Sanchez was the top international acquisition by the Angels in the 2013-14 signing period, getting $580,000 to sign out of Venezuela. He made a precocious pro debut in the United States, pitching well in the Rookie-level Arizona League, but has been enigmatic at best since then and has now been traded three times. Acquired by Atlanta prior to the 2015 season, Sanchez earned a spot on the 40-man roster but was designated for assignment and dealt to the Mariners following the 2018 season. Advancing to Double-A for the first time in 2019, Sanchez garnered midseason All-Star honors in the Texas League, working a career-high 146 innings that was second in the circuit. Despite the success, the Mariners still designated Sanchez for assignment in the offseason, leading to his acquisition by St. Louis in early February.
Sanchez has teased with his ability as a left-hander with three usable pitches. He'd have some good starts and appear to show progress, then just as quickly regress, watching many of the Braves' pitching prospects pass him by. He'll flash above-average stuff across the board, with a live fastball up to 94 mph, an ability to really spin a breaking ball and a feel for a deceptive changeup. None of it has been consistent, and many reports last year barely had average grades across the board, as evaluators wonder when he'll take ownership and do the things he needs to do to take the next step in his development.
Sanchez will only be 23 for most of the 2020 season, so there's still time for him to unlock the potential he's shown in spurts. He has the upside of back-end starter or long reliever if it all clicks, and the Cardinals hope there's more to come from the young southpaw after another change of scenery.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 50 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | Overall: 40
Sanchez was the top international acquisition by the Angels in the 2013-14 signing period, getting $580,000 to sign out of Venezuela. He showed up quickly on prospect lists when he made a precocious pro debut in the United States, pitching well in the rookie-level Arizona League. He's been enigmatic at best since then, showing glimpses of ability but has now been traded twice, going to the Braves prior to the 2015 season, earning a spot on the 40-man roster but then being designated for assignment following the 2018 season. The Mariners took a shot and acquired him for cash last November.
The Mariners are hoping a change of scenery will help him, and being designated will be the wakeup call he needs. Despite all the ups and downs, Sanchez will only be 22 for most of the 2019 season. There's time for him to unlock the potential he's shown in spurts, but the clock is ticking.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45
Sanchez jumped on the prospect map as a 17-year-old in a weak Angels farm system after a strong pro debut in the United States. The Venezuelan southpaw joined the Braves via trade in 2015, and while he's had up-and-down results since, the Braves thought highly enough of him to add him to the 40-man roster after he reached the Florida State League at age 20 in 2017. Though he advanced to Double-A this past season, Sanchez was designated for assignment in late November and dealt to the Mariners a few days later.
Sanchez still has excellent pure stuff with the chance to have three at least average pitches in a starting pitching profile. His fastball will get up to 94 mph and he throws it with good movement, he can spin a very good breaking ball and his changeup flashes above-average to plus at times. While he has a very clean arm action, he has struggled to repeat his mechanics and has thus had command and control problems.
For Sanchez to take the next step he has to believe his stuff is as good as everyone else thinks it is. That, and learning to limit damage in a big inning, will be important hurdles for him to clear as he works through the upper levels of the Mariners' system.
It can be a tremendous learning experience to watch your peers pass you by. Sanchez was part of an ultra-talented Rome rotation in 2016 that helped the team win the South Atlantic League title. Kolby Allard, Max Fried, Mike Soroka and Touki Toussaint all took big steps forward and starred in the postseason. Sanchez had an up-and-down season and did not throw a playoff pitch.
While Sanchez showed his youth at times, he also showed the pure stuff that made him a top international prospect, one the Angels were happy to sign in 2013 before eventually trading him to the Braves in January 2015. He has a clean, quick arm action that can deliver fastballs up to 94 mph with good late life on it. He'll flash a plus breaking ball and changeup at times, though not consistently. With more maturity will come the ability to minimize damage when things don't go his way.
Sanchez has struggled with conditioning in the past, but he did show up in Florida this past spring in very good shape, though that did not translate to good results in the Florida State League. He has some work to do to catch up to the young arms who moved ahead of him on the depth chart.
In January 2015, the Braves sent Kyle Kubitza and Nate Hyatt to the Angels. The return was Sanchez, a young lefty with a good feel for pitching who is learning the important lessons of taking care of his body.
Being out of shape led to some minor back problems for Sanchez during his first crack at full-season ball at age 18. Shut down in early July, the Braves had Sanchez stay at their complex in Orlando to teach him about the importance of monitoring his weight and conditioning. He'll never be a physical specimen, but he showed a lot of progress in embracing the work by instructs. There's a lot to like about Sanchez's arm. He'll sit 91-92 mph with his fastball, touching 94 mph, an average heater that plays up because of its good run and life. His curveball can be above-average and he has a good feel for his changeup as well.
Improved conditioning should help his overall command as well as maintaining his stuff, with being in better shape leading to repeating his delivery consistently. The Braves would love to see him follow in the footsteps of another slightly undersized lefty: Johan Santana.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 45 | Overall: 50
Sanchez was the Angels' top signing in the 2013 international free agent class, and he made his professional debut in 2014 in the Arizona League. After an impressive showing as a 17-year-old, Sanchez was traded to the Braves in January. <p>
Despite his young age, Sanchez displayed an enticing combination of stuff and feel for pitching in his debut. Though his fastball typically sat around 90 mph, it touched 95 mph, and scouts believe he'll more regularly reach that velocity as he physically matures. His curveball is his best secondary offering, and he has a decent feel for his changeup, but it isn't as advanced as his other two pitches.<p>
Sanchez has a clean, simple delivery, though he is still learning to consistently repeat it. If he can do so, he'll have all the tools necessary to succeed as a starter, even if he remains slightly undersized.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curve: 50 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45
A big international signing by the Angels in July 2013, Sanchez had excited Los Angeles about his potential. The Braves are clearly also intrigued, obtaining the young Venezuelan lefty in a January trade with the Angels.
While some might be concerned that Sanchez isn't the biggest guy in the world, his stuff and feel for pitching point to a future in a rotation, even if that big league future is still far off in the distance. He has a relatively simple and clean delivery that allows him to throw strikes, though he's still working on repeating it consistently. Sanchez can locate his fastball to both sides of the plate, a skill that doesn't often come until much later for prospects. His curveball is his go-to pitch, though he can fall in love with it too much. He has a feel for a changeup, but it's behind the other two offerings.
Sanchez has grown some, both in height and weight, and he might not be done growing, though his size might be the only thing that's not projectable about him.