Is Gaby Sanchez Worth The Gamble?

The Florida Marlins opted not to sign a veteran first baseman to fill their need, so they will instead turn within the organization to plug the hole.  The most likely player to open the season is Gaby Sanchez, the teams 2005 fourth round draft pick.  The question fantasy owners have to ask is, does he have the potential to make an impact in 2010?

He spent the bulk of the 2009 season at Triple-A, posting the following line:

314 At Bats
.290 Batting Average (91 Hits)
16 Home Runs
55 RBI
55 Runs
4 Stolen Bases
.375 On Base Percentage
.478 Slugging Percentage
.288 Batting Average on Balls in Play

What You Need To Know:

  • Baseball America ranked him as the team’s fifth best prospect heading into 2010, though they note “Some scouts have questioned Sanchez’s bat speed, noting he tends to dive for pitches and can struggle against top pitching”.
  • His BABIP was below average last season, meaning he has the potential to hit significantly better.  His eye at the plate certainly helps, posting a 13.7% strikeout rate (43 Ks) vs. an 11.2% walk rate (41 BBs).  He’s actually walked (246) more than he has struck out (243) over his Minor League career.
  • At 26-years old, you have to wonder how much more power he’s going to develop.  He did post a flyball rate of 43.2% last season, slightly above his career mark of 40.6%.  Unfortunately, he’s just shown doubles power (hitting 40 or more in ’07 & ’08), with last season’s 18 HR (16 at Triple-A and two in the Majors) being his career high.
  • He has stolen as many as 17 in a season, but attempted just four last year.  Don’t look towards that as an asset.
  • His leash may be short, with Logan Morrison, who Baseball America ranked as the team’s second best prospect, nipping at his heels.  It wouldn’t be a complete shock if Morrison actually won the job in the spring, so keep that in mind.  The gamble on Sanchez could leave you completely empty-handed.
  • He’s never driven in more than 100 RBI in a season or scored over 90.  With all the talent at the position, does that type of minor league track record bring much hope?

Final Thoughts:
He has upside, thanks to his opportunity and potential to hit for a decent average.  Unfortunately, without a ton of power and much speed, he’s not going to be a top-level option in any format.  He could have value as a flyer in the deepest of formats, but more likely he should be waiver wire fodder.  If he gets off to a fast start, then I’d be willing to nab him, but that’s about it.

What about you?  Do you think Sanchez could have value in 2010?  What type of production are you expecting?

If you would like to see a free preview of the Rotoprofessor 2010 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide (available for just $5) now including a Top 50 Prospects for 2010 List, click here.

For more looks at prospects, you can check out the following articles:

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