Prospect Profile: Humberto Sanchez

Sanchez starred at the Futures Game

On Friday, the Tigers pulled the trigger on the first blockbuster deal of the offseason, shipping out prized pitching prospect Humberto Sanchez. Get the scoop on exactly what the Tigers are giving up in the powerful righty Sanchez.

Humberto Sanchez
Position: Right-Handed Pitcher Height: 6-6 Weight: 230
Born: 5/28/1983 Bats: Right Throws: Right

Background
Taken in the 31st round of the 2001 draft, Sanchez was the classic draft and follow candidate. After a solid 2001 season with Rockland Community College, Sanchez underwent surgery to remove scar tissue from his right arm, causing many teams to shy away from the talented youngster. After transferring to Connors State for the 2002 season, Humberto displayed outstanding skills, including a 92-93 mph fastball with outstanding sink, and was projected to be taken in the first round of the upcoming draft.

Smartly, the Tigers didn't let that happen; offering him a $1 million dollar bonus to sign with the organization. The 2004 season saw Sanchez improve enough to earn a late season promotion to Erie of the Eastern League, where he posted a 2.13 ERA in 2 starts, with 15 strikeouts over 12+ innings. Sanchez's 2005 season was a rocky one to say the least. Various injuries limited him to 15 appearances, before his dominating trip to the Arizona Fall League. In 2006, Humberto announced himself to the baseball community. Included in that statement was a dominating performance in the Futures Game at All-Star weekend, and a promotion to AAA-Toledo.

Scouting Report
Scouts love Sanchez' intimidating fastball and the incredible sinking action he is able to generate with it. In combination with his overpowering fastball, Humberto flashes an above-average curveball and a passable change-up. His curveball has plus potential, but Sanchez lacks consistent control or bite with the pitch. Unfortunately, Sanchez' change-up has not progressed with much success, but the makings of a solid major league pitch can be seen.

With his large frame and defining arm action, Sanchez often reminds scouts of Roberto Hernandez. Much like Hernandez early in his career, Humberto struggles to repeat his mechanics, leading to spotty control, and high walk totals. He is not a natural athlete, and often struggles fielding his position, but understands positioning enough to help compensate for this. Because of concerns over his conditioning and his ability to remain healthy, Sanchez's future may lie in the bullpen.

Performance

Level

Team

W-L

ERA

G

GS

SV

SO

BB

IP

WHIP

AA

Erie

5-3

1.76

11

11

0

86

27

71.2

1.03

AAA

Toledo

5-3

3.86

9

9

0

43

20

51.1

1.36


Health Record
Sanchez has endured a litany of injuries throughout his baseball career. His lengthy medical history includes Tommy John surgery, back problems, knee surgery, a sore shoulder, and this past fall, a tender elbow that forced the Tigers to shut him down in late July. Sanchez has yet to make it through a full professional season in good health.

The Future
There is zero questioning Humberto's dominating potential and powerful fastball, but there are plenty of questions surrounding his durability. Sanchez's injury history has prompted many to speculate that he may move to the bullpen to become an effective Major League pitcher. Much is likely to be expected of Humberto as he heads into his first spring training as a member of the Yankees organization. Expect him to challenge for a spot on the Opening Day roster in the Bronx, and a worst case scenario would have him arriving in Yankee Stadium during the second half of the 2007 season.

You can contact Mark Anderson at mark@tigstown.com

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