Sanchez has good command of his very lively 93-101 mph FASTBALL, generating weak contact for a 70 grade on the 20-80 scouting scale. He also has a 55 grade 88-90 mph power SLIDER with two-plane tilt that misses both left- and righthanded bats and is a 55 grade. He also has a 50 grade 93-98 mph 2-seams SINKER with deep drop. And his CHANGEUP runs away from lefty hitters, sinking beneath their bats with impressive downer drop, flashing 70, on the 20-80 scale. He sells that change with the same arm speed as his heater.
Sixto is an advanced strike-thrower with a smooth, clean delivery who pitches with a quick yet composed pace. Injury concerns about his elbow have quieted, and he exhibited some of the same plus or better control he did in the minors during his first major league season.
Consistency will be key for Sanchez, who struck out 8.2 and walked 1.4 per nine innings during his first five starts and a 3-to-1 strikeout-towalk ratio overall. Those numbers somewhat masked a tough finish to the 2020 season during which he allowed nine earned runs in seven innings, with six walks and four strikeouts.
Sanchez's combination of stuff and command belongs in the discussion of the best among pitching prospects. His fastballs feature a two-seamer that produces power sink and a four-seamer that climbs into triple digits. His best secondary offering is a changeup that dives at the plate, and he also has good feel for manipulating a hard slider that can be a plus pitch at times. (Andre Fernandez - Baseball America Prospect Handbook - Spring, 2021)
Sanchez has pounded the strike zone ever since he entered pro ball, displaying an easy, repeatable delivery that helps diminish concerns about durability despite his smaller frame. While he hasn't missed as many bats as his stuff suggests he should, he posted a 4.6 K/BB ratio and a 1.4 groundout/airout ratio in his first five Minor League seasons. As long as he stays healthy, he has the ingredients to become Miami's best starter since the late Jose Fernandez. (Spring 2020)
Some scouts worry about Sanchez’s stuff holding up as a starter because of his size; other scouts don’t because of his athleticism. He has 60 grade control.
Sixto has a relatively clean, smooth delivery -- easy and athletic.
Sixto has advanced pitch-ability that allowed him to toy with lesser hitters while saving his focus for the middle of the order and big situations.
Sixto is athletic and in control. He has such "easy heat." He doesn't have to have his arms and legs flailing to distract hitters via deception and muscle the ball to the plate. And that allows him to command the ball well.
It is just very rare to see such a young pitcher who combines exceptional velocity along with advanced control and impressive command. He gets a 70 grade for his command.
Sanchez is one of the hardest-throwing starting pitchers in the minors, but you wouldn’t know it from his delivery. He has easy, fluid mechanics that he repeats consistently. He is gaining a understanding of how to sequence hitters. (Spring 2019)
Sixto is a smallish righthander with impressive command for such a young guy. And he can pitch to all four quadrants of the strike zone.
Hitters just don't seem to make much solid contact off Sanchez. You have to marvel at the ease with which he generates power from his textbook delivery. Similarly, his ability to command his power fastball is impressive. He has a loose, quick arm.
“He’s got a tremendous arm,” Philles minor league pitching coordinator Rafael Chaves said. “His fastball is 96-99 (mph) and he can change speeds.”
Sanchez’s poise and mound presence are that of a veteran pitcher, not someone who moved from shortstop to the mound in 2014.
“His feel for pitching is amazing,” Chaves said. “The poise he showed and how he dominated the league this summer was impressive.” (Spring, 2017)
Sanchez has a shot at being a #1 or #2 starter in MLB. He gets some comparisons to the Yankees Luis Severino. He just needs to show he can handle a starters' workload.
2018 Season: Sanchez has one of the most electric arms of any pitching prospect in baseball, with the chance to have three above-average to plus pitches when all is said and done. But his climb to the top of the pitching prospect rankings was slowed by elbow inflammation in 2018, limiting him to just 46.2 innings. Sanchez did not pitch after June 3.
Sixto has a very impressive right arm.
"He has uber-weapons,” Jacksonville manager Kevin Randel said. "He has an electric arm—fastball, slider and changeup, all for strikes, superb control. He’s poised beyond his years.”
Sanchez reached at least 99.6 mph on five of the eight fastballs he threw at the 2019 Futures Game in Cleveland this year. His average fastball velocity of 99.3 mph was second-best at the event.
"No moment is too big for him,” Randel said. "He loves the spotlight."
