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Humberto Sanchez thread

Postby Dannomyte » Mon May 01, 2006 9:32 am

A trip to the Arizona Fall League may have been just what the doctor ordered for Detroit Tigers pitching prospect Humberto Sanchez.

The 22-year-old right-hander has been highly regarded since signing for a million-dollar bonus as a draft-and-follow in 2002, one day before his 19th birthday.

Armed with a sinking fastball in the low 90s as his out pitch, a 12-6 curveball with good potential, and a change-up that has been a work in progress, Sanchez's climb through the Detroit system had been slowed by a series of injuries.

"His main weakness has been not being able to stay healthy," said Erie SeaWolves pitching coach Mike Caldwell, who has worked with Sanchez this season and last, as well as during the 2005 Arizona Fall League with the Mesa Solar Sox. "It's never been anything serious, a sore this, a sore that, but he needs to stay healthy all year."

The maladies have included a knee injury suffered down the stretch in 2004 that required postseason surgery, as well as a strained oblique muscle followed by a groin strain that sidelined him for much of 2005. He did manage to work 64 2/3 innings in 15 games with Erie that year, allowing 72 hits and posting a 5.57 ERA.

At 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds, there was some concern about his conditioning contributing to the problem. But Sanchez opened a lot of eyes with his dominant performance in Arizona, as well as the hot start he's had this year in his second go-round at Erie.

In the six-team AFL, where the combined ERA was above 5.00, and on a team with a composite 5.32 mark, Sanchez finished third in the league with a 2.15 ERA in six starts, striking out 29 batters in as many innings. He was tied for fifth in strikeouts and innings pitched.

"Knowing I was healthy helped a lot, but going out there with some of the best Minor League guys from every system and knowing I belonged there helped me a lot confidence-wise," Sanchez said. "If you put in the work, the results usually come, and it all seems to be falling into place right now."

Caldwell was also pleased with his charge's showing in the league, not just with the statistical results but with his ability to maintain low pitch counts and throw several of his pitches for strikes. "What he put together was something special," he said. "And it looks like he went home and made an extra effort to work harder to stay in shape."

Indeed, Sanchez looks significantly lighter than his official weight of 230, thanks in part to working out regularly at Detroit's Lakeland facility, half an hour from his offseason home outside of Orlando.

And that conditioning and fall-ball momentum has snowballed into early success in the Eastern League, where he had a 1.96 ERA through his first four starts. In 23 innings, he'd allowed 19 hits and struck out 28. More notably, his command has been sharper, as evidenced by just seven walks, and league batters were hitting only .229 against him.

In those four starts, Sanchez had yet to walk more than two in a game, and had allowed just four hits in three of his outings. "I haven't seen him throw a game yet where he's gotten into trouble with his pitch count," Caldwell said. "I'm happy he's progressing and getting late into the ballgames for us."

Sanchez is happy too; happy to be feeling 100 percent for a change.

"Last year was just a struggle to stay on the field," he said. "I overtrained to get better (from the oblique strain suffered at the end of Spring Training) and hurt my groin, so it was one thing to another."

Born in the Dominican Republic, Sanchez moved to New York City when he was 10. "My mom moved here like every other immigrant looking for the American dream," said Sanchez, whose entire family eventually came to America from Santo Domingo.

He had played ball since he was 5, following in the footsteps of his dad who played amateur and semipro ball as a catcher. Sanchez caught, as well, until he came to New York and joined a Little League team coached by a local police officer in the 34th precinct. "We were just playing around and I got on the mound and I've been a pitcher ever since," he said.

Sanchez played high school ball at South Bronx High School and was drafted as a senior, but opted instead to head to Rockland Community College in the northern suburbs. An elbow injury cut short that season after just one inning, but the Tigers still took a chance on him in the 31st round of 2001.

Sanchez transferred to Connors State Junior College in Oklahoma for his sophomore year and was being mentioned as a potential first-round pick, so the Tigers knew they would have to pay big bucks to keep him from entering the draft for a third time.

Once signed, he moved up slowly but steadily through the system, doing the requisite progression through Class A Short-Season Oneonta, Class A West Michigan and Class A Advanced Lakeland, before hitting a roadblock at Erie in 2005.

His teammate and close friend for most, if not all, of those last three years was fellow pitcher Joel Zumaya, who is currently helping anchor the Detroit bullpen. The two speak several times a week by phone.

Unlike most best-friends, though, they didn't always room together on the road. Instead, Sanchez often roomed with teammates from the Dominican Republic who did not speak English (Zumaya is from California) and needed help from an interpreter.

"Even though I was young when I came to New York, I still remember what it was like to come here and not understand the language, to have to shake your head because you didn't understand what people were saying to you," he said. "This gave me an opportunity to help them get better at something they needed to know, and I took pride in that."

Now, Sanchez keeps an eye on Zumaya's outings in the big leagues, as well as those of fellow 2005 Erie teammate Justin Verlander and rookie Jordan Tata, and it gives him added hope for his own arrival there in the not too distant future.

Caldwell thinks that is a realistic hope.

"If the Tigers are going to trust guys up there like Tata and Verlander and Zumaya, then why wouldn't they bring up Sanchez?" he mused. "They're getting ready to turn the corner and go to some of the good strong arms in their system, and there is no reason that Humberto Sanchez can't be a part of that."

