Bang For Your Buc

Trimmed-down catcher Tony Sanchez earned way to No. 4 pick

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PITTSBURGHRyan Howard did a commercial with Jared Fogle, the guy who lost 245 pounds in one year by eating Subway sandwiches. It might be Tony Sanchez's turn to replace the Phillies' slugger.
The Pirates said if they took C Tony Sanchez fourth overall—which they did—they could spread more money out over the rest of the draft. Now we'll see if they will spend to sign RHP Zack Von Rosenberg (sixth round, committed to Louisiana State), RHP Trent Stevenson (seventh, and an extreme projection at 6-foot-6, 165 pounds) and LHP Billy Cain (eighth, committed to Texas). Several other late picks who might be high-dollar summer follows include Stanford RHP Jeff Inman (12th), Florida OF Matt den Dekker (16th), Tennessee prep RHP Jordan Cooper (17th), Florida prep RHP Michael Heller (29) and Central Arizona JC LHP Kevin Gelinas (45th).

The Boston College catcher went on his own version of the Subway diet after he ballooned to 248 pounds by the end of his sophomore season in 2008. He ate turkey-and-gouda subs at least five days a week and dropped 28 pounds, the 6-foot-1 Sanchez getting down to 220 pounds by the beginning of this season.

Changing his eating habits turned Sanchez from a player who wasn't even listed among Baseball America's top 100 prospects for the Draft last November to being the fourth overall pick by the Pirates.

"It was because of a lot of hard work because I knew I had to change my body to play at the next level," Sanchez, 21, said. "I also believe that good things happen to good people. I always try to be the best person I can possibly be and make the right decisions both on and off the field."

Sanchez hit .346/.443/.614 with 14 home runs in 228 at-bats as Boston College made the NCAA tournament for the first time in 42 years.

However, character was also a big reason why the Pirates decided to pick Sanchez at No 4, though he was generally expected to go late in the first round. GM Neal Huntington and scouting director Greg Smith flew to Boston and had dinner with Sancheznot at Subwaytwo weeks before the draft and fell in love.

"I've spoken to people who work in the NFL and they talk about how they take a player's love of football into account when they make their selections," Huntington said. "You see that in Tony. He is an outstanding defensive catcher and has the chance to be above-average offensively but he just loves to play the game. You can't help but notice it when you watch him play or talk with him."

"Tony was a great leader for us and he's going to be missed, " Boston College coach Mik Aoki said.


• The Pirates used their supplemental first-round pick on Dallas Baptist righthander Victor Black, who was 6-4, 4.16 in 88 2/3 innings this season. The Pirates gained the pick after failing to sign second-rounder Tanner Scheppers, a righthander from Fresno State, last year.

• Righthander Brooks Pounders was the second-round pick from Tecumula Valley (Calif.) High. Though the 6-foot-5, 240-pounder went 9-2, 1.96 in 12 starts, the knock on him by many scouts is he lacks the velocity for a big pitcher.