TCN 2013 Cards Prospect #26: Eduardo Sanchez

Our seventh-ranked prospect one year ago had a rough season. Can the hard-throwing reliever bounce back in 2013?

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2012 and career stats)

2012 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
7 RHR 2/16/1989 5-11 155 R R 2005 FA

Became a Cardinal: Signed as a non-drafted free agent on December 26, 2005.

Selected 2012 stats

MEM 2 3 5.86 5.66 30 0 9 27.2 27 19 3 21 26 1.39 0.252 0.304
StL 0 1 6.60 5.89 17 0 0 15 11 11 2 13 13 0.78 0.204 0.220

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

CariocaCardinal (24): Some players' prospect rankings are determined primarily by their raw ability. In other cases, it is driven primarily by their performance to date. Eduardo Sanchez has both raw ability and has proven performance to back it up, yet in his case, his prospect ranking is determined primarily by his injury status.

When healthy, Sanchez is a potential shut down reliever/closer who probably rank in my top 10. With a shoulder injury, he is a long shot bet that he will recover and someday be close to his former self.

Sanchez most likely starts 2013 in the Triple-A bullpen to try to prove his health. If he is healthy and effective, he could become a mid-season trade chip or a major league replacement for someone else who gets injured or traded.

Message board community (26): Writing about Sanchez makes me sad. Just 12 short months ago, Sanchez was the Community's number 7 prospect. Now? The whippet-thin righty finds himself at 26th. 18 runs in 28 innings will do that to a prospect. Oh, and 21 bases on balls doesn't help, either.

In short, after a tremendous 2011 season that saw the then-22-year-old Venezuelan break through with 30 superb MLB innings (35 K's and just 14 hits allowed), Eduardo's control evaporated like a politician's principles this year.

Now, as far as I know he is healthy, and can still throw 93-96, with a sharp slide-piece to put batters away. So it's just a matter of getting that marginal-but acceptable level of control back. If he does, he could be the Carlos Marmol of the Redbirds (good Carlos, not recent Carlos). If not... well, you already know what the "if not" is. - BobReed

Brian Walton (30): Four years ago, I was one of the first to hop onto the Sanchez bandwagon, ranking him number four on my list as he came off a 2009 campaign split between Palm Beach and Springfield. In the group rankings, he peaked at number three in 2011 before dropping to number seven last year.

It is time for me to eat some crow. I honestly felt all that Sanchez needed was health, time and opportunity before he captured the Cardinals closers job. As such, I wrote the following one year ago: "One thing I am sure of: 2012 will mark Sanchez' last appearance on this top 40." Obviously, I was wrong, though if this was a top 25 list instead, I would have been right for the wrong reason!

At least last winter, his 2011 shoulder injury and long disabled list stay gave us a reason to maintain confidence in him. In 2012, Sanchez appeared relatively healthy until missing three weeks in August with a sore elbow. Long before then, his results had suffered. Still, I thought he had a decent chance of a September recall, but he was passed over.

Just as last winter, Sanchez has suited up back home for Aragua in the Venezuelan Winter League. While he has fanned 16 in 13 1/3 innings, eight walks are a point of concern. The eight runs allowed, seven earned, are close behind. It isn't the kind of domination we had hoped for and brings to a close a most disappointing 2012 for him.

At this point, I am more confused than anything regarding where Sanchez' career is heading. My ranking indicates I have jumped the furthest off his bandwagon.

Our 2013 top 40 countdown continues: To see the list of top Cardinals prospects announced to date and remaining article schedule, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

There's more! Monthly and quarterly subscribers who upgrade to our annual pass will receive in the spring the 2013 FOX Sports NEXT Prospects Guide, a $4.95 value, for FREE. The perfect hardcopy companion to "40 Days" includes the top prospects from all 30 MLB organizations and much more. We author the Cardinals section of the guide as always.

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