Monday, June 15, 2009

The Tony Sanchez File

Name: Jorge Anthony "Tony" Sanchez
Born: May 20, 1988
Height / Weight: 6-1/220, R/R
Hometown: Miami, Florida
High School: Miami Killian
College: Boston College
Class: Junior

Scouting Reports: ScoutingBook:
A native of Miami, Jorge 'Tony' Sanchez is an offensive-minded catcher in the style of Matt Wieters (though with less power) or Buster Posey (but with less defensive prowess). He does show enough skill to stick at catcher, though, and his bat is legitimate: He hit .346/.443/.614 at Boston College in 2009. He's seen as nearly major league ready today.
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. The benefit has been an outstanding junior season that will probably move him off the board early on Draft day.

Stats: Sanchez hit .346 in 2009 with 51 RBI, 14 home runs and 19 doubles his junior season at Boston College, and threw out 19 base runners, tops in the Atlantic Coast Conference.His college line is a.317 batting average, with 49 doubles, 24 home runs and 124 RBIs in 161 games.

Awards: He was named as one of three finalists for the 2009 Coleman Company -- Johnny Bench Award, which is presented annually to the top college catcher. He was also recently named to both the All-ACC First Team and the Louisville Slugger All-America Third Team.

Hype: Sanchez was rated by Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and ESPN as the top college catcher available in the draft, as well as being the best overall defensive catcher and having the best throwing arm of any college catcher.

Draft Day Yada: Despite the offensive numbers and Sanchez's highly regarded defensive abilities, the selection was unconventional. In most pre-draft rankings, Sanchez had been listed as the best catcher available, but also as a likely late first-round or sandwich pick.

The Pirates passed on a number of promising pitchers to nab Sanchez, like Aaron Crow. He was part of a plan to draft a deep class rather than a top-heavy one, and so the ability to sign him at slot value was important to Pittsburgh.

The suits wanted to conserve cash to spend on later picks, many of whom were high school kids signed to major college programs. Whether that's a worthwhile plan or not is about three or four years from us knowing yet, but it will involve more than Tony Sanchez.

Status: Signed Friday, and the 21-year-old catcher will report to Pirate City in Bradenton to participate in a few days of minicamp. He'll then join the low Class A West Virginia team, where Sanchez will assume starting duties behind the plate.

Off-the-Wall Note: Sanchez employed Jared's now-famous Subway diet, eating a turkey and tuna sandwich with lettuce, onions and honey mustard on wheat bread at least five times a week, as he dropped nearly 30 pounds during college.

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