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Getting to know Ali Sanchez

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The Mets called up their most major league ready catching prospect.

New York Mets Summer Workouts
Ali Sanchez
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

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. While that hasn’t exactly been the case, Sanchez has steadily developed, serving as the taxi squad catcher this season and officially being penciled into the Mets lineup.

Sanchez impressed in the Dominican Summer League in 2014, hitting .303/.406/.394 in 50 games and prompting them to send him stateside in 2015. He looked impressive with the GCL and Kingsport Mets that year, hitting a combined .272/.330/.306, but was unable to keep the magic going into 2016, as a fractured hamate limited him to just 46 games with the Brooklyn Cyclones and a paltry .216/.260/.275 batting line.

In 2017, he was assigned to the Columbia Fireflies and hit .231/.288/.264 in 56 games, with his season ending prematurely thanks to a second hamate injury, one that needed surgery to properly correct. He began the 2018 season in Columbia for a second consecutive year, 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 for a combined .265/.294/.387 batting line for the 2018 season.

The catcher was assigned to the Arizona Fall League after the season ended, and went 3-25 over the course of 11 games with the Scottsdale Scorpions. When the 2019 season began, he was assigned to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. After hitting a much-improved .278/.337/.337 in 71 games, he was promoted to the Syracuse Mets, where he hit .179/.277/.250 in 21 games to end the season. 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.

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.