- Full name Gabriel Sanchez
- Born 09/02/1983 in Miami, FL
- Profile Ht.: 6'1" / Wt.: 235 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Miami (FL)
- Debut 09/17/2008
- Drafted in the 4th round (126th overall) by the Miami Marlins in 2005 (signed for $250,000).
Organization Prospect Rankings
Suspended his entire junior year at Miami, Sanchez was a fourth-round steal for the Marlins. He signed for $250,000, largely on the recommendation of East Coast scouting supervisor Mike Cadahia. He won the short-season New York-Penn League batting title (.355) in his pro debut and the Double-A Southern League MVP award in 2008. He was slowed last season by two separate minor injuries to his left knee, both from freak collisions. Sanchez's plate discipline is excellent, maybe a tick behind Logan Morrison's. He hits for average with a short swing and continues to show plenty of raw power, with the potential to hit as many as 25 homer annually. Defensively, he shows plus arm strength and good lateral quickness. Some scouts have questioned Sanchez's bat speed, noting he tends to dive for pitches and can struggle against top pitching. A strong work ethic keeps his conditioning in order, but his chunky body could be a problem down the road. He projects to be average at best defensively, and has settled back in at first base after trying catcher and third base. After failing to win a big league starting job last spring in a wide-open competition, Sanchez will try again in 2010. Morrison is just one level behind him, so it would behoove Sanchez to establish himself at first before the superior bat arrives.
Suspended under a cloud of mystery his entire junior year at Miami, Sanchez was a fourth-round steal for the Marlins. He signed for $250,000, largely on the recommendation of East Coast scouting supervisor Mike Cadahia, who had known him for years. Sanchez won the short-season New York-Penn League batting title at .355 in his pro debut and the Southern League MVP award last summer. His plate discipline ranks right with Chris Coghlan's as the best in the system. Sanchez makes excellent adjustments from pitch to pitch and has learned to use the whole field. He shows outstanding gap power and could hit almost anywhere in the lineup besides leadoff. After trying catcher and third base, he has worked hard to become a plus defender at first base, with managers rating him the best in the SL. Big-time power isn't in Sanchez's toolbox, as his 17 homers last season were a career high. He tends to dive for balls and can struggle against top pitching, with some scouts questioning his bat speed. He'll have to keep a close watch on his conditioning. He has below-average speed, though his lateral quickness has improved. Having reached the majors for a brief look last September, Sanchez heads to spring training with an excellent shot at winning the starting first-base job. The Marlins dealt incumbent Mike Jacobs to the Royals in a salary-related move, but they also did so knowing Sanchez was ready to break through.
Suspended for undisclosed reasons as a junior at Miami, Sanchez signed with the Marlins for $250,000 as a fourth-round pick in 2005. The recommendation of East Coast scouting supervisor Mike Cadahia, who had known Sanchez for years, was a key factor in the decision to draft him. Sanchez has excellent plate discipline and a solid understanding at the plate. He makes adjustments and uses the whole field. Thanks to hard work with infield coordinator Ed Romero, Sanchez has made himself into a solid first baseman. He's getting better jumps and reading contact better, and his hands even look a little softer. He moves laterally much better than he did even a year ago and still shows a strong arm. Sanchez fell into some bad habits, diving for pitches and struggling against top-quality stuff. He uncharacteristically started to chase bad pitches in the first half but got back to his normal approach in the final two months, when he hit .287 with seven of his nine homers. A below-average runner, his body is still a work in progress and could be an issue for him. Sanchez should advance to Double-A in 2008 and with continued improvement, he could push Mike Jacobs for Florida's first-base job in 2009.
After a suspension cost him his junior year at Miami, Sanchez signed with the Marlins for $250,000 as a fourth-round pick in 2005. East Coast scouting supervisor Mike Cadahia vouched for a player he had known for years. Sanchez won the New York-Penn League batting title in his pro debut and played well in 2006 until nagging finger and foot injuries slowed him down. Sanchez has tremendous plate discipline and an advanced approach to hitting. He has plus raw power, makes quick adjustments and knows how to set pitchers up. Minor hitting coordinator John Mallee eliminated some of his extraneous pre-swing hand movement and also got him to stop pulling off the ball. Sanchez has shown versatility, flashing potential behind the plate and at first base in addition to his natural position at third. He has a strong, accurate arm. Though his footwork is sound, Sanchez never will be more than an average defender. His body could use more definition and his range is barely passable at first or third base. Because of his suspension and injuries, he has played the equivalent of just one season in the last two years. After holding his own in the Arizona Fall League, Sanchez figures to open 2007 back in high Class A. He will play mostly at first base, which should expedite getting him into the big league lineup.
After a suspension cost him his junior year at the University of Miami, Sanchez signed with the Marlins for $250,000 as a fourth-round pick. East Coast scouting supervisor Mike Cadahia vouched for a player he had known for years. Sanchez then scraped off the rust and lit up the short-season New York-Penn League with his bat, claiming the batting title with a .355 average, 11 points better than his closest rival. He did so despite an excess of hand movement in his swing that some scouts believe will have to be eliminated as he climbs the ladder. Hitting the ball the other way is no problem for him, but he didn't show much power despite good natural strength. Some scouts think he'll add power as he progresses, especially if he smoothes out his swing mechanics. He played both corner infield spots and also saw action behind the plate, where he wasn't as comfortable but showed enough to make it an option. Sanchez showed a plus arm and has better speed than his large lower half might indicate. He has solid makeup and good baseball instincts, which allowed him to pull off a straight steal of home. Given his strong debut, he could jump to high Class A Jupiter this year.
Minor League Top Prospects
Injuries to both knees hampered Sanchez's season. A bone bruise on his left knee in spring training cost him the chance to open the year as Florida's starting first baseman, then he sprained his right knee on a play at home plate in May which knocked him out of New Orleans' lineup for five weeks. When healthy, Sanchez bolstered his reputation as a mature, professional hitter. He has a compact swing, allowing him to hang in well against breaking pitches and drive the ball to all fields. He has some power, though it's modest for a first baseman. Plate discipline is also one of his strengths, but he could do a better job with pitch recognition. Sanchez is an average defender at first base. He's a below-average runner, but his hands are serviceable and he has the arm strength to play third base in a pinch, though the hot corner won't be a long-term option for him.
Sanchez missed his entire junior season at Miami because of an undisclosed violation of university policy but his bat didn't suffer during the layoff. He won the NY-P batting title and also was named MVP of the league's inaugural all-star game. An aggressive hitter, Sanchez showed the ability to put the ball in play with authority to all fields. Once he starts incorporating his lower half more in his swing, he should develop more power. "You can fool him with one pitch, but you won't get him with the same pitch next time," Mahoning Valley manager Rouglas Odor said. "He is very good at making adjustments. You have to pitch him like a big league hitter." While he played more at third base than anywhere else, Sanchez did see some time at catcher and held his own despite his inexperience behind the plate. He has enough arm strength to stick there, and if he can adapt to the position he'll greatly enhance his prospect status.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Defensive 1B in the Southern League in 2008
- Rated Best Strike-Zone Discipline in the Miami Marlins in 2007
- Rated Best Power Hitter in the Miami Marlins in 2007
- Rated Best Hitter for Average in the Miami Marlins in 2007
- Rated Best Strike-Zone Discipline in the South Atlantic League in 2006