2019 Season: Sixto Sanchez, RHP (No. 1/MLB No. 22). Sanchez reached Double-A and threw a career-high 114 innings (with 103 strikeouts) in the 2019 season. The 21-year-old throws both a two- and four-seam fastball, can touch triple digits and also throws an above-average breaking ball and changeup.
Jan. 14, 2020: Sanchez was named one of the top 10 MLB pitching prospects entering the season. His best pitch is his change-up which he developed as a teenager. He is also noted for his control. It is one of the reasons he reached Double-A at age 20.
- 2020 Improvements: Sixto Sanchez is throwing off the mound, showing off his usual triple-digit fastballs — both a four-seamer and a sinker — to go along with his above-average changeup as he faces some of the Miami Marlins’ top hitting prospects at their alternate training site in Jupiter.
Another pitch is in the works to round out his arsenal.
Sanchez, the Marlins’ top prospect and the No. 22 overall prospect across MLB according to MLBPipeline, said Sunday he has started to throw a curveball instead of his slider over the past few weeks since team practices resumed. (JORDAN MCPHERSON - JULY 19, 2020)
Aug 28, 2020:“He was really good,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of Sánchez. “He was kind of in control all night. Used his changeup a lot. Was able to elevate. He gives you seven innings of scoreless.
“That was some impressive stuff,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said of Sánchez. “He was able to land his offspeed pitches. He established the fastball and he had a wipeout changeup. He is pretty talented.”
According to Statcast, Sánchez’s maximum fastball velocity was 100.6 mph, and he had 13 pitches at 99 mph or higher. Of his 92 pitches, 17 were swinging strikes, with eight coming on his changeup. (J Frisaro - MLB.com - Aug 28, 2020)
2020 Season: After being lights out in the minors during his first year as a Marlin in 2019, Sánchez came up from the alternate training site and started his first MLB game on August 22. Through five innings against the Nationals that start, he allowed six hits and three earned runs, including two home runs. Imperfect yet encouraging due to the quality of his stuff.
But right after that, he shined with seven scoreless frames of six hits, only one walk, and 10 punchouts vs. the Rays. In fact, from August 28 to September 13, he cruised with 27 frames, in which he surrendered 18 hits and three total runs, along with five bases on balls and 25 strikeouts (1.00 ERA, .494 OPS).
Sixto dominated. He did struggle in some of his outings, but advanced statistics show he’s real. The Dominican righty registers better-than-average numbers in exit velocity (87.8 MPH), launch angle (4.3º), and BB% (7.0). One of the things I liked most about his 2020 performance was his ground ball percentage: 58.0% (league average is 45.3). Keeping balls in the infield and preventing hard contact suggests he should have a lower BABIP than his rookie season .303 mark.
Regarding his repertoire, Sánchez proved that his four-seam fastball and his changeup can both be plus pitches. The former (23.8% usage) led to a .217 batting average and even though it generated a .565 slugging percentage, it helped to make his changeup even more successful. This latter pitch gave Sixto great results, with opponents batting 8-for-54—all singles—and 18 of his 33 strikeouts (55%).
Sixto had notable success against lefties: .232/.270/.261 slash line in 74 plate appearances. Only two of his 16 hits allowed were extra-base hits (two doubles).According to Baseball-Reference, opponents hit for a .125 average on fly balls off Sánchez (three singles in 24 at-bats).If you remove his two starts against the Nationals (9 IP, 14 H, 8 ER), his ERA was 2.10 across 30 frames.
High Points: Throwing seven scoreless and punching out 10 vs. the Rays on August 28; six shutout innings of three hits and six strikeouts at Atlanta on September 8; five scoreless against the Cubs in the NLWC on October 2
Recently, Don Mattingly announced that Sandy Alcántara, Pablo López, and Elieser Hernández are the only three pitchers to have a secured spot in next year’s Opening Day starting rotation. He added youngsters Sánchez and Trevor Rogers have to earn their way in.
Sánchez, who won’t turn 23 until July 29, will need to report to spring training in better shape than he did in 2020. It’ll be crucial for him to have a good showing in camp during exhibition games. Even that may not be enough—expect the Marlins to conservatively manage his workload considering that his career-high workload for a single season is only 114 innings pitched.
In 2021, Sánchez will be one of the most exciting figures on the Marlins. It’s true he’ll need to battle to earn a rotation spot, but he can finish the regular season as the Marlins unquestionable ace. It all depends on how a more mature Sánchez can perform throughout a full season—it’s up to him! (Juan Páez - Nov 1, 2020)
2020 Season: Repertoire: 26.7% Changeup, 24% Sinker, 13.8% 4-Seam Fastball, 17.2% Slider, 8.4% Curveball
Coming over from Philly in the JT Realmuto trade, Sánchez carried some nice prospect pedigree. He delivered on that in 2020 for the Marlins, getting the call towards the end of August and delivering very promising results across 7 starts. This included a stellar performance against the deep Tampa Bay Rays lineup on August 28th, in which he threw 7 scoreless to go along with 10 punch outs. All of that in just his 2nd major league start.
