24. Ali Sanchez, C
Height: 6’1”, Weight: 200 lbs.
DOB: 01/20/97 (21)
Acquired: IFA, July 2, 2013 (Carora, Venezuela)
50 G, 193 AB, .259/.293/.389, 50 H, 11 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 10 BB, 23 K, 1/1 SB, .274 BABIP (Low-A)
38 G, 135 AB, .274/.296/.385, 37 H, 9 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 5 BB, 15 K, 1/1 SB, .292 BABIP (High-A)
One of the top talents available worldwide during the 2013-2014 international signing period, the Mets signed Venezuelan catcher Ali Sanchez for $690,000 and hoped that he would be able to develop into the next great Venezuelan catcher, following in the footsteps of Ramon Hernandez, Victor Martinez, Miguel Montero and Salvador Perez. He impressed in the Dominican Summer League in 2014, prompting the Mets to send him stateside in 2015, but his development has since stalled thanks to various injuries sapping his already limited ceiling.
At the plate, Sanchez has a quiet set-up, using a toe tap timing mechanism. His smooth, contact-oriented swing has never shown much power, and scouts and evaluators are unsure if it ever will, though he did show an uptick in power this past season. Sanchez uses the entire field, at times going to the opposite field almost as much as he pulls the ball. He does not walk much, but he does not strike out at an excessive rate either.
Despite the limited offensive ceiling, hitting is only half of a catcher’s duties, and Sanchez is held in high esteem for his defense. He only has an average throwing arm, but excels at the other facets of catching. He is athletic and moves well behind the dish. He has a quick transfer, has shown good pop-up times, and has an accurate arm. He calls a good game and is well-liked by coaches and the pitchers that throw to him.
Steve Sypa says:
I was higher on Sanchez a few years ago, at one point believing that his bat would come around and he would establish himself as a possible Top 10 prospect, but I’ve since tempered my expectations. Sanchez’ bat isn’t completely anemic- I’ve seen him put a jolt into the ball on more than one occasion- but I feel that his approach hamstrings him, as he doesn’t pull the ball as much as he should and purposefully goes the opposite way more than he should. With his defensive skills, if his bat can show some life would, Sanchez would go from fringe interesting to genuinely exciting. At this point, that is a big if, but catchers develop on their own time.
Lukas Vlahos says:
Sanchez has really fallen off the map, and he’s failed to deliver on the promise he showed as an 18-year-old in rookie ball. He’s still an above average receiver, but he struggles to control runners, and the offensive tools haven’t improved. At best, he’ll be a defensively gifted backup catcher who hits for an empty average. More likely than not, his early success was a flash in the pan. Or not, because catchers are weird man.
Kenneth Lavin says:
There was a time when Ali Sanchez was considered a potential catcher of the future within the organization, but the bat never really developed the way people hoped it would. He hasn’t had an above-average offensive season since 2015, and hit just .265/.294/.387 as 21 year old across two levels of A-ball. Defensively he’s a good framer, but struggles with some of the more traditional measures of catcher defense. Catchers tend to have long careers and are always in demand due to the specialization of the position, so I think there’s still a decent chance he ends up accruing big league service time when all is said and done.