Gaby Sanchez hit .302 over 1,753 minor league at bats. The Marlins gave him cups of coffee in the Major Leagues in 2008 (8 AB) and 2009 (21 AB), before finally handing the former fourth round draft pick the full-time first base job to the in 2010. He did deliver, posting the following line:
572 At Bats
.273 Batting Average (156 Hits)
19 Home Runs
5 Stolen Bases
.341 On Base Percentage
.448 Slugging Percentage
.299 Batting Average on Balls in Play
Now, the question for fantasy owners is if he can not only replicate those numbers, but if he can expand on them. Let’s be honest, for as nice as the numbers are, they are far from what we are expecting from a first baseman. Where’s the power? Where’s the big-time average?
Over his minor league career Sanchez hit just 62 HR, or a home run once every 28.3 at bats (only slightly better than his 30.1 mark in ’10). In 2009 he had 318 AB in the Pacific Coast League, hitting just 16 HR.
While he did post a nice 46.1% fly ball rate, his HR/FB was just 8.7%. He had 37 doubles and 3 triples so, at 27-years old, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him add a little bit of power and see some of those extra base hits fly over the fence. However, given his track record it’s impossible to expect a huge increase. Putting him in the low 20s seems like a good bet, but that’s far from your prototypical first baseman.
There is room for growth in his average, given his minor league career and a .299 BABIP in ‘10. Throw in a good contact rate (17.7% in ’10, but he was at 13.7% mark at Triple-A), and there is reason to believe. Like the power, I’m not sure that you can expect a huge increase, but improving to .280-.290? Sure, why not.
Again, however, is it enough?
Throw in the fact that he’ll likely going to be hitting fifth or sixth, and there is actually a lot of reasons to stay away from him. Sure, he’ll be in a position to drive in some runs, but it doesn’t seem like the lineup will allow him to drive in 100, especially if he’s hitting sixth. Scoring runs? I don’t think so. Not hitting that late in the Marlins order.
The whole thing adds up to the following projection:
.285 (164-575), 23 HR, 80 RBI, 90 R, 6 SB, .311 BABIP, .362 OBP, .470 SLG
Those numbers are fine and dandy, but not from a first baseman. You need someone who is going to hit a lot of home runs, or at least hit for a great average and drive in some runs. Without that, you are going to be significantly behind the competition.
As a corner infielder? Absolutely, there’s nothing wrong with him. He’s a solid option and certainly stacks up with the low-end 1B or the majority of 3B as well. If you are in a shallower format, however, there are better options you can look towards.
What are your thoughts on Sanchez? Is he someone you would target? Why or why not?
**** Make sure to order your copy of the Rotoprofessor 2011 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, selling for just $5, by clicking here. ****
Make sure to check out some of our 2011 projections: