Name: Henry Sanchez
Position: First Baseman
DOB: November 29, 1986
The Twins selected Sanchez as a supplemental pick in the first round of the 2005 June Draft, and they may have gotten a player would could put up huge power numbers in Minnesota someday. Sanchez is a big kid, who looked nothing like an 18-year old when I saw him in Florida last season, and he has one of those swings where the ball seems to rocket off the bat. He is extremely young, and has a lot of things to work on, but his ceiling is one of the highest in the organization.
It may have been an injury that brought the slugger to the Twins, as a broken hamate bone caused him to struggle a bit during his senior year of high school. Predicted earlier to be a top 10 draft choice, the Twins scooped him up with the 39th pick overall, and then signed him for just under a million dollars.
He made his debut within the Twins farm system as a member of the Gulf Coast League Twins, and showed just how raw he actually is. His batting average was well below what many expect, posting a .229 average, and he only smacked two home runs in 21 games. Still, it is clear to see that he has the raw ability to be a middle of the lineup hitter in the Major Leagues someday, so you can look at the 2005 season as a kind of write off.
A few scouts are worried about his work ethic, as he has the tendency to put on weight in bunches, so he should be under a microscope this spring. They will want to get more of a look at him, so he will most likely be in extended spring training, but he could reach as high as Beloit of the Midwest League in 2006.
Batting and Power: There is a huge difference between batting and power when it comes to Sanchez, and he needs to bridge that gap as much as possible during the next couple of seasons. There is no question to his power abilities, as he has the ability to smack one out of any area of the yard. What he needs to do is cut down on his strikeouts, because that is a problem that can absolutely kill your batting average. He struck out 28 times in 21 games in 2005, a staggering number that needs to come down in 2006. Still, he will be able to work on his batting eye with more experience, and the Twins want him to continue to hurt the baseball. If he can learn that a single is just as good as a home run sometimes, and wants to make contact, then there should be a tremendous jump in his batting averages from 2005, to 2006.
Baserunning and Speed: When a guy stands 6'3'' tall, and weighs 260 pounds, he is not the kind of player you want setting the table, and getting on base to cause troubles for the opposing pitcher. He is not a speedster at all, in fact he is a below-average runner, but that is not something you worry about when you are talking about a player that is in the middle of your lineup. He really was not on base enough last season for me to give a good assessment of his base running skills, but I would not expect him to be winning any stolen base titles during his career.
Defense: He does not have bad footwork around the bag, which is kind of a shock when you look at him. In fact, he is not a bad first baseman at all, and seems a bit polished at the position. While he could still project as just a designated hitter, he is in no way a liability at first base.
ETA. 2008. I am going to go out on a limb and say that Sanchez may be ready for the Major Leagues faster than most people are thinking. With a guy with his natural born gift to absolutely kill a baseball, and the Twins struggling to find that huge power bat in the middle of their lineup, they may try to move Sanchez faster than they normally would. He was recently rated by Baseball America as being the best power hitting prospect in the organization, and I could not agree more. Look for him to get his first taste of full-season baseball in 2006, starting his steady ascension throughout the organization.