When the Mets signed Sanchez for $690,000 out of Venezuela in July 2013, they were hopeful that the young catcher’s bat would eventually catch up to his defense. Though it took a while for that to happen, Sanchez finally showed some utility with the bat in '18, when he batted .265 with a career-high 27 extra-base hits between Class A Columbia and Class A Advanced St. Lucie. He built upon that progress in his first Double-A campaign, posting a .278 average in the Eastern League, but struggled (.179) after receiving a late-season promotion to Triple-A Syracuse. Knowing that Sanchez’s combination of strong defense and upper-level experience is exactly what a team looks for in the Rule 5 Draft, the Mets added him to their 40-man roster in November.
Sanchez is an exceptional defensive catcher by all standards. Pitchers love throwing to Sanchez because he’s an excellent receiver who steals strikes with his framing. He also is an agile blocker behind the plate and receives high marks for his game-calling and feel for handling a staff. Excellent footwork and a plus arm headline an advanced package of catch-and-throw skills that have enabled Sanchez to throw out 46 percent of base stealers in six Minor League seasons. Offensively, the right-handed hitter has a knack for making consistent contact to all fields and doesn't strike out a lot. His power is well below average.
Defensive-minded backups don't have to hit a ton, but they do have to show some ability to handle the bat to get there. Sanchez fits that profile to a T and gives the Mets a valuable depth piece capable of stepping in should the need arise.
Scouting grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 30 | Run: 40 | Arm: 65 | Field: 60 | Overall: 45
The Mets gave Sanchez $690,000 to sign out of Venezuela in July 2013 hoping he would develop into a solid all-around, if a bit defensive-minded, catcher. The defense has definitely been there, but the bat has been slow to come, and his first taste of full-season ball in '17 ended in late July with a broken hamate. Healthy in '18, Sanchez showed improved hitting ability and even a little bit of power, splitting his season between Class A Columbia and High Class A St. Lucie.
Sanchez is an exceptional defensive catcher by all standards. He's a plus receiver who blocks well and already calls a good game, with plus-plus arm strength and similar catch-and-throw skills that enabled him to throw out 42 percent of attempted basestealers in 2018 -- bringing his career caught-stealing rate to just under 47 percent. As a hitter, Sanchez has decent contact skills and doesn't strike out a lot, but he also doesn't impact the ball as consistently as one would hope based on his bat-to-ball abilities.
Defensive-minded backups don't have to hit a ton, but they do have to show some ability to handle the bat to get there. Sanchez did a better job of that in 2018, and the Mets believe he'll continue to make improvements with experience.
Scouting grades: Hit: 40 | Power: 20 | Run: 40 | Arm: 65 | Field: 60 | Overall: 45
The Mets gave Sanchez $690,000 to sign out of Venezuela in July 2013 hoping he would develop into a solid all-around, if a bit defensive-minded catcher. The defense has definitely been there, but the bat has been slow to come and his first taste of full-season ball in 2017 ended in late July with a broken hamate.
There are absolutely no questions about Sanchez's ability to defend. He is a plus receiver who blocks well and already calls a good game. His cannon of an arm has enabled him to throw out 48.5 percent of potential basestealers in his pro career heading into 2018. The 21-year-old is way behind at the plate. He does have decent contact skills and doesn't strike out a lot, but has absolutely no power to speak of and after posting solid batting averages in the Dominican Summer League and Gulf Coast League in 2014 and 2015, he hasn't been able to replicate those results and doesn't show much of a feel to hit right now.
Defensive-minded backups don't have to hit a ton, but they do have to show some abilty to handle the bat to get there. Sanchez's work behind the plate is so special, the Mets will be extra patient in letting his skills in the batter's box develop.
Scouting grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 30 | Run: 40 | Arm: 60 | Field: 55 | Overall: 45
The Mets were encouraged with how Sanchez, who signed in July 2013 for $690,000 out of Venezuela, began his pro career, playing well in both his 2014 pro debut in the Dominican Summer League as well as in his United States debut in 2015 in the Gulf Coast League. A move up to the New York-Penn League in 2016 did not go as well, leaving it clear Sanchez has a lot work to do, especially as a hitter.
The Mets are willing to give Sanchez a bit of a mulligan, knowing it can take catchers longer to develop and that Sanchez was just 19 last year. He showed some of the same contact skills that served him well early on, with a decent approach at the plate; he just wasn't able to drive the ball at all, lacking the strength to do so. He needs to work on his direction to the ball and learn to attack it. Defensively, there's a lot more that's working right now. Sanchez has a plus arm that has thrown out around half of all would-be basestealers in his career. He's developed a lot in terms of his game-calling and his overall receiving skills.
The Mets know better than to give up on catching prospects because there's so much more that goes into their development. Sanchez will be just 20 years old for all of 2017 and there's plenty of time for him to develop as an all-around backstop. Worst case, he has the chops to be a very good defensive backup.
Scouting grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 40 | Run: 40 | Arm: 60 | Field: 55 | Overall: 45
Signed for $690,000 out of Venezuela at the start of the 2013 signing period, Sanchez has become one of the top catching prospects in the Mets' system. Part of that is because others have graduated, but part is also because of how far his game has come in a short time.
Sanchez made his United States debut in 2015 and performed well, particularly behind the plate. No one runs on him, with a strong arm and a quick release leading to him throwing out 48 percent of would-be basestealers in the Gulf Coast League. Sanchez is athletic and agile behind the plate, with soft hands and good blocking skills, showing an ability to work with pitchers that often doesn't come until later in development. He has tools to hit, with a solid approach and an understanding of what he still needs to work on. Sanchez's swing is contact-oriented now, but there should be power to come as he adds strength.
Just 19 for all of the 2016 season, Sanchez still has a ways to go, particularly offensively. But with a floor of a very good backup and a ceiling of an everyday big league backstop, the Mets are eager to help him get there.
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 40 | Run: 40 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45
Typically young catchers, especially teenagers signed at age 16, are either offensively or defensively-minded early in their career. The Mets are particularly excited about Sanchez, signed for $690,000 out of Venezuela in 2013, because he has excelled at the plate and in the field.
Sanchez is advanced well beyond his years both at the plate and behind it. He receives well and controls the running game, thanks to a solid arm and very quick release. He's athletic and moves well behind the plate. He has a better approach at the plate than normally seen from an 18-year-old, limiting strikeouts and showing a willingness to take walks. He uses the whole field and has strength, with some power likely to come as he advances.
Sanchez made his United States debut in 2015, playing as well as he did during his organizational debut in the Dominican Summer League in 2014. The Mets could have a very exciting all-around catching prospect on their hands.