I was one of the loud voices complaining about Neal Huntington’s selection of Tony Sanchez with the fourth pick in the 2009 draft, so allow me to use this occasion to eat some crow. Not only did Sanchez deliver on his pre-draft promise to sign quickly, but he performed very well with West Virginia. He hit .316/.415/.561 with 15 homers and 7 doubles in his 41 games and 188 PAs there and earned a late-season promotion to Lynchburg for the playoffs. It’s probably true that a good college player jumping from the ACC should hit well in the Sally League, but it’s always better to know a guy can hit well at a level than it is to just assume he can. His progression at the plate will be worth monitoring, but right now it looks like he could be better than what everyone initially expected of him, which was essentially for him to be an all-glove no-bat catcher in the Molina mold.
July 2010 Update: Sanchez kept right on performing at the plate in Bradenton this year, hitting .314/.416/.454 in 59 games, but broke his jaw after being hit by a pitch and will miss the rest of the 2010 season. What’s really unfortunate about that is that Sanchez, as an advanced college player, would’ve really benefitted from rising to Double-A this year and I was interested to see how he’d handle upper-level pitching. Originally it seemed like he might be on the Pedro Alvarez-track for a mid-2011 debut and while I guess that’s still technically possible since the team likes his defense so much and there’s so little between him and Ryan Doumit, after this injury I’d have to think that the absolute earliest he arrives in Pittsburgh is as a September call-up next year.