The next player on our list is one who grew on me from the time he left the Dominican Summer League and was part of an international class that when combined with strong draft classes will change the fortunes of the Rays for years to come.
No.3, OF Jesús Armando Sánchez, 20 years old
Born: October 7th, 1997 in Higuey, Dominican Republic
Height/Weight: 6’3” 210 lbs Bats/Throws: L/R
Signed: by the Rays as an international FA July 2nd 2014 for $400,000
Twitter handle: NA
Twitter profile statement: NA
Baseball America Rankings
- Ranked as the 31st best Rays prospect post-2015
- Ranked as the 7th best Rays prospect post-2016
- Ranked as the 6th best GCL prospect post-2016
- Ranked as the 5th best Rays prospect post-2017
- Ranked as the 7th best Midwest League prospect post-2017
DRB Writers ranking
- High: 2nd
- Low: 4th
Jesús Sánchez: Abilities
- Short and sweet — everything he does is above-average
- Of note, he can man any outfield position at an above-average level, providing the Rays with flexibility on where to use him when he’s ready and enhancing the chances he’ll be called upon
Grades for ‘18 (Pipeline): Hit: 55 | Pwr: 55 | Run: 55 | Arm: 55 | Fld: 55 | Overall: 55
- Abilities notes: There’s nothing at all to criticize about Sanchez, and anything we point to would be micro-analysis driven. From his first half OPS (.826) matching his second half OPS (.825) to his performance being strong vs both LHP (.794 OPS) and RHP (.838 OPS), Sanchez is just steadily above-average. The Rays are going to appreciate that. A lot.
Joined the Rays by way of....
The 2014 international draft, a year where the Rays were more aggressive than ever in bringing international talent into the organization. Along with RHP Diego Castillo, LHP Resly Linares, C Ronaldo Hernandez, and 3B Adrian Rondon, this group will make a major impact on the Rays in 2018 and beyond.
Latest Transaction: assigned to Charlotte from Bowling Green April 2nd, 2018.
Facts, Honors, and Awards
- Ranked 49th on Fangraphs and Baseball America’s Top 100 list pre-2018.
- Baseball America also ranked Sanchez as the 6th best Corner Outfielder in MLB pre-2018.
- David Laurila ranked Sanchez as the 6th best Midwest league prospect.
- Kevin Cash was very impressed with Sanchez during 2018’s spring training.
- Minor League Ball’s John Sickels ranked Sanchez 2nd in the Rays system pre-2018.
- Pre-2016, Sánchez made it to 37th on my list, jumping to 5th pre-2017.
- When asked about the source of the smile he’s always seemingly sporting, Sanchez said:
- Won “Minor League Player of the Year” award from Rays in 2017, and was noted by as having,
earned a spot on both the Midwest League midseason and postseason All-Star teams, leading the league in batting average and RBI and finishing second in hits. His 15 home runs and 82 RBI were also the most of any player in the Rays organization.
Our 2017 Minor League Player of the Year, Jesús Sánchez is coming through the ranks fast. pic.twitter.com/jbIjbOLxzu— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) March 6, 2018
Jesus Sanchez 2017
|SB (CS)||7 (2)|
Stats Notes: One part of Jesús Sánchez that may help the Rays out a lot when he arrives is his ability to drive in runs. With RISP (150 AB), Sánchez hit .313/.348/.487 and with two outs (141 AB) he hit .284/.322/.426 in 2017, showing an ability to rise to the occasion.
Interesting Comparison: Christian Yelich
While Sánchez may have a little more weight to him, both Yelich and Sánchez are 6’3”, both are LHB, and both can handle all three outfield positions.
It’s tough to say right now just how much power Sánchez will develop, but there are many similarities in how they performed at the Low-A level.
‘11 Yelich (521 PA): 10.6 % BB%, 19.6 % SO%, 15 HR, 77 RBI, .171 ISO, .393 wOBA, 140 wRC+
‘17 Sanchez (512 PA): 6.3 % BB%, 17.8 % SO%, 15 HR, 82 RBI, .173 ISO, .369 wOBA, 130 wRC+
Fielding wise, Yelich had spent 2011 playing LF and CF primarily while Sánchez manned LF and RF for the most part. However, there’s little doubt that Sánchez can handle CF duties if needed.
