Results tagged ‘ catcher ’
Tony Sanchez was ranked the No. 2 prospect in the Pirates minor league system this year (No. 1 position player) and was drafted in the first round (fourth overall) of the 2009 draft out of Boston College.
Sanchez played in just 59 games with the Bradenton Mauraders (where he was batting .314) during the 2010 season before suffering a season ending surgery. Sanchez was hit in the face by a pitch and required to have his jaw wired shut.
After batting just .206 with four home runs and nine RBI in 18 games in the Arizona Fall League, Sanchez is ready for the new season and to give the Pirate faithful something to smile about again.
On who Sanchez has been learning the most from this spring training: “I wouldn’t say there is one guy I’ve learned a lot from, there’s a catching core. As a group, I’ve learned to pick things from their brains. With catching next to guys like [Chris] Snyder, [Ryan] Doumit, [Jason] Jaramillo who have big league experience and a lot of time up there. Anything you can learn from them is going to be beneficial towards my development. A lot of things they do I try and mimic, try and do thing the way they do it. Whether it be how they block or throw to the bases, even the way they carry themselves in the locker room. The opportunity to have [Manny] Sanguillen here is a wonderful opportunity as well. That guy caught, for who knows how many years in the big leagues, and he knows his stuff. Anytime he’s out there with us doing early work we’re listening and we are taking it all in.”
On if he feels added pressure from being ranked so high by Baseball America (46th overall): “The thing about pressure is the more you think about it, the more it’s going to weigh in on you. I learned how to deal with pressure after I got drafted. Of course a lot of expectations are going to be put on you but the way you deal with them carries out on the field. If you’re worried about what people think you’re going to do every game, you’re not going to succeed more than you fail. Not everyone is going to like me. I try not to worry too much about what other people think or what I’m being ranked, as far as Baseball America, or all the websites. The less I think about it, the better I play.”
On if his defense is something he prides himself on: “Oh yeah, definitely. Ever since I could remember I’ve always worked on my defense a lot more than my hitting. My defense is something that got me to Boston College and allowed me to succeed there and got me drafted. It’s something I pride very much. We put a lot of work into our defense. We put a lot of hours into it. It’s something that, when I’m done playing baseball, I want to be remembered by, as one of the greats behind the plate.”
I brought up the fact that Sanchez only threw out 15 percent of base stealers last season. He said it’s a number that “eats at me a lot” but something he has been working on a lot this spring: “When you go from catching in college and throwing everybody out to your first humbling experience of not throwing everybody out you’re kind of in shock. You kind of say, ‘Am I not as good as I was in College?’ The more you think about that, the more that it’s going to weight in on you. It was a learning experience. I learned not to do too much when guys are stealing. I can only control what I can control. And that’s putting the ball on the bag as quick as I can and not trying to be quicker than I can be.”
On if he trained differently this offseason because of injury: “When I had the broken jaw, I couldn’t really do much because I couldn’t really breathe or take in as much oxygen as I needed to. Obviously, loosing a lot of weight. I was weak and not as strong as I should have been. That’s what happens when you don’t eat anything solid for a month. I felt really good in Arizona as far as health wise. I really didn’t change anything in the offseason as far as strength training. I did the same thing as I did last year. I really watched what I ate.”
During the jaw surgery, Sanchez had to blend a lot of his foods. I asked him if there was a certain food he couldn’t fathom eating again: “Chef Boyardee. I will not be buying that from the grocery store anytime soon. I did have a soup the other night at dinner (French Onion soup) and it wasn’t as bad as I thought. It was the first one I’ve eaten since my month of only soups. I definitely won’t be eating chef Boyardee, probably for a long time.”
On what activities he likes to do in downtime during spring training: “I have family about 25 minutes away that live on the water and have a boat. Anytime I have time to get up there we always go fishing. My cousin is a big hunting and fisherman guy. He got me into hunting last offseason. Anytime I have a weekend, which is extremely rare. In the offseason I did a lot of hunting and fishing. During spring training, I do have golf clubs but I’m not very good yet. I want to practice and get better because that’s what the guys do here. Everyone goes golfing. It’s a lot of fun and a good relaxation period to get out there and take your mind off baseball and drive some golf balls.”
Goals for the 2011 season: “I just want to go out there and lead the team like I did in college. Control the pitching staff and have them have their trust in me and know that I’m back there working harder for them then I am for myself at the plate. I don’t really set goals as to where I want to be what month, or if I want to move up during the All-Star break. Of course I want to hit. I want to hit more than I don’t. I just want to work and make sure my body’s in shape to catch a full season because I really haven’t played a full season yet. I don’t know what it’s like to play from April to August and that’s something I need to learn and I need to experience before I can start thinking of where I want to be at what point.”
