Monday, February 9, 2009

6. Gaby Sanchez

6. Gaby Sanchez - First Base - 6'2 - 225lbs - Throws: Right - Bats: Right
(last year: 13)

Taken in the fourth round out of the University of Miami in 2006, Gaby Sanchez did not play for the Canes that season for undisclosed disciplinary reasons. That did not scare the Marlins away as he was signed for $250,000. In his first professional season at Jamestown, he tore it up, hitting .355/.401/.487 in just over 230 at bats. Being advanced in age, he started out 2006 in Greensboro. He hit an amazing .317/.447/.603 in 189 at bats. This earned him a promotion to High-A ball but his season took a turn for the worst when he suffered a broken hand sliding into first base. After rehabbing, he broke his foot rounding third base and that pretty much ended his season.

In 2007, his prospect status didn’t go up or down as he held his own in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. Although he hit just 7 homeruns, he did have 40 doubles. While his walk rate stayed about the same, he did strikeout at a much higher pace than at any point in his career. There were some concerns that his numbers would take a nosedive in Carolina in 2008, but instead he would be named Southern League MVP. In 478 at bats with the Mudcats, Sanchez hit .314/.404/.513 with 17 homeruns and a surprising 17 stolen bases. Even more impressive were his 69 walks to just 70 strikeouts.

Sanchez has a very quick bat, and even though he is sometimes an impatient hitter, he does not strike out much for someone with his power potential. He has fantastic power to all fields and has become a walk machine as well. At this point last year, Gaby was still considered a defensive liability but hard work has turned him into an above average defensive first baseman. He has much improved footwork and his glove has impressed over the last year as well. With the departure of Mike Jacobs, it’s going to be Gaby’s job to lose in Spring Training.

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