Tuesday, June 9, 2009

And It's Tony Sanchez...

Hey, Pittsburgh shouldn't have half the drama of last year's first-round soap opera signing. C Tony Sanchez, 2009's top pick from Boston College, is ready to play, and at slot, too.

Some think the Pirate suits had the bones of an agreement reached with him over dinner a few days ago. Could be; we won't quibble much with the choice or the philosophy behind it. Everything we read about this draft pretty much said it was a free-for-all after the RHP Stephen Strasburg and 1B/OF Dustin Ackley.

Sanchez, 21, a junior form Miami, FL, is a 6-1, 220 pound RH catcher who is supposed to have spectacular defensive skills. He hit .346 with 14 HR and 51 RBI this year; in his college career, he batted .326 with 24 HR and 124 RBI. And Sanchez can run a little, too; he's not a plodder. So he's a kid with a good mitt, some pop, and pretty productive with guys on base.

The drawbacks are that he can't hit a hook, his weight could be a problem down the road - he weighed over 250 pounds at one point of his BC career - and he was ranked as a late first round selection by Baseball America coming into tonight, although he was said to have picked up some love in the past couple of days.

The MLB.com report on him:
College catchers are always a premium commodity and Sanchez has emerged as one of the better options in this year's group. He's a solid catch-and-throw guy behind the plate, with good overall defensive skills. He also can swing the bat some, with a little power, giving him an intriguing all-around package. He's struggled with conditioning in the past, but he seemed driven to get himself into shape.
In the last 72 hours, he vaulted the injured Kyle Gibson and pricey Aaron Crow to the top of the Bucco list. And he fits into the theory that in a deep but not star studded draft, it's better to pick a player that will leave some loot for later picks.

The obvious question is that after the Nate McLouth trade, does the presence of Sanchez, Jason Jaramillo, and Robby Diaz grease the skids under the oft injured and 28 year-old Ryan Doumit?

Or is it just a best player available pick in a position that the Bucs are shallow at, organizationally? Time will tell; the suits have made no bones about stockpiling players for some flexibility.

Pittsburgh has three more selections to go in tonight's lottery; 49th in the second round to replace 2008's Tanner Scheppers non-signing, 53rd in the second round, and 84th in the third.

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