In 2015, Sanchez signed with the Phillies (see Transactions below).
Sixto originally trained in the Dominican Republic as a shortstop, but his arm was better than his bat, so he moved to the mound. At a tryout for a Cuban catcher, the Phillies were instead drawn to Sanchez, an eligible 16-year-old pitcher who had quick, easy arm action and a fastball that reached the low 90s.
One day, back in 2015, the Phillies held a tryout for a Cuban catcher named Lednier Ricardo at their Dominican academy in Boca Chica. Sanchez was there to throw batting practice to Ricardo, but the Phillies liked Sixto's easy velocity and passed on the Cuban backstop.
A couple days later, Sanchez—who was just 16 years old—got the news.
"The Phillies called my father,” Sanchez said. "My father was laughing.”
Sanchez’s father was joyous because his son was offered—and quickly accepted—a $35,000 bonus, which goes a long way in the Dominican Republic.
Sanchez, who has four sisters and three brothers, quickly made his family even prouder by dominating Rookie-level Gulf Coast League competition in his U.S. debut in 2016. He shot to No. 5 on the Phillies' prospect ranking that offseason.
Phillies special assistant Bart Braun was at a workout in the Dominican Republic to scout a Cuban catcher. The player who caught his eye was Sanchez, the 16-year-old pitcher throwing to him, so the Phillies moved quickly to sign him.
In 2016, Sixto claimed the ERA title (0.50 ERA and only 4 runs in 11 starts) for the Gulf Coast League in 2016. And after that, he finished off his season with seven scoreless innings in the GCL playoffs.
In 2017, Baseball America rated Sanchez as the 5th-best prospect in the Phillies farm system. They had Sixto at second-best prospect, behind only J.P. Crawford, in the spring of 2018. And in the winter before 2019 spring camps opened, Sanchez was the #1 prospect in the Phillies organization, then stayed number one in the spring of 2020.
July 2019: Sixto represented the Marlins at the Futures All-Star Game. He was also named MVP for Jacksonville.
2019 Season: Sanchez (the Marlins’ No. 1 prospect, and No. 23 overall, per MLB Pipeline) received the Double-A Jacksonville Most Valuable Player Award.
Sanchez, acquired from the Phillies in February as part of the J.T. Realmuto trade, completed his first season in the Marlins organization, and the hard-throwing righty showed he was healthy after a right elbow issue limited him in 2018. The 21-year-old was 8-4 with a 2.53 ERA in 18 starts for Jacksonville, and he added two more starts at Jupiter. Overall, he was 8-6 with a 2.76 ERA in 20 starts and struck out 103 and walked 21 in 114 innings.
Jan 13, 2020: No player currently on the Marlins’ 40-man roster has been assigned the No. 45. The organization just may be holding the number for when top prospect Sixto Sanchez is ready to reach the big leagues. To sport 45 on the back of his jersey would be special for Sanchez, because that’s the number Pedro Martinez, his childhood idol, wore. Like so many pitchers born in the Dominican Republic, Sanchez was raised admiring Martinez, the Hall of Fame right-hander and personable baseball figure who continues to be in the public eye as a TV analyst.
“Since I was little, I’ve admired him, seeing all his games,” Sanchez said in Spanish. “I always said, ‘Wow, I want to be like him.'"
Sanchez spoke to MLB.com at MLB’s annual Rookie Career Development Program, held in Miami. The right-hander is one of the top pitching prospects in the game, and he is tracking toward reaching the big leagues in 2020.
When it comes to his main goal this year, Sanchez makes his intentions clear: “To keep working hard and to be able to get to the big leagues.”
Ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Marlins’ No. 1 prospect, and No. 22 on the overall Top 100 list, Sanchez will be one of Miami’s most closely monitored players when Spring Training opens on Feb. 12 at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla.
The 6-foot, 185-pound Sanchez is a hard-throwing right-hander with a fastball that routinely reaches 100 mph. The 21-year-old is already on Miami’s 40-man roster, and he’s been assigned No. 73 for Spring Training. Players who have yet to reach the big leagues often have high numbers in Spring Training before they make it.
But when Sanchez does reach Miami, he can request another number. And since 45 is not already taken, it’s safe to assume it may be reserved for the Marlins’ top prospect. Still, the right-hander may have to wait a little while. (J Frisaro - MLB.com - Jan 13, 2020)
February 20, 2015: Sanchez signed as a free agent with the Phillies, out of the D.R., via scout Carlos Salas. His bonus was only $35,000, via scout Carlos Salas.
- Feb. 7, 2019: Philly made a big splash by acquiring Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto in exchange for top prospect Sixto Sanchez, catcher Jorge Alfaro, pitching prospect Will Stewart, and $250,000 international slot money.
|Birth City:||San Cristobal, D.R.|
|Draft:||2015 - Phillies - Free agent - Out of the D.R.|
Sanchez has good command of his very lively 93-101 mph FASTBALL with solid sink and arm-side run, generating weak contact for a 70 grade on the 20-80 scouting scale. He also has a 60 grade 88-90 mph power SLIDER with two-plane tilt that misses both left- and righthanded bats and is a 60 grade. And his CHANGEUP runs away from lefty hitters, sinking beneath their bats with impressive downer drop, flashing 60, on the 20-80 scale. He sells that change with the same arm speed as his heater.
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.
- Sixto is a very solid fielding pitcher. He's an extra infielder when he's on the mound.
June 9, 2018: Sanchez went on the disabled list with inflammation in his right elbow. His season was mostly shelved because of lingering tenderness in his elbow.
October 10, 2018: The Phillies hoped Sanchez, their top prospect by MLB Pipeline, could make up for lost time in the Arizona Fall League. But he was set back due to problems with his collarbone.
A Phillies source said team doctors are not concerned. Sanchez is the No. 21 prospect in baseball. He has not pitched since June because of inflammation in his right elbow. The Phillies' window to get him stretched out and ready to compete this fall did not allow for setbacks, but Sanchez recently reported soreness in his clavicle. The source said the Phillies then decided to be conservative and remove him from the AFL roster.
- 2019: Sanchez has recovered from the shoulder inflammation that cut short his 2018 season and delayed his 2019 campaign by one month.