2011 Cardinals Prospect #4 – Eduardo Sanchez

When can the hard-thrower make the transition to standout MLB reliever? Today's article is FREE!

Scout.com Player Profile (including links to full 2010 and career stats)

2010 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
6 RHR 2/16/1989 5-11 155 R R 2005 FA

Selected 2010 stats

SPR 1 1 3.12 24 0 11 26 22 13 2 8 27 1.78 0.232
MEM 0 0 1.67 26 0 3 27 19 7 2 12 31 1.53 0.200
Tot 1 1 2.38 50 0 14 53 41 20 4 20 58 1.65 0.216

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Dustin Mattison (5): After rocketing up prospect lists last year, Sanchez followed it up with a solid 2010 campaign. Though slightly undersized, he has a powerful and a fastball that sits in the mid-to-high nineties. He has a smooth delivery that he easily repeats.

Sanchez has struggled to find the feel of his slider. If he can ever find consistency with it, the pitch could be a second plus offering. His walk rate of 4 BB/9 will have to improve but he was just 21 and already serving as a closer in Triple-A.

The right-hander should get an invite to camp with an outside shot of making the big league club. Most likely, he will start the season at Memphis and see some time in the bigs during the season. He looks the part of an impact set-up man and may will day serve as the team's closer.

Message board community (3): Eduardo Sanchez continues his ascent up The Cardinal Nation prospect lists just as he has continued his rise up the ranks of the Cardinals minor league system. Rising to the #4 prospect spot (the highest ever for a Cardinal Latin American free agent signing), Sanchez also rose to the Triple-A level of the Cardinals system. And he didn't miss a beat. Sanchez pitched basically the same at Triple-A as he did in Double-A (over parts of 2009 and 2010) from a FIP standpoint and had an even lower ERA.

What makes Sanchez particularly interesting as a pitching prospect is that in addition to a live fastball and a solid curve, Sanchez generates a large number of ground balls. Sanchez's control is about average but he did give up a large number of walks in a short winter league stint this off season.

Sanchez is now on the 40-man roster and should get a chance to compete for a bullpen spot in 2011 though he most likely will start the year in Triple-A Memphis barring injury to a pitcher already on the roster. His real shot will most likely come in 2012 when the Cardinala closer spot may become available if Ryan Franklin is not re-signed. - CariocaCardinal

Brian Walton (4): Sanchez holds the same ranking on my personal list for the second year in a row. Good to see the others finally joining me! While I still don't believe there is a reliever who is as close to the majors with more upside than Sanchez, he didn't get his chance in St. Louis in 2010 as I had hoped. Stability in the major league bullpen was a part, along with the emergence of Fernando Salas to help plug the gaps.

The main question I see for Sanchez in 2011 is whether or not there is enough time for him to inject himself into the 2012 closer derby with holdovers Mitchell Boggs and Jason Motte. I have no doubt Sanchez possesses the talent. The question is time and opportunity. Without a significant and impressive MLB stint in 2011, I don't think Sanchez can secure the job to start 2012.

Sanchez totes upper 90's heat, a good slider and command to go with it. At least his command is usually ok. He did have a concerning stint in the Venezuelan Winter League where he walked 12 and also yielded 12 earned runs in just 10 2/3 innings, so perhaps more finishing is not a bad idea.

Our 2011 top 40 countdown continues: To see our entire list of 40 Cardinals prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

There's more! Want access to the all details behind our Cardinals prospect rankings in our "Forty Days, Forty Nights, Forty Prospects" feature here at The Cardinal Nation?

Subscribe by January 21 to our annual pass and receive in the spring the 2011 FOX Fantasy Guide / Scout Prospect Guide, the perfect hardcopy companion to "Forty Days", including the top prospects from all 30 MLB organizations and much more. We author the Cardinals section of the guide as always.

© 2011 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com and stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Cardinal Nation Top Stories