To continue our look at some of the Braves' prospects in the minors, new Talking Chop contributor Garrett Spain (you may know him better as Braves Farm Updates @BravesMiLB on Twitter) shares more intel and video that he gathered on young LHP Ricardo Sanchez during his start on June 27th. Ricardo just turned 18 years old and was acquired from the Angels in the trade that sent Kyle Kubitza to the Angels. Ricardo has since been considered a top 20 prospect in the Braves system (if you want to find out where Talking Chop has him on our list, you may want to keep an eye on the page Wednesday and Thursday...) despite his limited experience and scouts are clamoring to get a better understanding of him. His final line in the game was 3.1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 3 K and if you want to see the box score from the game, you can just click right here. With that out of the way, lets take a look at Ricardo Sanchez.
Ricardo Sanchez Scouting Interview
Thanks for your time again, Garrett. I believe I speak for all of us when I say we are excited to get some really in-depth looks at some of these young guys. First, give us your first impressions of Ricardo. How did he look on the mound to you?
Thanks, I'm glad to help spread some word on the minor league system and I hope I can get some good information out there. Ricardo had a rough outing Saturday night. From the outset, it was obvious that he didn't have his command and the rain delay only furthered his issues with his control. One positive take on the outing was the velocity on his fastball. There was concern with he had lost some zip on his fastball due to a calf injury earlier this year. It is nice to see it up to his pre-injury levels
What can you tell us about his fastball? Existing reports say that it usually sat at between 90-95 with some projectability....is that in line with what you saw?
It definitely looked good. He struggled with command as the game went on, but showed no fear to go inside or up with the pitch. There's some development that needs to happen but I'm excited about his future. A problem I have noticed is that when he tries to go up with his fastball he tends to not get it there and it gets left in the batter's wheelhouse. The command is a major issue he needs to work on, but it's really quite advanced for his age. He likely will not even face a batter younger than him this year as he is the youngest player at the level. He has that clean, athletic delivery that should become repeatable so the early lack of command is not a major problem, especially when you consider the improvements he has already made (25% fewer walks this year). As for projectability, one would think that due to his size he may have topped out. However, given his age he could add a tick or two on the top end especially if he can add some muscle to his frame. At this point, the only thing that could help his velocity would be a random growth spurt, which isn't necessarily out of the question given his age
As a young pitcher, one always has to wonder about whether their delivery is repeatable to deliver consistent results and how much effort is in the delivery to try to mitigate the risk of injury down the road. What can you tell us about how he looked in the game in terms of his throwing motion?
He has very clean mechanics from what I can tell. It's a repeatable delivery that should play well in the future. Because of this, his size really is not a concern for me. Unfortunately as the game progressed, his mechanics and command seemed to deteriorate as he got more and more frustrated. I'm not sure whether he was upset over his own lack of consistency or whether he had an issue with the strike zone, but it will be important to keep an eye on his composure going forward
How did the curveball look today? How were batters typically reacting to it?
His curveball looked sharp to me, but he did leave it up on a few occasions. There was a good 1 to 7 break on the pitch and he got some swings and misses. However, for a large part of the game it was an ineffective pitch. His lack of command over the pitch allowed hitters to sit on his fastball for a much of the day which, in turn, led to it being less effective as well. Many of those balls were hit hard and the other team seemed to see the ball very well out of his hand.
We've known about the existence of his changeup as a work in progress, so one would assume that that is something he is working on in Rome. Did he throw the pitch often and when he did throw it, was it effective?
He showed some positives with the changeup today, though he wasn't using it a lot. He got a few swings and misses (and on at least one occasion a strikeout) but he also had some issues with leaving it up or in. When he did make mistakes with the pitch, it got hit hard. He definitely shows some promise with the change as it is deceptive pitch due to his delivery, but he'll need to work on the pitch to bring it up to par with his fastball and curveball
How well was he locating his pitches in the game? Did he seem to have more trouble with one pitch than others?
As I've been saying he was having pretty bad control issues, and that really affected his off speed stuff more than anything. His pitches weren't very effective at all, and none more so than the others. He was missing towards the right hand side of the plate, and with the right hand heavy Augusta lineup some of those pitches were pulled hard. His pitches had enough life on them to get outs, but for the most part he struggled the entire day
How did he change over the course of the game? Did he appear to be gassing at any point? Any notable changes in velocity? I know that the rain delay in the game sort of messed things up a bit, but did you see any changes?
He just seemed off from the get go, as even a couple of his warm up pitches skittered past Tanner Murphy and to the backstop. He actually had seemed to be settling in to the flow of the game, but right around that time the nearly 50 minute rain effectively ended his chances of settling in. After the delay, he seemed very uncomfortable with his landing spot, and on occasion had to take a walk around the mound to settle himself. He showed a lot of grit (even though I hate that term) battling through his issues and the weather, but all in all it just was not his game throughout. As the game wore on, he seemed to lose his focus a bit and after a couple of walks in the 4th he was pulled for the night.
Anything else you want folks to know about Ricardo Sanchez and what you saw in the game?
Despite his command issues I was fairly impressed by his play. His pitches have a lot of movement, and I really like the fearlessness he shows. He wasn't afraid to go after hitters up or in even when he didn't have his best stuff. He's clearly got work to do and may need to work to keep his frustration at bay but he went out there and battled. It was a rough outing and I hope to see him on a good day next time I see him pitch
That is all we have for now. Please check back at Talking Chop over the next couple of days as we reveal our Top 25 Braves Prospects for the midpoint of the season and enjoy the All-Star break with lots of talk about prospects, call-ups, and the like. Garrett and I have also reached the end of the "planned" scouting reports, but Garrett still has a bunch of video and we will be getting more scouting done in the coming weeks or so. With that in mind, who would you like to see a scouting report on? Answer the poll question below and/or tweet at myself (@leprekhan) or Garrett (@BravesMiLB) to let us know who you want to see a scouting report written about and why.