Up next in our countdown is a teenager that few have actually seen with their own eyes, but one that could someday be the top pitching prospect in the Angels farm system. Let's find out what we can about Ricardo Sanchez.
Position: LHP Highest Level: n/a
Bats: L Throws: L Height: 5'10" Weight: 160
Age: 16 Born: ???
2013 Rank: Unranked
2013 Season Stats
NO PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
Fastball = B
Ricardo Sanchez is 16 years old and has a fastball that reportedly sits 88-91 already. That’s really all we know.
Offspeed Pitches = B
Sanchez reportedly has “good feel” for both his change up and curve ball. Again, that’s all we know.
Control = Incomplete
Reports indicate he has trouble locating, but then again, he’s 16 years old. At 16 years old, most of us had trouble throwing the ball 60 ft 6 inches without it bouncing.
Command = Incomplete
Incomplete scouting reports.
Mechanics = Incomplete
The only thing I was told is that he’s good from the stretch and has a lot to mid three-quarters release.
Performance = A
He was named MVP of the U15 World Championships, made up of many of the top young talent of the future. Plus, he was signed by the Angels and began to be paid to play baseball. All in all, I’d say Ricardo had a good year.
Projection = B
At this point, we can only speculate. But he’s 5’10 at age 16, there’s probably a decent chance he’ll grow another couple of inches. And if not, the Angels are one system that doesn’t mind churning out vertically limited pitchers (Alex Torres and Tyler Chatwood). The average fastball of a major league LHP is 88-90 mph, at age 16 Sanchez is already there. It wouldn’t be completely surprising to see him throw in the low or mid-90’s by the time he’s done growing.
Grade as a Prospect = C+
Most teams had a larger international budget than the Angels did last year. But they spent over a quarter of their pool money on this kid. Whatever the case may be, the Angels wouldn’t have done it unless they thought there was something truly special about this kid. Baseball America ranked him the 27th best international prospect. Angels scouts believe he was Top 10. There must be something here.
Estimated MLB Arrival Date = TBD
I was told that Sanchez may end up coming stateside as a 17 year old. Could you imagine pitching in Rookie Ball at age 17? At this point, the hit the ceiling lottery in terms of time it takes him to make it to the major leagues would be age 21, in 2018. More likely would be 2020 maybe?
2013 in Review*
Sanchez has yet to play at any minor league level as he is a 16-year old the Angels signed out of Venezuela in early July. He was the 27th ranked international prospect in this year's class according to Baseball America and reportedly required a $580,000 signing bonus. All there really is to go on is reports from various outlets, but they all suggest he has a lot of promise. Frankly, the best compliment that he received was that the Halos spent so much to get him, an out of character move from the franchise as they are still rebuilding their international scouting department after a skimming scandal during the Reagins regime decimated that part of the organization. In the years since, they've gone with a quantity over quality strategy internationally, but apparently Sanchez was just too good to pass up.
Sanchez is just baby, so when we talk about looking ahead, we are are looking way, way, way ahead. The plan appears to be for Sanchez to come stateside to work in the Arizona Summer League. He's so young though that it would probably make more sense for him stay at the Angels' Dominican complex as there is no sense in rushing him. The last thing the Halos should do is risk ruining him as an asset by pushing him too aggressively.
Being as young and as physically immature as he is, he already has very impressive tools both in terms of his velocity and stuff. If the Angels handle him right, he should become the best pitching prospect in the system and a top 100 overall prospect within a few years. He is one of the few arms in the system that has a shot at being a blue chipper, so they best not screw him up.
*As we do every year, the scouting reports and grades are provided by Scotty Allen while Garrett Wilson provides the 2013 in Review and Looking Ahead sections.