Victor Sanchez Scouting Report
A couple weeks ago, Conor Dowley wrote up Blue Jays pitching prospects Roberto Osuna who we both saw pitch in late July. His Vancouver Canadians took on the Everett Aqua Sox and Osuna stole the show striking out 13 in 5 innings, putting on one of the most dominant minor league starts I have ever seen. On the other side of the pitching matchup though was another big name Latin prospect, Victor Sanchez. Both Sanchez and Osuna were regarded as two of the top pitching prospects out of the 2011 international class. While Osuna outshined Sanchez in the start, Sanchez was still impressive. Conor will also be helping with this scouting report so you can see both of our thoughts on Sanchez.
Victor Sanchez was signed for $2.5 million by the Mariners at the age of 16. He made his professional debut this year and has spent all of 2012 at Everett. He has posted a 3.56 ERA, 7.27 K/9, and a 2.97 BB/9. Sanchez has done a great job keeping the ball in the ballpark this year. He has a 0.45 HR/9 and has allowed only 3 homeruns. Sanchez, now 17 years old, is one of the youngest players in the North West League. Most of the talent he is going up against is a good 3-4 years older than him.
While Sanchez did not quite have the performance that Osuna had, he flashed some impressive stuff. He opened up the game getting strikeouts for his first 4 outs and would go on to strikeout 8. His final line on the night was 6IP 6H 5R 3ER 0BB and 8K. Now on to the report.
Mike: What really stood out about Sanchez was his size. He is only 17 years old and stands 6’0” 255lb. I walked past him the week before at a previous game and he had some of the biggest hands I had ever seen. Everything about him is big. He has a thick torso with strong shoulders and big strong legs. He looks like a linebacker out there on the mound. It will be very important though that he stays in shape but at present, Sanchez has a very strong, durable build.
Sanchez’s delivery is relatively smooth and simple. There are no effort concerns and he shows good balance in his delivery. He is quick to the plate out of the stretch but does not lose anything on his velocity. He has a very powerful arm and his advanced feel for pitching and maturity were beyond his years.
Conor: Physically, there’s little not to like about Sanchez. He’s thick, but not in any troubling ways. There’s definitely some concern about how much projectability is there, how much he can add to his fastball, but even if he’s maxed out he’s in a pretty good position for his future. Like Michael, I was incredibly impressed by his maturity and advanced approach to pitching. Those two attributes more than any other will help him as he advances up the minor league chain.
Mike: Sanchez throws his fastball 90-94 MPH thanks to his impressive arm strength. He has a loose arm and the velocity looks to come pretty easy. He was able to blow it by batters for swings and misses and also locate it on the outsides of the plate. I don’t see him gaining much more velocity on his fastball since he is probably as filled out as he will get. There is not much movement on the pitch though so it will be important that he commands the pitch well. It was impressive to see him threw it to both halves of the plate to both lefties and righties which is something you don’t see 17 year olds doing all that often.
Conor: While his fastball doesn’t have a ton of moment on it, he commands it very well, better than any 17 year old has a right to do. When Michael and I saw him, he also threw a handful of what appeared to be an early-development sinker that came in at about 87 MPH. The pitch didn’t wow me (it flashed as average potential at best that night), but the arm speed and release are very similar to his fastball and it could give him a little bit of something to help keep batters off his fastball. As Michael notes below, though, Sanchez also has a changeup that is a wonderful pitch.
Mike: He also features 3 off speed pitches and I was most impressed by his changeup. There is a pretty big velocity difference between his fastball and changeup but he does a good job not slowing down his arm action. The pitch was coming in anywhere from 78-82 MPH. The pitch had good drop and fade and it was very deceptive. He had a good feel for it and it was a strike out pitch for him. He liked to throw it with two strikes and it generated a lot of swings and misses.
Conor: I love, love, love Sanchez’s changeup. Of course, I’m a sucker for a good change, but this one could be something very good indeed. The arm speed and release is as identical to his fastball as it gets, and it’s heavy, late movement helps to draw helpless swings. Every pitcher should have one pitch that has the ability to make batters look silly, and for Sanchez that pitch is his changeup.
Mike: Sanchez also flashed an impressive slider. It sat about 82-83 MPH and had good hard break. He threw it pretty consistently for the most part but towards the end of the game, there were a few times where it did not break much and caught too much of the plate. He located the pitch pretty well though and also got a good amount of swings and misses with it.
His curve was also an impressive pitch and I ranked it a tick behind his slider. It sat 77-79 MPH and at times had some late sharp break. It did get a little slurvy at times though. When the pitch was on he located it well and it had good form and movement.
Conor: Here’s where Michael and I disagree a bit. I actually rated the curve above the slider in my evaluation. I felt the curve had better depth to it and much better consistency than the slider did. While the slider had a nice hard sweep to it, it was also very inconsistent, especially towards the end of his appearance. He had some good whiffs thanks to it, but hitters also managed to square it up too easily on several occasions.
The curve’s movement and consistency gives him a good pitch to help keep batters off balance, and it flashed the potential to be the lethal, knee-buckling curve scouts love to see. It comes in around the same velocity as his change, but breaks harder and at a slightly different angle. While the slider’s different plane would be an advantage (the rest of his arsenal being largely vertical in nature), I feel that the variety of depth in those other pitches (fastball-sinker-change-curve) should be enough variety to keep him out of trouble.
Mike: As both Conor and I pointed out in our reports, there is a lot to like about Sanchez. Everything about his game is beyond his years and he has an impressive mix of pitches which all have potential. It’s a bit too early to start giving him a ceiling but there is a lot to get excited about with Sanchez and we may start seeing his name climb up prospect lists in the next year. The video that I got can be seen below. Enjoy