Image

http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/app/ ... &fext=.jsp

Here is a link to Humberto's stats so far this season.

http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/app/ ... pid=458008
Last edited by Dannomyte on Tue Jun 20, 2006 9:08 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby mcqfesijiba » Wed May 03, 2006 8:20 am

I mentioned him somewhere on this forum about a week and a half ago as a breakout prospect and since then he had that amazing game to outduel a top pitching prospect in Mike Pelfrey. Good to see Humberto's performance catch up to this talent I've been hearing he had for the past 2 years or so.
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Postby mcqfesijiba » Tue Jun 06, 2006 8:11 pm

I don't have a source to link to, but I've heard Humberto Sanchez will be promoted to Toledo and make his next start for the Mud Hens.
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Postby moochman » Wed Jun 07, 2006 2:44 am

mcqfesijiba wrote:I don't have a source to link to, but I've heard Humberto Sanchez will be promoted to Toledo and make his next start for the Mud Hens.


Starting in Detroit by July?
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Postby Dannomyte » Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:30 pm

Humberto Sanchez wins AAA debut

Humberto Sanchez allowed one run over 5 2/3 innings in his Triple-A debut as visiting Toledo edged Buffalo, 2-1, Thursday afternoon.
Sanchez (1-0) scattered six hits and two walks while striking out five. The right-hander hurled five shutout innings before yielding Jason Dubois' RBI ground-rule double in the sixth.

Sanchez went 5-3 with a 1.76 ERA for the Double-A Erie SeaWolves prior to being called up to the Mud Hens. The 23-year-old Dominican has 91 strikeouts on the season, second only to Reading's Scott Mathieson for the most in all of Minor League Baseball. Hector Mercado and Chris Spurling combined on 2 1/3 innings of shutout relief, while Lee Gardner pitched a hitless ninth inning to nab his 12th save.

Toledo (28-31) didn't waste any time in getting on the scoreboard. Nook Logan doubled to lead off the game and scored on Tike Redman's double to right field. Ryan Ludwick went yard in the fourth inning to provide what turned out to be the game's winning run.

The Bisons (31-31) wasted several scoring opportunities. Ben Francisco doubled with one out in the second inning and tripled to lead off the fifth but was stranded both times.

Rob Bell took the tough-luck loss. The 29-year-old righty allowed two runs on six hits over seven innings and did not walk a batter. Edward Mujica tossed two shutout innings in relief. The right-hander has not allowed an earned run over 34 1/3 innings pitched this season. --Benjamin Hill/MLB.com

http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/app/ ... &fext=.jsp
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Postby mcqfesijiba » Fri Jun 09, 2006 1:56 pm

If he keeps it up, he may indeed find his way to Detroit in the not-so-distant future.
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Postby Dannomyte » Fri Jun 09, 2006 5:24 pm

mcqfesijiba wrote:If he keeps it up, he may indeed find his way to Detroit in the not-so-distant future.


Agreed. If he keeps it up and Minor doesn't work out in the rotation we may see he a lot sooner than expected. Although I'm sure Ledezma and Tata would get a crack at Maroths spot before Sanchez but you never know
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Postby mcqfesijiba » Sat Jun 10, 2006 11:37 am

Dannomyte wrote:
mcqfesijiba wrote:If he keeps it up, he may indeed find his way to Detroit in the not-so-distant future.


Agreed. If he keeps it up and Minor doesn't work out in the rotation we may see he a lot sooner than expected. Although I'm sure Ledezma and Tata would get a crack at Maroths spot before Sanchez but you never know
I'm starting to wonder what the organization thinks of Ledezma. He has actually been better than Miner, but Miner got the call first. Add to that the fact that Ledezma has trouble staying healthy, I'm wondering where he fits in their plans right now. Either as another starting candidate or just trade bait? I personally don't think he was ever fully healthy last year when he failed miserably last year as the #5 starter.

Tata hasn't been very consistent in Toledo yet, but since he's been up once already, I could see him being next in line. He's probably just still getting comfortable as a starter again after spending much of the season in the Tigers' bullpen.
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Postby mcqfesijiba » Mon Jun 12, 2006 12:39 pm

What's that? 7 more shutout innings for Wil Ledezma last night? He now has a 2.52 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and 66 K's in 71 1/3 IP. Zach Miner is going to need to stay sharp with so many guys capable of taking his spot away.
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Postby Dannomyte » Mon Jun 12, 2006 1:40 pm

Humberto Sanchez back to Erie???

Humberto Sanchez' stay in Triple-A Toledo promised to be a short one. However, after Thursday, the big righthander might want to make plans for a return visit.

With the Mud Hens rotation a man short, the Tigers chose to challenge Sanchez, sending him to Triple-A for one start. He had certainly earned the promotion, allowing just two earned runs in his previous four Double-A starts, while striking out 32.

Sanchez' success continued on Thursday, as the righthander allowed just one run over 5 2/3 innings. His five strikeouts brought his season total to 91, just one behind Double-A Reading righthander Scott Mathieson for the minor league lead. Still, Sanchez insists he was far from perfect.

"I didn't have my fastball located," Sanchez told the Toledo Blade, "but the other three were working pretty well."

Following in the footsteps of Justin Verlander and Joel Zumaya, Sanchez is thriving on a power arsenal in the Tigers upper levels. Sanchez throws his fastball in the mid 90s with a lot of life, leading to eight groundouts (against three flyouts) on Thursday. However, Sanchez's breakout in 2006 could be attributed to improved breaking stuff. "I've developed a slider now, which has helped me," Sanchez told the paper.

While Sanchez is still likely to return to Double-A Erie for his next start, it won't be without leaving an impression. "He pounded the zone with four-seamers and two-seamers," Mud Hens catcher Brian Peterson told the newspaper. "He threw his offspeed pitches down when he needed to. He pitched unbelievable."
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