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By the Numbers: Scouting Freddy Sanchez

August 2, 2009

Name: Freddy SanchezPittsburgh Pirates
Position: 2B/3B
DOB: 12/21/1977 (Age 32 in 2010)
Ht/Wt: 5’10”, 188 pounds
Service Time: 5 years
Salary Status: $6.1 MM 2009, $8 MM in 2010

Contact Rate: Sanchez is known for his ability to hit for a high average, and that’s completely true. He’s very adept at putting the ball in play. Sanchez is a true-talent 87.3% contact hitter, which is phenomenal—it’s roughly 6% higher than league average. He’s got outstanding plate coverage and can hit practically anything around the strike zone. Grade: 70

On Base Rate/Plate Discipline: While Freddy is a plus-plus contact hitter, his offensive ability lies in his contact rates. He’s a free-swinger, attacking pitches at a 5% rate higher than the average Major Leaguer, including pitches out of the strike zone—he chases around 5% more pitches out of the zone than average (but makes ~10% more contact on those pitches than average). He doesn’t work the count much, either, with around 3.48 pitches per plate appearance. This would explain his atrocious walk rate, which sits around 4.3%, which is about 4.5% less than the average Major Leaguer. This indicates that Fred’s ability to get on base lies solely in his ability to make contact. Grade: 40

Courtesy of Fangraphs

Courtesy of Fangraphs

Power: Freddy’s power is gap-to-gap—he’s a doubles hitter, which should play well in AT&T Park. He hits 0.88% more doubles than Major League average, but he has very little home run power and his Isolated Power rate is well below average. Grade: 40

Courtesy of Fangraphs

Courtesy of Fangraphs

Situational: Sanchez is a strong situational hitter, producing roughly 10 more runs in higher leverage situations than he does in regular situations. Grade: 60

Baserunning: While Sanchez might have good speed, that doesn’t necessarily mean it translates into good baserunning ability. That being said, Dan Fox’s Equivalent Baserunning Runs (EqBRR) has Sanchez as exactly “average” over the past three years. Grade: 50

Defense: Freddy’s range is around league average to slightly above average, and his ability to turn the double play is about the same. What sets him apart from other defenders are his “sure hands”—he’s not nearly as error prone as other second basemen, and he makes the play on every ball he can reach. Altogether, you’re looking at a plus defensive second baseman. He’s good, but not spectacular. Grade: 60

All in all, we’re looking at a sure-handed second baseman whose offensive value lies in his ability to make contact, particularly in high leverage situations. Sanchez doesn’t have blinding speed, nor is he a great base runner—he’s merely average. Like most Giants hitters, Sanchez has a tendency to swing at pitches outside of the strike zone and isn’t very strong at working the count. So what’s the difference between Freddy and the other Giants hitters? Well, he just happens to make more contact. That’s all. He’s a good second baseman, but he’s not a game-changer. He makes for a great complementary piece to any organization.

Overall Grade: 55

“First-division starter.”

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