Pittsburgh Pirates: All-Time Non-Top 100 Prospect Team

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Third Base - Freddy Sanchez

Freddy Sanchez was taken in the MLB draft twice. The first time was in 1996 by the Atlanta Braves in the 30th round, but he didn’t sign. The second time was in 2000 by the Boston Red Sox in the 11th round. Sanchez ended up signing the second time around, and spent the first handful of years in the Red Sox’s system.

Similarly to Harrison, Sanchez hit for a ton of contact, consistently having a .295+ batting average with well above average strikeout rates throughout his minor league career. However, with little to no ability to draw a walk or hit for power, he was a very one-dimensional hitter. Sanchez made a brief major league cameo in 2002 and 2003 with the Boston Red Sox before being acquired by the Pirates at the 2003 trade deadline.

The Pirates immediately gave Sanchez a starting role in 2004, posted a .291/.336/.400 triple-slash, and .323 wOBA. Although he only walked 5.5% of the time, his 7.3% strikeout rate was one of the best in the league (although he didn’t have enough plate appearances to qualify). He basically split his time up between third base, second base, and shortstop, though the hot corner was easily his best position where he had +12 defensive runs saved in just 477.2 innings.

Sanchez really broke out in 2006 when he batted .334/.378/.473 with a .365 wOBA, and 119 wRC+. Sanchez again only had a 4.9% walk rate, but an astounding 8.2% strikeout rate. While he only went yard six times, he racked up a league leading 53 doubles. Sanchez mainly took up third base this year, and hit double-digit DRS again with +10. Though he also played both middle infield positions some.

The contact-oriented hitting infielder continued to post respectable numbers in 2007, but then had a career worst year in 2008. Sanchez moved to second base during this time, where he provided above average defense with +5 DRS and +4.1 UZR/150 during his time at the keystone. But he returned to form in 2008, posting an above average wRC+ and batting over .295 before he was traded to the San Francisco Giants.

Sanchez was the team’s primary second baseman during their 2010 World Series season. In 479 plate appearances, he batted .292/.342/.397 with a 104 wRC+. His defense was slightly more suspect, though, as he had -3 DRS, but a +3.3 UZR/150. 

However in June 2011, Sanchez would have to undergo season ending surgery on a dislocated shoulder, and this would be the start of the end for Sanchez. Sanchez only played 60 games in 2011, posting similar numbers to his first full season in San Francisco. The former three-time All-Star tried to rehab from his injuries and played a few games for the Low-A affiliate of the Giants, but had to undergo a second back surgery on July 4th. Although he would go the entirety of 2013 unsigned, it wouldn’t be until 2015 when Sanchez officially announced his retirement.

Sanchez was a late-bloomer, so who knows how many more years he would have had if he didn’t suffer so many major injuries at the end of his career. But even though his career was short-lived, playing 100+ games in just six seasons, he still has three all-star games, a World Series ring, and a few MVP votes from 2006 to his name.