Photo Credit: Brooklyn Cyclones Ali Sanchez (4) catches a bullpen during a workout at MCU Park in New York, Wednesday, June 15, 2016. (Gordon Donovan/Brooklyn Cyclones)
The Brooklyn Cyclones season is here and perhaps their best player coming into the 2016 season is catcher, Ali Sanchez. Sanchez is a nineteen year-old from Venezuela. The Mets signed him back in 2013 when he was ranked the 25th international prospect in that class. MLB.com ranked him as the 15th best prospect in the Mets organization heading into 2016.
Sanchez spent most of the 2015 season in rookie ball with the GCL Mets. He appeared in forty-six games in the Gulf Cost League where he posted a .278/.339/.315 slash-line. He went on to play three games with the Kingsport Mets after his time with the GCL Mets. He played all of last season at the age of eighteen, so the lack of power should not come as too much of a concern at this point. He managed only six XBH (all doubles) in forty-nine total games last season. He stands at 6’0” 175 pounds, and, should continue to physically develop as he is only nineteen. What’s more, he has a 59:44 career K/BB ratio in ninety-nine career minor league games. That is a very respectable ratio and shows that he has advanced plate discipline for a player his age.
When I spoke to Brooklyn Cyclones manager, Tom Gamboa, yesterday he said that “Ali Sanchez will serve as the teams primary catcher.” Well he still needs to develop as a hitter, Sanchez has already shown that he can be an elite defensive catcher at the professional level. He posted a .993 fielding percentage in 2015, committing only two errors in 621.1 innings behind the plate. He also caught twenty-six of the potential fifty-six base stealers last season. That is good for a phenomenal 46.4% caught-stealing percentage in 2015.
Sanchez has a lot of promise and the Mets hope that he will continue to develop while playing in Brooklyn this summer. If he can show that he can handle his own with the Cyclones, Sanchez could find himself moving up in the Mets organization sooner rather than later. His bat will need to catch up with his defense for him to become a more complete player, but with his advanced skills behind the plate, he has the promise to make an impact within the Mets organization for years to come.