, 1, 6, 10, 5, and 7. It is rookie level ball, but I have witnessed pitchers pitching on a set schedule, even out of the bullpen. But, maybe it’s nothing.
- Sanchez made 11 starts in a normal rotation in the GCL (2016).
- Then, with Lakewood in 2017, Sanchez had 10 days off between his 3rd and 4th starts and was shut down for over a month after his 5th start on May 7th (a 90-pitch, 4 ER effort in 5.0 innings). He returned on June 11th and pitched well enough to be promoted to Clearwater in August. Note that 34 days missed in Lakewood were not spent on the DL.
- Next, with Clearwater in 2018, Sanchez (the Phillies top pitching prospect) missed the start of the season and didn’t pitch until the 11th game of the season on April 15th, missing 2 starts. Sanchez pitched his last game of the season on June 3rd. In one of those quirky minor league transactions, the Phillies top prospect was added to the DL on APRIL 15th and remained there until SEPTEMBER 25th (?). His “couple weeks of shutdown” extended until the end of the season.
- And finally, Sanchez didn’t start throwing until late August/early September in a belated attempt to get ready for the Arizona Fall League. The Phillies opted to hold him back due to a problem with his collarbone. I observed a weight gain during his time on the DL.
Sanchez has been on the short list of untouchable prospects before this off season. But, his name came up in trade talks with Seattle. If the Phillies had worked out a deal that included both Juan Segura and Edwin Diaz, Sanchez would certainly have been part of the package going to Seattle. His name came up in other deals, too. A possible deal with Miami for J.T. Realmuto, for one.
It’s interesting speculating Sanchez’ future. His ceiling could be quite high, TOR high. His floor could be as a back end reliever. (There has been some talk.) 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.
The poll for the #2 prospect will be posted in a separate thread.
Here are the complete results for the #1 poll.
|Enyel De Los Santos||1||0.55%|
|26 tied with||0||0%|