Pittsburgh Pirates Top 30 Prospects 2019 Season Rewind: Lolo Sanchez

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

Kicking off the top 15 in the Pittsburgh Pirates top 30 prospects 2019 season rewind is a young Dominican outfielder

In July 2015 the Pittsburgh Pirates signed a rising outfielder out of the Dominican Republic for $450,000. This outfielder was then 16-year-old Lolo Sanchez.

Now 20-years-old, Sanchez is one of the top outfield prospects in the Pirates’ minor league system. After struggling during the 2018 season, Sanchez had a much needed bounce back campaign in 2019.

A contributing factor to the struggles of Sanchez in 2018 was his inability to hit breaking pitches. In 2019, however, as he saw breaking pitches with more regularity he found himself improving substantially against them. In turn, his overall results saw an uptick in 2019.

After struggling to the tune of a .243/.322/.328 slash line at the Low-A level, Sanchez started the 2019 season back at the Low-A level. After finding great success with the Greensboro Grasshoppers, Sanchez was promoted to the High-A Bradenton Marauders. Sanchez would go on to play the final 52 games of his season with Bradenton.

Between Greensboro and Bradenton, Sanchez slashed .257/.345/.375 in 2019. He posted a .336 wOBA, 114 wRC+, he stole 33 bases, and collected 27 extra base hits. Maybe most impressively, he struck out in just 12.9% of his at bats. Not only is this figure well below an average strikeout rate, hitters as young as Sanchez rarely make this much contact and avoid the swing and miss at this kind of rate. Putting the ball in play at a high rate is, obviously, a plus for any hitter, but that is especially true for a hitter that possesses the speed that Sanchez does.

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When the 2020 season begins Sanchez will be back with High-A Bradenton. His next step will be to improve upon hos numbers with the Marauders in 2019. Sanchez slashed just .196/.300/.277 with a wRC+ of 77 after his promotion to Bradenton. If he can show the same improvements in year two at High-A that he did in year two at Low-A, he could find himself with Double-A Altoona before the end of the season.