#14 - Humberto Sanchez

In the 2001 draft, the Tigers selected a little-known right hander out of Connors State College in the 31st round of the draft. Who knew 11 months later he'd be a highly regarded and possible first round prospect. Luckily for the Tigers, the draft-and-follow rule allowed the Tigers to sign this player, RHP Humberto Sanchez.

BIO
The Tigers drafted RHP Humberto Sanchez as an afterthought in the 2001 draft, as he was selected in the 31st round. However, an impressive season for Connors State College and Sanchez shot up the draft charts, going into the 2002 draft as a possible first round selection. However, due to the rule that allows teams that drafted the player a full year to sign him, the Tigers were able to sign Sanchez just days before the 2002 draft as a draft-and-follow.

2003 IN REVIEW
2003 was Sanchez's first full season, as he played for the low-A Whitecaps of the Midwest League. Sanchez was just another member of the extremely talented pitching staff at West Michigan, had he had his highs and lows. Sanchez reached the Midwest League All Star game, however he was for the most part, inconsistent. He had a 7-7 record with a 4.42. ERA, but the larger cause for concern was his poor K:BB ratio (1.23:1) and his high number of wild pitches (9). All in all, he had a very typical first year for a youngster making the jump from lower college competition to the pros.

PROJECTION
Sanchez is very raw, but if he can develop as the Tigers hope, he could see himself as a middle-of-the-rotation starter. Now, he definitely still has a long way to go before he can reach that level, and if his off-speed pitches don't develop his future could be in the bullpen. But as of now, he has given every indication that he can make his way all the way to the big leagues as a starter.

REPERTOIRE
Sanchez has yet to truly develop a solid arsenal of pitches. However, he has the arm and raw talent that is necessary to make it in the majors. Sanchez features a low-90's fastball as well as a slowly developing breaking ball. He has to develop at least one more major league caliber pitch before he can really begin to show what he has.

PROGNOSIS
Sanchez didn't dominate in low-A, however, expect Sanchez to make the jump up to high-A Lakeland this upcoming season. One positive for Sanchez is the presence of so many other top prospects that will probably join him in Lakeland, allowing him not to be the focus – and possibly even see his numbers improve a bit as he'll be lower down in the rotation. Sanchez will need to spend the year developing his pitches and keeping everything under control – and near the strike zone.

BOTTOM LINE
Sanchez has a long way to go, however he has the arm, the body and the attitude that he can make it all the way. These next couple of season will be very critical for Sanchez, as he'll need to start taking some of that potential and promise and turn it into results on the field. All indications are that Sanchez can do that, and if he does, a big league appearance in 2007 seems very likely.


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