Going forward, there’s a lot to like for Sixto. He mixes in 5 different pitches headlined by an excellent changeup that he leans on the most. His fastball sits at a very nice 98.5 MPH on average, but unfortunately it was his worst pitch in his brief stint. Both barrel % (33.3%) and hard hit rate (60%) were both quite unsightly so he’ll need to harness more on it than just elite velocity for it to become an effective pitch. Still, the offspeed stuff is there and Sanchez can make it work despite the fastball woes.
For 2021 drafts, Sánchez took a bit of a stock hit towards the end of the season. In his last two starts he gave up 5 runs in 4 innings against Washington and followed that up with 4 runs in only 3 innings against Atlanta. Those 2 starts ballooned his ERA up from 1.69 to 3.46. While this isn’t a crazy swing given Sanchez’s low IP, the more middling ERA coupled with Sánchez’s inability to effectively throw his fastball will take a toll on his draft price. He’ll also need to improve his strikeout rate to gain relevance, as his 7.62 K/9 was below average in 2020. Look for Sánchez in the mid to late rounds where he can be a value as a SP3 or 4 with a chance to push into the top-30 SP by year’s end. (Matt Wallach - Jan. 20, 2021)
2020 Top International Prospect - Marlins: Sixto Sánchez, RHP (No. 1/MLB No. 19)
The Phillies discovered Sánchez in the Dominican Republic while attending a workout for a Cuban catcher in February 2015 and signed him, then used him as the key piece in the J.T. Realmuto trade four years later. He impressed in his first taste of the Majors in 2020, allowing just five runs in his first six starts and blanking the Cubs for five innings in the Wild Card Series, frequently reaching triple digits with his fastball and confounding hitters with his changeup. (J Callis - MLB.com - Jan 12, 2021)
2020 Season: Marlins manager Don Mattingly had very little to nitpick about Sánchez’s first campaign, telling reporters that the hyped-up righty “came as advertised” with an electric upper-90s fastball and dastardly changeup. Perhaps his one blemish was how he fared in his final two regular-season outings against the Nationals and Braves -- two teams that were seeing Sánchez for a second time in the span of a few weeks -- in which he gave up a combined nine earned runs across seven innings.
One way to fix that issue? Encouraging Sánchez to stick to his considerable strengths, according to Mattingly.“Last year it seemed like he played off one game to the next instead of just staying with how he wanted to attack guys,” Mattingly said of Sánchez. “If they jumped his fastball the first game, he might have gone with earlier offspeed the next time and not throw as many fastballs, instead of just attacking with the way he wanted to attack the guys.” Sánchez’s postseason gem against the Cubs might hint at what Mattingly would like to see him do more. Facing a Chicago club that struggled mightily against elite velocity all season, Sánchez let his fastballs eat and went with them on 80 percent of his pitches, racking up six strikeouts and holding the North Siders to four hits.
Sánchez hasn’t yet thrown his first bullpen session after arriving to camp and going through the COVID-19 intake protocols, but he already knows the pitch he wants to attack and improve upon this spring: the high heater. Sánchez’s 97.6-mph average fastball velocity (combined four-seamers and sinkers) ranked third-best out of 160 starters that threw at least 500 fastballs last year, and hitters went 4-for-17 (.235) with seven strikeouts, per Statcast, when he placed those high-octane heaters in the upper-third of the strike zone and above. Sánchez recognizes that pitch could be extremely difficult for hitters to handle when it’s up toward their shoulders, and he wants to make it a more consistent weapon.
“It’s something that will help me to get better results,” Sánchez said. “Last year I tried to do it a lot, but this year, it’s my main focus to work on that pitch.” (M Kelly - MLB.com - Feb 22, 2021)
- 2021 Best Changeup in Top Prospects - Sixto Sánchez, RHP, Marlins (65)Though Sánchez has a two-seam fastball that sits at 95-97 mph and a four-seamer that parks at 97-99, and he also flashes a plus curveball and cutter, his most effective pitch during his strong big league debut was his changeup. It arrives in the upper 80s before dive-bombing at the plate. Major Leaguers went 8-for-54 (.148, all singles) with 18 strikeouts against his changeup.