A follower of mine on Twitter responded to my request for prospects to write about yesterday with Victor Sanchez of the Seattle Mariners. While I wrote about him around this time last year, I thought he would be interesting to take another look at now that he's had time at a full-season league. To start, let's see what I thought of him last year:
Sanchez is a prospect who is too far away in my opinion to make a reasonable guess at what he could turn into in the Majors. It seems that he has the upside to be a top of the rotation type, but realistically this is going to take likely 4-5 years to get there. And he is also far enough away that he may not turn into anything at all. Just remember that he will still be just 22 years old in 2017. He is definitely someone I would be following if you play in deep keeper leagues.
Sanchez finished the 2012 season where he started, making 15 starts for the Mariners' Northwest League affiliate. In 85 innings pitched, he struck out 69 batters, walked 27, allowed 69 hits, and finished with a 3.18 ERA. The Mariners sent him to full-season Low-A Clinton for this season, and started the season with 38 innings, 25 strikeouts, 6 walks, and 35 hits allowed (.624 OPS allowed). However, he was placed on the temporarily inactive list for most of June, and since being reactivated has thrown 26 innings, struck out 16 and walked 2, including an 8 strikeout, no walk no-hitter on Wednesday. In total, Sanchez has a 2.83 ERA, 41 strikeouts, 8 walks, and 57 hits allowed in 63+ innings pitched.
The scouting report on Sanchez points to a pitcher who has the potential for three average or better pitches. He features a fastball which sits in the low-90s, and is considered to be plus already. He also has a changeup which is also considered plus now, and also uses a breaking ball which is expected to be average. His build is considered mature already, as he is already over 250 lbs at age 18. As a result, it sounds like Sanchez is expected to work more on refinement of his repertoire and skills rather than having a ton of projection left as he gets older.
While I'm not ready to move Sanchez into my own top 50 pitching prospects, I think he starts approaching that if he can finish out his season in Low-A with similar reports and performance as his first half of the season. Multiple reports have pointed to his ceiling being a #3 starting pitcher in the Majors, and it seems like he can be a back-end fantasy starter (#5 or #6 for mixed leagues) based on the performance so far. I still believe his timeline points him toward a debut around 2017 if he makes it, but as he continues to perform as he moves up, the likelihood of him making it increases.