Thursday, January 31, 2008

Yankees Top Prospect - Humbert Sanchez

From -

Vital Statistics:
Name: Humberto Sanchez
Position: Pitcher
DOB: May 28, 1983
Height: 6’6”
Weight: 230
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Posting a career 30-31 record with a 4.16 ERA and 446 strikeouts in 454 innings, including going 10-6 with a 2.63 ERA between Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo in
his last year for the Detroit Tigers in 2006, he had not pitched an inning for the Yankees last Spring before needing Tommy John surgery.

"It's been mentally draining a little bit but they've been great over here," Sanchez said of the Yankees. "They've been real supportive. They understand the situation and
they really, really show me a lot of support. I have nothing but great things to say about the organization so far."

Currently throwing only four-seam fastballs on flat surfaces from 120 feet to build up his arm strength, he is scheduled to get up on the rehab mound at some point in
February and that is when he should be allowed to start throwing more of his arsenal.
"Right now I should be ready in games somewhere by the end of April, maybe get into some Extended [Spring Training] games by mid-April. At worst I should be staying [in Tampa] until it warms up a little bit up north in Scranton or wherever my assignment is going to be.

"I'm pretty much just a month behind the other pitchers. I should be throwing bullpens right around Spring Training. [The elbow] is feeling strong."
Known for his power fastball and great curveball, Sanchez - a starter his entire minor league career thus far - has a complete repertoire.

"My slider is probably my third best pitch and my changeup is lagging a little bit behind just because I probably didn't use it as much as I should have," said the NewYork native. "I felt pretty confident with it in my last healthy season. It's made a lot of strides. It's pretty much what you see is what you get - I'm a big guy who comes after people."

Possessing a plus fastball and a knockout strikeout pitch with his curveball gives him more than enough to be a big weapon in the back-end of a big league bullpen, and
some scouts believe his ultimate role with the Yankees may depend on the further development of his changeup.

"In my reality I have something I can use against lefties," he admitted. "I like my two-seamer because it has a lot of differential from my four-seamer. Throwing the
changeup for me is more of an off-balance pitch for me, more of a show-me pitch than a go-to pitch.

"I consider it my fifth pitch if you're looking at the four and the two-seamer, and the curveball and the slider. I would love to stay as a starter but my role will be
whatever the Yankees want it to be. As long as I pitch, that's all that I want."
Sanchez is not the only one eager to see himself get back on the mound. With stuff comparable to Joba Chamberlain, he affords the Yankees a lot of flexibility upon his return.

"We're both pretty big guys that have power stuff. Anytime you have that combination that you want to compare it to, yeah I think that's somebody you could compare
me to," said Sanchez. "I consider myself a power pitcher.

"Some people say my curveball is my out-pitch or my go-to pitch, but I love my fastball. I trust it so when it's on I think it's my best pitch."

The Yankees also love his fastball and they are fervently anticipating plugging it into their pitching staff at soon as possible.

"Sanchez is a big strong man with a lot of power in his arm," said Yankees minor league pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras. "He has some arm strength and he's got
some life with his two-seamer.

"I would say the fastball is his best pitch, that's the power that he has. He has shown a quality curveball, has shown a very good slider, and his changeup is his fourth pitch right now."

Having some success at the higher minor league levels already and with some Triple-A experience under his belt, everybody believes he could have an impact with the
big league club at some point in 2008.

"I believe so," Sanchez said without hesitation. "That's my goal but they've had some guys step up when I was hurt. I guess it's all going to depend on their needs and my performance.

"I just want to be healthy and not be in the training room again for the whole year. If I do that I think the rest will take care of itself. I'm confident I'll be able to pitch this year and God willing everything will turn out pretty good."

After losing a year to TJS, Humberto will be 25 in May this year. His last year in the Tigers system, TDS posted 10-6, 97 h, 129 k, 47 bb in 122 ip; very impressive.

I see The Dirty Sanchez making a significant contribution to the Yankee pen in 2008. The live fastball, electric slider and change/curve make TDS a prime candidate to become the heir apparent to Mo at the back of the Yankee bullpen.

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