Name: Ali Sanchez
Weight: 200 lbs.
Acquired: IFA, July 2, 2013 (Carora, Venezuela)
2019 Season: 71 G, 270 AB, .278/.337/.337, 75 H, 13 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 23 BB, 52 K, 1/1 SB, .341 BABIP (Double-A)
21 G, 56 AB, .179/.277/.250, 10 H, 4 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 5 BB, 11 K, 0/2 SB, .217 BABIP (Triple-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. He impressed in the Dominican Summer League in 2014, hitting .303/.406/.394 in 50 games, prompting the Mets to send him stateside in 2015. He looked impressive with the GCL and Kingsport Mets in 2015, hitting a combined .272/.330/.306, but a string of injuries starting in 2016 limited his time on the field and how effective he was when playing. In 2016, he hit .216/.260/.275 in 46 games with the Brooklyn Cyclones and fractured his hamate at the end of the season. In 2017, he was assigned to the Columbia Fireflies and hit .231/.288/.264 in 56 games, with his season ending early thanks to another hamate injury that needed surgery to correct. He began the 2018 season in Columbia once again, but was promoted to St. Lucie midway through the season. He was effective on both clubs, hitting.259/.293/.389 in 59 games with the Fireflies and .274/.296/.385 in 38 games with the St. Lucie Mets. After playing in the Arizona Fall League, Sanchez was assigned to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies to start the 2019 season. After hitting .278/.337/.337 in 71 games, he was promoted to the Syracuse Mets, where he appeared in 21 games to end the season, hitting .179/.277/.250. After the season ended, he was assigned to the Arizona Fall League for a second time, hitting .262/.347/.310 in 14 games for the Scottsdale Scorpions.
Standing open at the plate, Sanchez has a quiet set-up, using small leg kick as a timing mechanism. Though he shows some raw power in batting practice, his smooth, contact-oriented swing has never shown much power, and scouts and evaluators are unsure if it ever will. He 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.
While there are questions about his offense, nobody doubts Sanchez’ defensive ability behind the dish. His arm is only average, but he excels at all of the other facets of catching. He is athletic and moves well behind the plate, has a quick transfer, regularly posts good pop times, and has an accurate arm. Sanchez is an excellent framer, with TrackMan data in past seasons suggesting that his framing ability is able to save multiple runs over the course of a season. In addition, he possesses catchers’ intangibles, calling a good game and getting positive reviews by his coaches and pitchers.
Years ago, I thought Ali Sanchez was going to develop into a legitimate top prospect in baseball. We had reports that his defense was pretty solid, and I thought that his bat would come around. Well, my prediction hasn’t really come true, but the bat is not an automatic out, so there’s that. He’s still surprisingly young given how long he’s been around, so there’s still some time for it to develop even further, but having the floor of a back-up catcher with room for more is a pretty solid outcome.
Sanchez made major strides in his approach at the plate in 2019, more than doubling his walk rate in Double-A after closing out 2018 with a very aggressive approach at St. Lucie. Still, the bat lacks any semblance of punch, and at some point pitchers might just be able to knock the bat out of his hands. The defense is legit, but it’s less than ideal that the Mets have such an offensively limited catcher as their top prospect at the position and the third option on the depth chart.
Twenty-nineteen was a big season for Sanchez, who more or less held serve against pitching in the high minors for the first time and impressed the Mets enough to be added to the 40-man roster prior to the rule five draft. Sanchez is probably the third catcher on the big league team’s depth chart at present, and will in all likelihood, if no other catchers are brought into the organization, make his big league debut at some point in 2019. Like Tomas Nido before him, Sanchez is more of a defense-first catcher than an offensively minded one. While he might not be quite as good a defender behind the plate as Nido is at present, his defense has generally received good reviews, especially when it comes to pitch framing. His defensive skills far outweigh his abilities on the offensive side of the ball at present, and I personally have my doubts about his ability to hit at the big league level. Sanchez has developed little game power as he’s climbed the organizational ladder, and while he has continued to post solid batting averages at each stop, I’m skeptical that he ends up hitting enough to stick around as a back-up catcher for particularly long. While the offensive profile leaves something to be desired, Sanchez’s proximity to the big leagues, and ability to play good defense at the game’s most specialized defensive position should keep him employed in baseball for a very long time to come.
Sanchez is your typical backup catcher prospect – he struggles with the bat but he can handle himself well behind the dish. That will keep him around in the upper minors/as a shuttle catcher for a while, and he is likely to see time in the majors as soon as 2020 with the catcher depth chart set up the way it is now.
Name: Stanley Consuegra
Weight: 170 lbs.
Acquired: IFA, July 2, 2017 (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic)
2019 Season: N/A
Signed out of the Dominican Republic for $500,000, Stanly Consuegra was one of the better quick-twitch athletes in the 2017-2018 international free agent class. He began the season in the Dominican Summer League but impressed enough organizational evaluators to promoted him to the GCL Mets after only a few weeks. While Consuegra didn’t exactly dominate in his stateside debut, he held his own as a 17-year-old, posting an 84 wRC+. He entered the 2019 season with a knee injury and eventually had surgery on it, ending his season before he was able to play in a single game.
At 6’2”, 170 pounds, Consuegra has a long, projectable frame. His swing gets deep, but he has strong wrists and displays excellent barrel control, allowing him to make a lot of contact. His contact is currently line drive loud, but with more muscle, he should add additional in-game power.
Like many young Dominicans, he played as a shortstop and was initially billed as being one, but has since transitioned to playing the outfield. Thanks to quick reaction times and average speed, Consuegra covers a lot of ground. Because of his history as a shortstop, he possesses a very strong throwing arm, with evaluators ranging from above-average to plus. If he is able to improve on his reactions off the bat and routes, Consuegra may be able to play center, but if he is not, his arm is strong enough to fit in right.
Thanks to that knee injury, Consuegra didn’t get to play a single game last year. As far as we know, it was not a serious injury, so he will be coming into the 2020 season with all of the same potential that he did last year, just a year older. As was said last year, it’s an exciting profile, but given his age, there are a lot of trajectories his career could take.
Consuegra was one of the most exciting names to watch in 2019, but he never even made it on the field thanks to an injury. You could pretty much copy-paste last year’s blurb in here – big July 2nd bonus, projectable body, centerfield-quality athlete – and tack on an injury addendum. There’s always a concern that injuries add up to ultimately sap athleticism, but we’re not at that point yet with Consuegra, and he can hopefully get on the field next season.
Consuegra’s season ended before it started, as 2017 IFA signee missed the entire season following a knee injury incurred in extended spring training. Consuegra was in all likelihood slated to begin the year with the Kingsport Mets as an 18-year-old before the injury, which tells you something about how highly the Mets think of him. Given that he hasn’t played since the 2018 season, the report on Consuegra has remained more or less the same as it was heading into 2019. He’s still presumably an excellent athlete, although we obviously won’t know the extent to which his injuries have affected him until after he returns from them in 2020. He’s still the raw, projectable athlete that had us all intrigued heading into the season, and he will definitely be looking to make up for lost development time heading into the upcoming season.
Consuegra missed the entire season due to injury, but at 19 the upside is still there. He showed flashes at 17 in the GCL, both offensively and defensively and hopefully he can put the injury behind him and continue his development.