Pirates Prospect Interview: Tony Sanchez

Tony Sanchez the No. 4 overall pick in the June 2009 First-Year Player Draft quickly moved through the Pirates system. The catcher played with State College, West Virginia and Lynchburg. Sanchez finished the season with a combined batting average of .309 with seven home runs and 48 RBI. PiratesDugout.com's George Von Benko caught up with Sanchez recently

GVB -- You just completed your first minor league season, were you pleased with what you accomplished?

TS -- Yeah, absolutely I was extremely pleased with how I responded this summer. I thought I could do that and once I got out there and started playing and realizing it was the same game, I played my own game and everything worked out.

GVB -- You wanted to sign and get started right after you were drafted, was that a good decision and do you think you got the most out of it that you could?

TS -- Oh absolutely I go 50 some games under my belt in pro ball and now with going to instructs it won't be my first couple of practices of baseball. I will have this whole summer under my belt and next season when it starts I'll know a little bit more, I'll be a little more experienced and I'll have more pro AB's.

GVB -- Anything catch you by surprise in your first taste of professional baseball?

TS -- It definitely was everything I expected, it definitely was a grind and doing the same thing every day and showing up to the field and being there for eight, nine hours a day was something that I knew was going to happen. I just wasn't prepared for it, and obviously I got more prepared for it and got used to it, but it was just a little bit of a surprise.

GVB -- They moved you up to Lynchburg for the playoffs and you won the championship, was that a good move and a plus for you playing in the playoffs?

TS -- I was extremely honored to be moved and I figured once I was up there I wouldn't do much of the catching, because I'd never seen these guys and these guys had been throwing to some other guys and developed relationships with them and they had gone into the playoffs with these other guys. I figured I just go and see the sights in Lynchburg and meet some of the guys. But they told me I was catching and I had to lock in and do the best that I could with guys I'd never seen before. I was catching crucial playoff games with guys that I had never caught before.

GVB -- Kristopher Watt had been the catcher, what did they do with him?

TS -- I went in there knowing that it was his team and I didn't want to step on anybody's toes, but he was the designated hitter for us and he had himself a great season and we won the title.

GVB -- You are going to the Instructional League, have they told you some of the things they want you to work on?

TS -- They haven't told me anything yet. I know I'm going to work on mechanics and some of the hitting mechanics and some of the things that I can work on behind the plate and definitely learn more about pitch calling.

GVB -- You moved up three spots in the system, do you feel good about your progress toward the big leagues?

TS -- I've made two promotions this summer, and I'm happy about them. Hopefully I'll have the chance to start out in High A ball next year, and hopefully by the All Star break I'll have a chance to move up to Double A. If I just keep playing the way I'm playing they will move me up just like they said they would. I'm not too worried about it; I know I'll be up there when I'm ready.

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