Written by: Nick Lobraico
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This is a second look into the profile of Jesus Sanchez. Some grades WILL vary from the other reports. That’s scouting, opinions vary, people see things differently, and you must build your own opinions on players. Feel free to compare grades from each and make your own judgement, based on the data, and analysis in each report, as well as your own thoughts on these players. Not everyone opinions will be the same!
In the lower minors, Jesus Sanchez would hit over .300 every year. Now, with some exposure to AA and AAA over the last two seasons, he has settled somewhere between .200 and .275. He can hit the ball hard and far in the air but struggles doing just that: getting the ball in the air. In the Rays organization, it would be fair to expect a 1.5 GB/FB ratio in any given year, but he was able to get that number down to 1.1 after the deadline deal with the Marlins.
Also concerning is his low BABIP — in the upper minors, it has been below .300 more times than not. This is not a simple case of bad luck; it’s most likely the result of too many easily defended grounders. On a more positive note, Sanchez typically only strikes out 20% of the time or less, so that’s one thing he won’t have to worry about as he tries to reverse this trend.
Since the start of the 2017 season, Jesus Sanchez has hit between 10 and 15 home runs per year. Two of those are in 117 games and one was in 113. Over those seasons, his projected home run count over 162 games would be 18 if each year is weighted twice as heavily as the previous one. What limits him from letting his plus raw power play in games is all the ground balls. On the path he’s on, he will probably hit about 15-20 HR a year in MLB, but he definitely has the ability to do better.
Sanchez has really filled out his 6’3” frame over the years, and his mechanics allow for his body to work some serious thump into that bat. His legs and core are where it starts, and the torque between his core and shoulders drives a whipping force from his hands that can make the ball explode on contact. Hitting the ball hard will not be a problem; the only question is if the power manifests in extra base hits.
For a prospect whose calling card is his offense, he is not a bad defender at all. His speed, glove, and arm are all at least average, which is great news. The typical outfield slugger might struggle to find consistent playing time on a competitive roster if their defense is an issue, which is definitely not the case here. One of the biggest benefits of this is that Sanchez will certainly be an easy guy to write on the lineup card every day. The Marlins could get away with putting him in center field here and there, but in the broader sense he’s a corner outfielder — possibly a regular right fielder with his arm.
Room For Improvement
As previously noted, Sanchez’s tendency to hit the ball on the ground limits what he is capable of doing as a hitter. With greater launch angles, he could see his power translate into games much more than it is right now. The low BABIP is almost certainly related to his ground ball rate, so if he can make this adjustment he would theoretically get more hits, get on base more, and do more damage all at the same time.
A common concern scouts have for Sanchez is his patience and plate discipline. However, he has been better at taking his walks over the last two years. It is still something to keep an eye on, but the level of concern is nowhere near where it was a few years ago.
Long Term Outlook
The No. 7 Overall Prospect in the Marlins’s system looks to be a solid everyday player in Miami’s future. His defense is good enough to put him in the corner outfield regularly, and his bat is on the verge of breaking out. He did have a lower GB/FB ratio in the month he had in the organization after being traded which could be a sign of things to come.
In time, Sanchez will have to prove that he belongs on the team in order to stay long term. He will have to compete with players like Monte Harrison, JJ Bleday, and Jerar Encarnacion for playing time. That should give him some urgency to work on hitting the ball in the air more, especially considering that a couple struggling seasons would put him in the same basket as Lewis Brinson, a former top prospect now on the outermost fringes of the active roster.