When John Hart traded third base prospect Kyle Kubitzka to the Angels for LHP Ricardo Sanchez, it became evident that all of his moves were about upside. Kubitzka was a near MLB-ready prospect at a position of need at the time for Atlanta, but the team opted to move him for a 17-year old lefty with a ton of room for growth. At the time of the deal, Sanchez ranked as the second-best prospect in a weak Angels farm system. He was signed out of Venezuela at age 16 by Lebi Ochoa, who now serves as the Braves’ senior advisor to player development.
Sanchez has a nice fastball that sits around the lower 90’s, but given his age and the fact that he weighs just 170 pounds, one can assume if all goes as planned his heater will sit around 94-96 by the time he hits the big leagues. Sanchez also uses a curveball and changeup, a pitch that needs improvement. Though undersized, many believe the Venezuelan has frontline starter potential. Unfortunately, farm system fanatics did not get much of a chance to see what kind of potential Sanchez flashes. Injuries have limited him to just 10 appearances in 2015. He had a 5.45 ERA in these starts, but these numbers are somewhat misleading as he only had a few bad starts. His .250 opposing average shows that he has the ability to get batters out, but his 4.8 BB/9 rate led to him giving up an opponent on base percentage of .360. Sanchez must work on his control to make it to the big leagues, but this kid also just turned 18 years old. He’s also had more success against righties than lefties this season, which is sort of a strange split.
Sanchez has become a lost name in a pitcher crowded farm system due to the fact he has played in just the lower levels of the minors and has had sort of a lost year due to injury. He will be an interesting guy to keep an eye on in 2016, as he has a ton of potential and lefties don’t grow on trees. SportsTalkATL’s Prospect List has him ranked as the 18th best prospect in the organization at the conclusion of the 2015 Minor League season.