2017 Eyewitness Evaluation: Sixto Sanchez

Sixto Sanchez

6’0″, 185 lb

Bats/Throws: R/R

Signed as an International Amateur free agent in 2014

Teams Played for: Lakewood (Low A/South Atlantic League)/Clearwater (High A/Florida State League)

Dates Seen: 4/13, 4/30, 7/12, 7/30

Eyewitness Stats: 4 G (all starts), 22 IP, 12 H, 2 R (2 ER), BB, 18 K (22.8%), HBP, 79 BF

What the Numbers Say

***Eyewitness collective data is based on 3 0f the 4 games (no extra data collected on 4/13)***

Lakewood (A-): 13 G (all starts), 67.1 IP, 5-3, 2.41 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, .191 opp AVG, 64 K, 9 BB, 46 H, 19 R, 18 ER, HR, 3 WP, 4 HBP, 256 BF, 25% K, 3.5% BB

Clearwater (A+): 5 G (all starts), 27.2 IP, 0-4, 4.55 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, .252 opp AVG, 20 K, 9 BB, 27 H, 16 R, 14 ER, HR, WP, HBP, 119 BF, 16.8% K, 7.6% BB

Sixto ended up throwing five innings while allowing two runs or less in 12 of his 18 starts; in seven of those start he didn’t allow a walk. He would have four shutout appearances. He would only allow four runs or more in just three of his starts. His most dominate run came during his final eight starts in Lakewood (6/11-7/30) where he went 4-1 with a 1.67 ERA, .179 opp AVG, 0.77 WHIP and 36/6 K/BB in 43 innings.

Sixto showed sheer dominance vs right-handed hitters (.201/.263/.241, 40/11 K/BB in 191 PA) but was just as equally impressive vs left-handers (.218/.246/.287, 44/7 K/BB in 184 PA).

Sixto’s was a heavy groundball pitcher last year generating grounders at a 58% clip in the GCL. Facing much more experienced hitters compared to him, that dropped to 45.4% and the line drives increased to from 13.8% to 21% line drive. His fly ball percentage also increased by nearly five percent to 33.6%.

He did not allow a home run in his career in his first 119.1 innings over parts of three seasons before allowing the first of the only two he’d allow in 2017 on June 23 vs Delmarva’s Cole Billingsley

In recorded eyewitness games, he threw 64% fastballs (130), 22.2% change-ups (45) and 13.8% curveballs (28). Opponents were 5/38 (.132) with four K off of his fastball; 2/16 (one extra base hit) with six K off his change-up; 1/5 with two K off his curve. Sixto ended up getting his opponents swinging at 11.3% of pitches with his change-up being the toughest to hit getting 13 swings and misses; he got eight whiffs off his fastball and six from his curve.

Sixto generated a lot of quick at-bats averaging 3.18 pitches per batter faced. He threw two pitches or less in an at-bat 28 times which resulted in opponents hitting just .111 (3/27, HBP); 12 times the at-bats would go more than five pitches and he only allowed two singles and struck out six.

Sixto tries to establish himself early and does it fairly well, throwing 48/61 first pitch strikes (78.7%). When the ball was put in play on the first pitch opponents were 2/12; when he got ahead 0-1, opponents hit 3/36 (.083) with nine strikeouts. During the first time through the order opponents were just 3/25 (.120) with a walk, hit batsmen, and five strikeouts; he threw his fastball 77.8% of the time through first time through the lineup. The second time through, opponents were just 2/27 (.074) with seven strikeouts throwing 59.5% fastballs. The third time through, opponents were 3/7 throwing his fastball 52% of the time.

Tale of the Tape

Sixto maybe a bit diminutive in size, but he’s got a very overpowering three-pitch mix. His fastball ranged from 95-99 mph, and he hit triple digits a number of times, topping at 101 mph. It showed strong arm-side movement and it generated a lot of weak contact.  His change-up has a lot of movement as well. He throws it hard at 87-89 mph, at times touching 91 and with it’s late fade and tumbling action, it’s tough to decide if he’s throwing a fastball or not, thus a lot of the swings and misses he gets from it. There are times where he loses control of it, but it is an above average pitch. His curveball might be his worst pitch and it’s probably average at this point. The feel he has for his curve isn’t to the level of his change-up and fastball, as it gets slurvy and wild at times, but it’s a solid 11-5 power curve with plenty of tilt and sharp late break at 81-85 mph.

Sixto pounds the strike zone excessively (70% strikes on the season), showing above-average control of his three pitch arsenal. There were never a ton of pitches that seriously got away from him. That being said, Sixto does have an issue with command and pitch sequencing. While batters weren’t generating great contact in Lakewood, they essentially were just sitting on his fastball and it resulted in a lot of quick at-bats. More experienced hitters who can handle a high octane fastball will tee off if he’s not using his secondary pitches or moving his fastball around the zone a bit more.

Sixto shows good mechanics, working very quickly and repeating them fairly well. His delivery is compact, keeping his front side closed and driving off his lower half to generate that extra velocity. He’s got a slight back tilt and a bit of a whippy arm with some effort which might have to do with some of his command issues, but he continues to hit the strike zone consistently, so it hasn’t bothered him yet.

 

What Lies Ahead

Sixto Sanchez’s rise has been so astronomical, it’s hard to believe that he’ll be entering 2018 at 19 years old in high A ball. When the Phillies signed him in 2014 for $35,000, he was a shortstop. They immediately transitioned him to being a pitcher and now he is one of baseball’s best pitching prospects. The fact that he’s got good control of his overpowering arsenal is a good sign already at his age, leading me to believe he will be major league starter in some capacity. How good he’ll be will be dependent on a few things. Stamina will be an obvious one considering his size and slight effort in his throwing motion. He’s going to need to learn how to stay out of the middle of the plate as often as he does as MLB hitters will crush him. He already has two above average pitches with the chance to make his curveball reach that level too. And the more he learns how to pitch instead of just being a thrower, Sixto will reach the status of being a frontline starter. That’s the type of pitching prospect the Phillies haven’t had since Cole Hamels. And if this progression keeps up, Phillies fans might see him at some point during the 2019 season.

Author: Jeff Israel

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