I asked Tony prior to the game if he knew the reason why Manager Clint Hurdle hadn’t used him to play in a grapefruit league game yet: “In the beginning meetings he said that I was one of the guys he’d use more for the atmosphere. It’s fine with me. I have a lot of fun here. I’m getting as much work in as I can and learning from the guys, getting as much swings and defensive work as anybody else. There’s eight of us [catchers] here. Those guys obviously have a better shot of making the team or contributing to the big league team than I do right now at this point. My feeling are is that it’s just not my time to get any time in the games. Maybe next year.”
During the sixth inning, Sanchez pinch hit for Matt Diaz and stayed in the remainder of the game to DH. He hit a double down the third baseline during his first at-bat. In the seventh, he struck out looking with the bases loaded. He later said on twitter: Struck out lookin with the bases drunk, in a 2 run ball game. Guess it too early in the season to recognize full count sliders #swingthebat
I’d really like to think I had something to do with that. Good luck? Doubtful. Weird timing though.
*Special thanks to Tony Sanchez for the interview.
Ryan Doumit’s role for the 2011 season is a significant down grade compared to the years past. If he remains a Pirate for opening day, he will be seeing limited plate appearances, as a back-up catcher and a pinch hit/bench guy. And dare I say it? First baseman and right fielder on occasion.
There is still a chance Doumit could be moved before the season starts, however, according to Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette.
“There have been feelers, both ways. I remember Neal Huntington quoted (I think it was in a Hot Stove piece) about “the right fit” for Doumit. And Neal went on to say that “right fit” could be some different roles in Pittsburgh or, perhaps, in another city. Logic yields that Doumit is being shopped. I would say there is a good chance other teams want to see him in Spring Training; want to see him healthy and in-person and then might be a bit more aggressive with a play for him. I said it before, though: I really wonder how much the head-injury stuff is holding some teams back.”
Now that the superbowl is over we can all focus on our national pastime. Just seven days until pitchers and catchers report to Bradenton, FL. And 21 days until I head down for coverage.
Here are some Bucco news and notes:
- General Manager Neal Huntington told Pirates beat reporter Jenifer Langosch that the pieces are finally in place for the organization to move forward in a positive direction.
“We’ve talked a lot about where we’ve been,” general manager Neal Huntington said. “I feel stronger about our plan. I feel stronger about our vision. I feel stronger about our execution than I’ve ever felt. I stand in front of you more excited about our season than I have ever in the three other times I’ve stood here. We’re beginning to now talk about the Major League team.”
- Pirates catching prospect Tony Sanchez, who arrived at spring training early, caught his first bullpen this season on Monday. He said on twitter, “First time catching pens today since Nov. It’s like riding a bike. Caught Jeff Locke and Hunter Strickland, both looked pretty damn sharp.”
Have you ever wondered what those semi trucks that are heading down to spring training are full of? Well, MLB Network’s Monday edition of Hot Stove revealed some of the items that the Phillies sent to sunny Florida.
15 cases of gum (regular and sugarless)
12 cases of sunflower seeds
Half a pallet of powerade mix
250 batting practice tops
250 pairs of shorts
450 pirates of socks
600 pairs of pants
150 pairs of gloves
- MLB Trade rumors believes 2011 is a make or break year for catcher Ryan Doumit. The 29-year-old went from the Pirates everyday catcher in 2008 to a bench, backup catcher role that he is likely to see this season. The Bucs have publicly made it known they were shopping Doumit, but no trade has been made. Since putting up .318 during the 2008 season, Doumit’s has been struggling at both hitting (.250, .251 average’s in 2009 and 2010) and fielding (.987, .990 fielding percentage’s with nine past balls last season and only 12% caught stealing).
MLBTR believes Doumit is a “defensive liability” as an everyday catcher and thinks he is better suited in the American League where he can serve as a backup and occasion designated hitter role.
- During President Frank Coonelly’s live chat on Wednesday, he was asked ‘what is the plan for Jameson Taillon? Will the injury to Stephen Strasburg last year have any impact on his movement through the Minors?’
“No final decision has been made with respect to where Jameson will begin his professional career, but, given what we’ve seen to date, I would expect that Jameson will begin in Charleston, West Virginia, with the Power. The mayor of Charleston attended our caravan stop on Monday and encouraged a commitment that both Taillon and Allie begin their careers in Charleston, but I was only comfortable indicating that was the most likely scenario.”
- The fans are not the only ones itching for the season to begin. Pirates catching prospect Tony Sanchez (TSanchez26) had this to say on Wednesday: “cannot wait to start mashing fastballs again.”
