Breaking down the top 7 hitting prospects: #6 Gaby Sanchez

Next on the list is the one with the highest chance of having an impact on the 2010 Florida Marlins’ season. Drafted in the 4th round of the 2005 draft, Gaby Sanchez has constantly been putting up good slash lines but his age has also played a major factor.  After the jump, we’ll take a more in depth look into his numbers and what we can project based off them.

The power numbers really go all over the place.  He was a beast in Greensboro, saw a massive drop in Jupiter, but got another increase in Carolina.  On the surface, his NOLA power numbers look very good but those numbers are only park adjusted, not league adjusted.  The PCL is a massive hitters league (Their offensive numbers are higher than even the American League).  Doing a quick and rough AAA league adjustment, his .ISO would drop to .164, his HR/150 to 24, and slash line to .274/.359/.437.

The good news on the NOLA line is that, with the average age of the PCL being 27 years old, Gaby was young in comparison to his competitors. This is not something that can be said about previous years. I already went over this with Scott Cousins, and Gaby has been the same age as Cousins has at every stop. Their power numbers have also been very similar. Gaby has shown more raw power and HR power, but Cousins closes the gap in ISO with triples. All things considered, they’re probably looking at similar ISO numbers at the major league level. And while Gaby has shown that he’ll likely be nothing more than average in BABIP, he has put up amazing BB/K numbers and is definitely the best bat of the final three.

The problem is, just like with Logan Morrison, is defense and position. While originally thought of as a terrible defensive first baseman, he mad major strides prior to the 2008 season and won the Gold Glove for the Southern League that year. The Marlins have also been trying him at third base, and while it seems like they have no intent of playing him there he’s actually shown a lot of promise going by Total Zone.  Here’s the breakdown:

POS TZ TZ/150 adj TZ/150
1B -2 -9 -5.5
3B 2 2 -5.2

Now those numbers don’t take into account his recent improvements defensively. From 2008 on, his adjusted TZ/150 would make him an average 1B.  The scariest thing is, his adjusted TZ/150 from 2008 on puts him at a +4 defensive 3b.  That’s very unlikely, but if Gaby can manage to be a -5 defensive 3b at the majors that increases his value massively. I’ll go over more on that later in the post, for now though I’m going to project Gaby as an average defensive first baseman.

So we have hitting and defense.  Base running wise, while he is slow he has shown good insticts and should be about average in that category.  Taking all this into account, we get a projection of around…

CHONE literally has the same projection as I do.  However, as I went over in the Cousins post, CHONE is projecting a rookie year so CHONE is actually more optimistic than I am.  All in all though we’re looking at about a 2 WAR player, making him an average player. With Logan Morrison breathing down his neck though, if he’s to stay with the Marlins it’ll likely be more in the Wes Helms RH back-up 1b/3b roll. With Logan possibly needing a platoon, as I went over in Logan’s entry, he could still get a good deal of playing time even though he’s not starting.

Ceiling wise, if he’s able to start pushing towards a .200 ISO, that puts him at an impressive .370 wOBA. Being a 1B really hurts though, putting his WAR ceiling at just 3. And it really hurts his floor. If his power really doesn’t show up, and he becomes more along the mold of a .130 low HR/high 2b ISO (much like Chris Coghlan and Jake Smolinski), that puts his floor at a .320 wOBA/0.4 WAR.

Going back to third base. If he is able to be a -5 defensive player at third base, this improves his run total by 9, putting his expected WAR at 2.9 and ceiling at 4. This would jump him up to Morrison/Dominguez territory. There has been zero talk from the Marlins front office about him playing third base at the major league level, but he has played half his games at third the past two years in the minors. With just how much of a leap this does to his value, I think the Marlins should at least try this and see what they can get out of him.  However, with defensive numbers still not being perfect, a lot of weight should be put on what the scouts see and considering that Sanchez is still being projected as a first baseman it doesn’t look all too pretty.

All in all, we’ll likely see what Gaby can do next year at the major league level. Hopefully his power numbers surprise us, and he ends up being a good regular.

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