Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 5/11/13
Pirates catching prospect Tony Sanchez is in New York to potentially join the team if Russell Martin has to hit the DL with neck soreness. The Pirates will need to decide by 10 AM tomorrow if he will be joining the roster or not. Martin was emphatic in saying he would not be going on the DL this morning, so we’ll see. Sanchez, of course, was the Bucs’ first-round pick in the 2009 draft – the draft that is currently looking like an enormous bust. Sanchez was the #2 overall pick, and while he’s ascended through the minors steadily over the last few years, he’s essentially fallen off the prospect map. He could certainly be a useful big leaguer, but doesn’t project to meet anything close to the expectations of a #2 draft pick. Last year Tony hit a mediocre .251/.338/.401 with 8 homers between Altoona and Indy, and so far this year in Indy he’s bumped that up to .269/.380/.449 with 2 homers. He’s known as a very good defender and his career minor league CS rate is 24%. If he is needed, I’d assume Sanchez will split time with Michael McKenry until Martin returns, with McKenry probably getting more of the playing time. I’ll be very interested to see what Sanchez can do – although hopefully it’s a very limited sample and Martin will be back soon. It’s very possible that Tony could make McKenry expendable…his defense is better and his offense will probably end up being somewhat similar. As much as everyone loves The Fort, that’s actually the plan I would hope the Bucs have in mind…sliding Sanchez in to the backup role for Martin eventually and then having him take over after next season. This will represent Sanchez’s first real shot to make that happen in the near future. Obviously, though, this could be very bad news for the Bucs in the short term. Martin has been extremely valuable to them on both offense and defense, and losing him will hurt quite a bit. We don’t know much about his injury but it’s certainly worrisome to be talking about the neck area. Hopefully he is back very soon, because he gives the Bucs a very solid presence both behind the plate and at the plate. McKenry can’t provide both and it’s unlike Sanchez will do so–at least right away. Sanchez is the only other catcher on the 40-man roster, so no other roster move would be necessary if he joins the club.
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