- MLB Network will be airing their ‘Top 10 second baseman right now’ Thursday at 8 PM/ET and Pirates fans should be looking for the Pittsburgh Kid. Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review said, “Neil Walker is youngest player voted onto MLB Network’s list of Top 10 second basemen.’
When I asked Biertempfel if he had any idea where in the list he would be ranked, he told me, “Neil Walker is ranked somewhere 6-10, along with Kinsler, Weeks, Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson.”
As I pointed out on Wednesday, ESPN’s Keith Law ranked the Pirates system No. 21 out of the 30 major league clubs.
On Thursday, Law delivered his Top 100 list, and two Buccos made the list.
Pitcher Jameson Taillon was named No. 30, and catcher Tony Sanchez was named No. 63.
Law mentions Taillon’s tendency to overthrow and the need for a changeup as the critiques in his write-up.
“[Sanchez has] above-average raw power and would have a chance to hit for average at the same time, making him a fringe All-Star at that position. He’s an extremely hard worker who ended up at Boston College without a scholarship but improved his body to the point where he not only made the team, but became its best player. I wouldn’t bet against him at this point.”-Keith Law on ESPN Insider Top 100 Prospects
Law’s Top 10 in the Pirates minor league system:
1) Jameson Taillon, RHP (30)
2) Tony Sanchez, C (63)
3) Luis Heredia, RHP
4) Stetson Allie, RHP
5) Rudy Owens, LHP
6) Jeff Locke, LHP
7) Justin Wilson, LHP
8) Bryan Morris, RHP
9) Starling Marte, OF
10) Zach Von Rosenberg, RHP
Law on the Pirates minor league system: “This system consists of a few high-end prospects, including three teenage power arms, followed by a dropoff. The big investment in prep arms in 2009 hasn’t yielded any major prospects yet, although it’s early.”
Law’s thoughts on Luis Heredia, who just missed the list: “will sit in the low 90s (mph) already with a good feel for the fastball. He’s very well-developed physically for a 16-year-old, with a big frame and the potential to get heavy, which is more of a long-term concern.”
- The Tampa Bay Rays have eight players in the top 100. The Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals each have six. The Houston Astros have only one player and The Milwaukee Brewers have zero, zilch (YIKES!). Every other team has at least two in the top 100.
Pirates beat reporter Jenifer Langosch answered questions in this weeks inbox where she discussed the search for lefty bullpen help, contract extension with Neil Walker and more (You can read the entire transcript here).
- When Hurdle took over as manager, he said he felt we needed a couple of left-handers in the bullpen. Do you see any left-handers on the horizon other than Scott Olsen?
Assuming that Olsen remains in a starting role, the Pirates do lack proven left-handed options in the bullpen. Lefties Justin Thomas and Brian Burres both signed Minor League deals with the club and could be possibilities for the bullpen. Internal options include Tony Watson and Daniel Moskos, though neither has any previous Major League experience.
The Pirates continue to scour the market to see if there are other left-handed options available, and don’t be surprised if some additions are made in the next few weeks. It would be a substantial risk to begin the season without a reliable left-handed option, even if management insists that it doesn’t see a strong benefit in having a lefty specialist.
- Is there any chance that both Ryan Doumit and Jason Jaramillo make the team out of Spring Training? The Pirates have already said that they are going to play Doumit more than just as a backup catcher, so could we carry three catchers into the season?
Yes, I believe there is a chance that the Pirates will carry a third catcher this season, though such a decision has not yet been made. As you mentioned, the Pirates’ plans for Doumit are not to plug him solely into a backup role. In order to have the flexibility to liberally insert Doumit in as an outfielder, first baseman or pinch-hitter, the Pirates would need to have a third catcher available in case of an emergency.
This decision is certainly one to keep an eye on as the makeup of the bench comes into better focus during Spring Training. It will also be intriguing to see how Doumit’s new role develops, and how he handles the decrease in playing time.
- With all the talk about the fifth spot in the rotation going to Olsen and Brad Lincoln, is there a chance that Rudy Owens could be rewarded with the job instead?
It’s unlikely that Owens will make the jump from Double-A to the Majors without first stopping in Triple-A to begin the 2011 season. This will be Owens’ first taste of big league camp, and he will technically be competing for a rotation spot with the Pirates as camp gets under way. However, I just don’t see the Pirates slotting Owens into the rotation on Opening Day no matter how well he pitches this spring.
I’d project that Owens will start the year in Indianapolis, and it is certainly possible that you could see him in Pittsburgh sometime midseason. That will depend on how the rotation is faring at the Major League level and how Owens continues to develop in the Minors. I will say that, from a selfish standpoint, I’m looking forward to getting my first look at Owens in person this spring. The numbers that he has put up over the last two seasons are sensational, and he is a left-hander to get excited about.
