Sixto Sanchez -SP Marlins
It is time for the Marlins to see what they got in return for J.T. Realmuto. Sixto Sanchez was the keynote prospect that came from the Phillies in that trade and he had an outstanding debut in AA with the Marlins last year (2.53/1.03 in 103 IP). But before we get to that, I wrote about Sixto last year in my scouting scores series, due to the FV score on his FB and his velo, so let's revisit that before we look forward...
Sixto only sports a 65 FV scouting grade on his FB, with 28 pitchers ahead of him that boast a 70 or better, but he makes today's theme piece because he tops out at 101 mph, putting him in company that's a little more select. More importantly, scouts give him a 60 overall FV score which puts him on the top shelf among ML pitchers along with Brendan McKay and Forest Whitely. This is because Sixto has an arsenal. Both his CB and Change have a 60 FV. His Slider scores at 50 and his Command sits at 55, but in both, his present value scouting score sits at 45, and those are the jobs ahead of the 20-year-old, right-hander, polishing his secondary stuff and dialing in his command potential.
Sixto is 6-0/185, and he's muscular in the lower half. I like his delivery, it's simple and clean, but sometimes he falls to the glove side instead of driving towards home (a mechanical pet peeve of mine). But I doubt that has led to the string of injuries that included his elbow and left collarbone which has cost him much of the last two seasons. Still, those injuries have taken development time from him ...
The takeaway here is that Sixto is a high-reward prospect. Even at a flat 6-0, he potentially has the skill set to top a rotation. His injury history is a concern, and it's why the Phillies put him in the Realmuto package. Sixto also needs some development time, and hopefully, he'll stay healthy and get some innings in AA this summer. The wows we are hearing so far, however, mean that there may not be a better time to speculate on Sixto. His price (until his next injury or perhaps even TJS) will only go up from here. There is a lot of risk here, but Sixto has an elite ceiling. This is the type of prospect you take a chance on if you can wait at least into 2020 for a return. And if he's available, you should grab him now. I am going to be optimistic here and I am thinking prices will never be lower."
As I said, Sixto did go on to collect a little over 100 IP at AA last year and he did well with it. His K rate grew in his first taste of the high minors, he shaved his walk rate and he kept the ball in the ballpark. Sixto also showed his ability to induce groundballs in the higher levels as well. I look at his K rate and it's good, it's just not great. That nags at me a little especially because he's just 6-0 (if that). And let's not forget he's just 185 with an injury history ... I know, I know, let's not threat generate, here. His velo (high-90s with triple digits from time to time) is not max-effort and his mechanics seem sound. He also strung together 100+ healthy (and effective) IP last year and his load will be light this year.
Let's also remember that he just turned 22 at the end of July, His physically hasn't settled yet, he has lost some developmental time to both injuries and this COVID mess in 2020, and he's not going to be a finished product until he can collect some innings, develop some mechanical consistency, repeatability, and command, and polish his stuff.
I love his stuff. I worry about his health and his size and I can't wait to see him 200 IP from now, but he's hit the big leagues and we have to make a value decision now. He strikes out guys, and I can see that rate rising. He throws groundballs, keeps the ball in the ballpark, and he is stingy with walks. He has a #1 ceiling when his command matures and he maximizes his considerable stuff. Add some seasons of 170+ IP and he comfortably projects as at least a #2. If you have to accept the injury risk to buy a piece of that, I think that's what you do. With prospects, I like high reward prospects. Go big or go home. I'll spend for this one.
Long-Term Fantasy Grade - A
Joey Bart - C, Giants
One of the significant opt outs prior to baseball's return was Buster Posey and with that decision, people started buzzing about Joey Bart and what that means for his 2020 season. On the Insider Baseball Show on SiriusXM Fantasy Sport Radio this preseason I had mixed thoughts about the repercussions. Arriving in the majors at the catching position is about more than a player's hitting skills, but on the other hand, the universal DH and early expanded rosters could possibly provide some opportunities for Bart to acclimate and take in some big-league pitcher meetings while he gets a taste of the majors. The Giants instead opted to use the time at their alternative training site (ATS) to get him ready to catch in the big leagues. He was recalled on Thursday.
The reason the Giants took this path was likely because Bart is not just a catching prospect who can hit. He's a defensive stud-to-be as well. They wanted to invest in his skill set behind the plate. But he's a plus offensive prospect as well, and in recognition of that, the Giants gave him some time at 1B at the ATS because with catching prospects who are also good offensive players, eventually, you have to decide if it's worth it to wear him down and lose days in the lineup to keep him behind the plate. From a fantasy standpoint, this decision is relevant in terms of position qualification and playing time, as well as consistency and projectability. Catchers are the least projectable hitters from year to year and even week to week because they are susceptible to injury of course, and they are often playing beat up to some degree by heat, foul balls, and all the things catchers have to deal with. As a catcher, a hitter's ABs are going to be limited at best. The universal DH and any ability he develops to play 1B will give him some additional ABs but he'll still likely see less playing time than your average position player. All of this having been said, that doesn't diminishing his value in my eyes, as long as I can play him at catcher. But I digress...
That position qualification is important because Bart is a high-level fantasy prospect as a catcher, but at almost any other position his offensive chops project as "OK" to "good' and at first base, he may be limited to "OK". Joey was picked 2nd overall by the Giants in 2018. Last year he missed about a month and a half with a fractured left hand and missed some time in the AFL with a fractured right thumb (suffered in a pair of HBP, not in his work behind the plate). So you look at his work in the California League and given just 234 ABs, his hand injury, and his playing in a relatively neutral park for that league, Joey fared pretty well, all things considered. His power is legit and he has already added some lift although he's still hitting a lot of GBs. In his first taste of the high minors last year, he hit .316 in 79 ABs, fueled by a .382 BABIP which means things were going his way. Bart's contact rate slipped but at this point, I am probably making too much of 79 ABs because frankly, that's all we have to work on.
What Joey looks like right now is a good power prospect, who's eventual production will stand out at the position. I'm less sure about his plate approach but as we are scoring on a catching curve, so I think he'll be fine. What we are looking at is a top-tier fantasy catcher, perhaps an all-star fantasy catcher, perhaps right now. The Giants shipped out Tyler Heineman to Sacramento to make room for Joey. He was a switch hitter and the Giants kept RHH Chadwick Tromp which would seem to indicate the Giants aren't thinking about platooning Joey. Tromp has become Johnny Cueto's personal catcher (both speak Spanish) and he's earned some respect among the staff with his framing ability and leadership. Tromp is Joey Bart's mentor for what appears to be Bart's ascension to the catching job by the Bay.
There's no reason to hesitate here if Joey is newly available in your league. The Giants seem poised to hand him the job and let him ride or die with it. His hit tool and his defensive acclamation may produce some learning curve days. But Joey could be an impact player in your catching slot and I'm willing to bet even his floor is a solid improvement for one of your catching slots. Feel free to bid big.
Long-Term Fantasy Grade - A
Registered members can click on the following link to see the complete Prospect Central article for this week, which includes other prospects: http://www.fantistics.com/