Bad news for Auburn’s Joe Sanders. The night before he was about to make our Draft Tracker as a player whose stock is moving up, Sanders was hit in the face with a Kyle Putkonen fastball that resulted in a broken jaw.
Sanders had a great summer in the Cape Cod League, hitting .273/.309/.412 for the Harwich Mariners. He was named to the all-star game and participated in the home run derby at Fenway Park. He entered the season ranking as the nation’s No. 79 college prospect, but has boosted his stock with a terrific showing this spring.
The youngest of six kids, Sanders has done nothing but hit since showing up at Auburn. His freshman year, he hit .333/.406/.508. His sophomore year was a nice encore at .348/.369/.532, but this year he’s turned the power up a notch. In a year thin on collegiate position players, Sanders’ .329/.383/.756 line stands out. His 18 home runs so far rank as the second-most in the nation and he’s not just feasting on midweek pitchers, as his 56 total bases in Southeastern Conference play lead the league.
"The offensive approach at Auburn is very aggressive, and he’s really responded to that," a rival coach said. "He’s improved his command of the strike zone and it’s showing with the home runs. He’s like a lot of their guys in that he has bat speed, strength and real raw power."
The knock on Sanders is that he doesn’t have the softest hands and will likely have to move from third base to a corner outfield position, but the bat should carry him out there.
It’s yet to be determined how much time Sanders will miss with the broken jaw. The report said surgery could be necessary and could take place as early as April 23.