And as you mention possible fifth starter candidates, don’t forget about Charlie Morton. He, along with Olsen and Lincoln, seem the three likeliest options.
- Neil Walker was great last year and, in my opinion, was one of the bright spots for the Pirates last season. Do you see the Pirates signing him long-term?
While there is definitely reason to be excited about Walker’s potential, it is too early to begin talking about a long-term contract for the former first-round Draft pick. The reality is that Walker has had just four months of success at the Major League level. That’s not to say that his 2010 success was a fluke. It’s just to point out that Walker must consistently produce for another few seasons before the Pirates would feel comfortable offering multi-millions his way.
The Pirates signed catcher Wyatt Toregas to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training on Tuesday.
Toregas was drafted in the 24th round of the 2004 draft by the Cleveland Indians. He spent the 2010 season with three teams (A, AA, AAA) in the Indians minor league system. In 38 games combined he batted .227 with five home runs and 14 RBI. Toregas had four passed balls and a .991 fielding percentage.
In this weeks Pirates inbox, beat reporter Jenifer Langosch is asked about the future of catcher Tony Sanchez (You can read the entire chat transcript here).
Where do you think Tony Sanchez will start next year? Do you think he has a chance to begin in Indianapolis?
I’d anticipate Sanchez starting the year with Double-A Altoona. Had Sanchez not missed significant time with a jaw injury last year, he could have been in position to begin the year in Triple-A. But as it was, Sanchez never got to Altoona last year as anticipated.
Though Sanchez won’t begin the year in Indianapolis, don’t rule out the former first-round pick being promoted there midseason. The Pirates saw Sanchez as a candidate to move through the Minor League system fairly quickly, and that could still be the case.
That said, Sanchez has some areas needing improvement before we begin talking about him being close to Pittsburgh. He must continue to improve on his game calling, and he can get better with his catch-and-throw and receiving ability.
As Pirates’ beat reporter Jenifer Langosch points out in her latest article, A look at Pirates catchers, this is how Ryan Doumit will fit in with the Bucs during the 2011 season.
- $11 is due to catchers Chris Snyder and Ryan Doumit, but it doesn’t look as unbalanced as it seems (The estimated payroll for 2011 is in the low to mid $50 M range). $3 M was sent along with Chris Snyder in the trade with Arizona, so once subtracted, the Bucs will owe him a reasonable $2.75 M for this season. Doumit will make $5.1 million in 2011.
- Doumit, if not traded, will serve as a backup catcher. General Manager Neal Huntington has said that Chris Snyder will be the Bucs primary catcher even if Doumit out plays him in Spring Training. Snyder is a huge defensive upgrade over Doumit, allowing only nine passed balls in 2010. Snyder also lead all catchers with a .999 fielding percentage since 2007, at the time of the trade.
- Don’t expect to see Doumit only one day a week (what normal backup catchers play). The Pirates believe Doumit will not battle as many injuries with less time behind the plate. He will play some time in right field and is an option at first base –if he improves on his defense at that position. Doumit can be a threat off the bench. The switch hitter batted .251 with 13 homers and 45 RBIs in 124 games last season.
- It appears there are no serious suitors for Ryan Doumit, but if he doesn’t make it to opening day with the Pirates, Jason Jaramillo could serve as a backup catcher. There is a chance, if Manager Clint Hurdle wants to use Doumit primarily as a pinch-hitter, that the Bucs could have three catchers on the 25-man roster. If not, Jaramillo will be the everyday catcher at Triple-A Indy.
Despite the struggles during the Arizona Fall League, the Pirates are not concerned with the future of prospect Tony Sanchez.
After 18 games in the AFL, Sanchez batted just .206 with one double and four homers. He also struck out 21 times in 68-at bats.
The Pirates believe the low numbers were a result in a lengthy summer layoff.
Sanchez was batting .314 with 17 doubles, four homers, 35 RBIs in 59 games with High Class A Bradenton before he was hit in the face by a pitch. The result: a fractured jaw in two places and his jaw was wired shut for a month (He also lost 12 pounds). Sanchez was unable to get back behind the plate until the instructional league.
“I think part of it was just going out to the Fall League and trying to impress,” farm director Kyle Stark said. “Tony is a guy that cares a great deal and wants to impress. I think it was more those factors than anything else.”
“I think it was more he was just rusty getting back out there,” Stark said. “Actually, he stung some balls and didn’t have the results and tried to do a little bit more. We were pleased with how he went about things. The results just weren’t there.”
Picked fourth overall in the 2009 draft, Sanchez is expected to start the 2011 season in Double-A Altoona which could mean a major league debut as early as 2012.