Wednesday, March 19, 2008

#8 Prospect: Humberto Sanchez

Age: 24

Height: 6'6"

Weight: 270 lbs

Position: Starting Pitcher, Right Handed

Humberto Sanchez was selected in the 31st round of the 2001 MLB draft by the Detriot Tigers out of Connors State Junior College. He was traded to the Yankees along with Kevin Whelan and Anthony Claggett for the infamous Gary Sheffield. A Bronx native, Sanchez spent his days at South Bronx High School dominating hitters with his heavy fastball and plus curve. He continued that success in the minor leagues, posting a career 8.84 K/9 and a slightly inflated 4.16 ERA. The reasoning for the "slightly inflated" ERA is due to the fact Sanchez is always injured. He is the Rich Harden of minor league baseball. Oblique injuries, hammy strains, elbow problems, Humberto has dealt with it all. He has been recently down for the count due to Tommy John Surgery

Sanchez is no slouch though, he has some serious stuff. He has a heavy, sinking fastball that he can easily hit 92-94 with. He can throw harder, but the general consensus seems to be that he loses his control when he really chucks it. Humberto also features a plus curveball- a true knee buckler that has a nasty 12-6 break on it. If you watched the Futures Game, you know what I'm talking about. Sanchez does not feature a standout third pitch, but over the past few years, he has been working on a change-up to balance out his repertoire. He can be wild at times, but has improved his walk rate every year since he started his professional career.

Sanchez's future is definitely an interesting topic of debate. He has the stuff to be a starter, but some question if he will hold up in a starters role. He has never pitched over 123 innings in one season and always seems to be injured. This is where it gets interesting. Sanchez may wind up in the bullpen due to his fragile body and crowded Yankee rotation. I, for one, am all for a move to the 'pen. Sanchez has proven that he can't handle a heavy workload but he has shown the ability to get hitters out. I think with his stuff and command, he could thrive as a relief pitcher. Others may disagree with me but you have to remember, Mariano isn't immortal. Someone has to take his place eventually. Its wishful thinking at this point, but Sanchez could fill the void left by Mariano when he finally retires.

No comments: