Riding a hot streak, the Pittsburgh Pirates have decided to promote “Relentless” Tony Sanchez to AAA Indianapolis. Cory Giger broke the news tonight.
Sanchez hit very well after being drafted in the first round – in A ball – but after breaking his jaw, his offensive game hasn’t been the same. Last season he struggled mightily and “didn’t hit like a man,” Sanchez said.
In the past month, Sanchez has found his bat once again. His OPS was .795 and he hit .289. Recently, his defensive has improved and he has ripped six doubles in his past ten games. The Pirates sent a catching “specialist” to work with the top pick and Sanchez seems to have soaked it all in as he hasn’t made an error in almost a month. Sanchez is also starting to get some extra base hits at the plate as well, although he hasn’t hit a bomb as of yet.
The Pirates coaches say whatever Sanchez provides with the bat is a bonus, it doesn’t seem to be the focus of their work with Sanchez.
With Altoona in 40 games this season, Sanchez didn’t homer, but had a .370 OBP and .760 OBP which are some of the best numbers for a catcher in the Eastern League. He has a .277 average as he heads west to Indy.
The Bucs have focused on growing him defensively, and in his game calling has earned the trust of his pitching staff. The one thing that has happened several times is the fact that his arm doesn’t seem cannon-like. Sanchez has gunned down 13 runners who have tried to swipe a base out of the 49 attempts by the bad guys, which is good for 27 percent.
We’ve always enjoyed watching Sanchez play, because he appears especially committed to his craft with a fierce determination to succeed, but yet the entire time he is on the field, it’s easy to see his joy for the game. In spring training, it was Sanchez who was first on the field preparing for action; now let’s see if his hard work can carry over to the AAA level.