Notes for 2018 and beyond
The introduction to full-season play had Sánchez starting off strong, before slowing some and regaining form in 2017, but overall he was one of the best prospects in the Midwest League. Few will argue against this.
What remains to be seen — and what we’ll be looking for in 2018 — is how Sanchez handles the pitching friendly environment of the Florida State League and whether he earns a promotion to Double-A this season or not as a result. This will provide us with a clearer timeline of when we could expect Sánchez to make an appearance with the Rays.
The most impressive thing about Sánchez is how he does everything so very well. You’re looking for a cannon of an arm in the OF? Sánchez fits that. You’re looking for a player that can come up with big hits in big moments? Sánchez fits that. You’re looking for a character guy with an infectious personality who truly loves baseball? Sánchez fits that as well. All-in-all, there just isn’t much about Sánchez or his performances to be critical about — at all.
Alright, we’ve managed to round one up — stealing bases. With the speed Sánchez has to use, he could get a whole lot more out of it on the bases through steals. He’s learning, though, and if he puts his mind to it and it’s something the coaches want him to perform well in, there’s a good chance he’ll be effective in improving that part of his game.
He’s a pleasure to watch, his ceiling may be even higher than we’re able to recognize at this point, and once 2018 is in the books there’s a good argument to be made that he’ll be among the top 15 to 20 prospects in MLB. And when you consider that he may arrive at the same time as Brendan McKay, Josh Lowe, and Lucius Fox, joining the impressive group of infielders in Triple-A, it’s easy to get excited about the Rays future from 2020 onwards.
Jesús Sánchez: Spotlight Videos
Recap and links of previously listed DRB Top 55 Rays Prospects
*Note: rankings were adjusted and reflect recent additions to the system - it is now a Top 55 list
- #3 - OF Jesús Sánchez
- #4 - 1B/LHP Brendan McKay
- #5 - 1B/LF Jake Bauers
- #6 - OF Garrett Whitley
- #7 - OF Justin Williams
- #8 - INF Christian Arroyo
- #9 - LHP Anthony Banda
- #10 - OF Josh Lowe
- #11 - SS Wander Franco
- #12 - SS Lucius Fox
- #13 - RHP Jose De Leon
- #14 - 2B Nick Solak
- #15 - RHP Tobias Myers
- #16 - LHP Ryan Yarbrough
- #17 - LHP Genesis Cabrera
- #18 - 3B Kevin Padlo
- #19 - 1B/LF Joe McCarthy
- #20 - RHP Austin Franklin
- #21 - RHP Yonny Chirinos
- #22 - RHP Chih-Wei Hu
- #23 - 2B Vidal Brujan
- #24 - RHP Ryne Stanek
- #25 - C Ronaldo Hernandez
- #26 - RHP Diego Castillo
- #27 - RHP Jaime Schultz
- #28 - SS Jelfry Marte
- #29 - LHP Resly Linares
- #30 - SS Jermaine Palacios
- #31 - C Nick Ciuffo
- #32 - RHP Michael Mercado
- #33 - INF Jake Cronenworth
- #34 - 2B Brandon Lowe
- #35 - RHP Curtis Taylor
- #36 - OF Ryan Boldt
- #37 - RHP Jose Mujica
- #38 - 3B Adrian Rondon
- #39 - 3B Carlos Vargas
- #40 - LHP Brock Burke
- #41 - SS Zach Rutherford
- #42 - RHP Hunter Wood
- #43 - 2B Tristan Gray
- #44 - CF Jake Fraley
- #45 - C Brett Sullivan
- #46 - LHP Travis Ott
- #47 - RHP Mikey York
- #48 - RP Brandon Koch
- #49 - UT Luis Rengifo *Traded to the Angels as part of the CJ Cron deal
- #50 - RP Ian Gibaut
- #51 - INF Taylor Walls
- #52 - 2B Jonathan Aranda
- #53 - P Jhonleider Salinas
- #54 - C Chris Betts
- #55 - RP Kevin Gadea