Born: September 28, 1987
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 225
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Drafted: 25th Round, 757th Overall, 2008 (Dodgers)
How Acquired: Trade (from Red Sox)
College: Catawba College
Agent: N/A


Sands set records for HRs, walks and slugging in Division 2, but still lasted until the 25th round in the draft.  He has power to all fields and has shown solid patience, but has also had high K rates.  He’s played a little in center, but doesn’t have good range and has mainly stayed in the corners.  Otherwise, he’s a capable outfielder with an arm that’s probably just good enough for right.  He’s played a lot at first as well.  The Pirates acquired him, along with Mark Melancon, Stolmy Pimentel and Ivan De Jesus for Joel Hanrahan and Brock Holt.

R:  205/346/438, 146 AB, 4 2B, 10 HR, 29 BB, 43 K, 5-5 SB

Sands played right in the GCL and hit for a low average with a lot of whiffs, but with good power and a lot of walks.

R+:  350/427/687, 163 AB, 9 2B, 2 3B, 14 HR, 22 BB, 28 K, 0-1 SB
A:  260/361/510, 104 AB, 7 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 15 BB, 32 K, 1-1 SB

Sands split his time between right and center in advanced rookie ball, and dominated at the plate.  The Dodgers moved him up to low A for a little over a month and he played mostly first.  He still hit for power, but also struck out a lot.

A:  333/432/646, 243 AB, 16 2B, 3 3B, 18 HR, 40 BB, 61 K, 14-16 SB
AA:  270/360/529, 259 AB, 12 2B, 2 3B, 17 HR, 33 BB, 62 K, 4-4 SB

The Dodgers sent Sands back to low A and he dominated there.  This time they jumped him up two levels at mid-season and he continued to hit for very good power, although for a lower average.  He continued to have somewhat high K rates at both locations.  Neither of his home ballparks were hitter’s parks.  In the field, he split his time between first and the outfield corners.  Baseball America rated him the Dodgers’ 6th best prospect after the season.

AAA:  278/344/586, 370 AB, 21 2B, 3 3B, 29 HR, 38 BB, 86 K, 3-4 SB
MLB:  253/338/389, 198 AB, 15 2B, 4 HR, 25 BB, 51 K, 3-6 SB

Sands opened in AAA, but the Dodgers called him up in mid-April.  He stayed in the majors until early June, then came back up in September.  He held his own in the majors and hit for decent power.  He hit for excellent power in AAA, although it has to be discounted as he was playing at Las Vegas in the Pacific Coast League.  He played mainly in the outfield corners in the majors and split his time between there and first in AAA.

AAA:  296/375/524, 452 AB, 17 2B, 4 3B, 26 HR, 59 BB, 106 K, 1-1 SB
MLB:  208/261/261, 24 AB, 2 2B, 1 BB, 9 K

Sands spent most of the season in AAA and hit for a little less power, but improved his walk and K rates.  They called him up briefly in May and for one game in August.  After the season, he was designated as a PTBNL in the huge trade between the Dodgers and Red Sox.  He played both first and the outfield corners.

R:  364/462/909, 11 AB, 2 HR, 2 BB, 4 K
AAA:  207/311/329, 343 AB, 17 2B, 2 3B, 7 HR, 50 BB, 105 K, 0-1 SB

Sands ostensibly went into spring training to compete with Starling Marte, Travis Snider, Jose Tabata and Alex Presley at the corner outfield spots and with Gaby Sanchez for the right-handed half of the firstbase platoon.  It was surprising, then, that Sands was in the first round of cuts.  The Pirates must have known what they were doing, because Sands had a disastrous year at Indianapolis.  Other than drawing a lot of walks, he did little at the plate.  His K rate increased dramatically.  The Pirates stuck with him, though, playing him regularly except when he was out for about a month with an injury in mid-summer.  Sands struggled mightily with RHPs, hitting only 204/293/309 against them.  He hit 218/365/397 against LHPs.  He did not get a September callup.

Sands is still on the roster, but obviously is a candidate to come off it.  Apart from whatever minor leaguers the Pirates need to add, they’ll still be searching for solutions in right and at first, so they may need space to add major league players.

UPDATE:  The Pirates designated Sands for assignment to free up roster space when they signed Edinson Volquez and Clint Barmes.

Baseball Reference–Majors
Baseball Reference–Minors
2014: Major league minimum
Signing Bonus: $5,000
MiLB Debut: 2008
MLB Debut: 4/18/2011
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2019
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: April 18, 2011
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2011, 2012, 2013)
MLB Service Time: 0.094
June 5, 2008: Drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 25th round, 757th overall pick; signed on June 10.
April 18, 2011: Contract purchased by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
October 4, 2012: Designated, along with Rubby De La Rosa, as players to be named later in trade from Los Angeles Dodgers to Boston Red Sox that was originally made on August 25, sending Allen Webster, Ivan De Jesus, James Loney and two PTBNLs to Boston for Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, Nick Punto and cash.
December 26, 2012: Traded by the Boston Red Sox with Mark Melancon, Stolmy Pimentel and Ivan De Jesus for Joel Hanrahan and Brock Holt.
December 13, 2013: Designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

  • Good piece Tim. I really don’t see how Appel CAN’T sign. The new rule that would give the Pirates a guaranteed pick (#9) next year (previously if they didn’t sign this pick then it was lost for good) if Appel walks just adds to the Bucs leverage. Hopefully he signs before too long & can get some work in this season with an attitude that he will prove the 7 teams that didn’t draft him wrong.

  • HamburgBucco
    June 8, 2012 7:45 am

    Slightly OT, but I do not understand the thinking of some of our late round picks:

    Why draft all those players with college commitments ?

    Especially those guys in the later rounds (Post, Rand, Pope,
    West to name but a few) are not likely to sign, are they ? There’s not a
    lot of money we can offer them under the new slot rules, so it’s not
    very likely we can lure them away from College.

    Wasted picks in my view – what’s the point if you really like the
    player, but know in advance you stand next to no chance signing him up ? Or is the harsh reality that from draft round 20 on the clubs just don’t care too much about who they pick ?As for Appel I would offer him 3 million, not much less because that would rightly piss him off even more than he already is, but definitely not more than three million.Another brilliant write-up by the way, Tim!

    • Some of those guys are fallback plans. No team signs all the guys they pick and really, there isn’t room for 41 new players in the system, they already have a good 50 or so players in Extended Spring Training with only 60 roster spots available between the two short-season teams. With late picks they will take guys, gauge interest and if they don’t sign other players they like better, they may go after them if there is money freed up at the end. If you have no fallback plans then you have nowhere to go if the other guy doesn’t sign.

      You can’t have too many college guys in the late rounds picked because once you get to a certain point, you’re picking roster fillers and organizational guys, and you only need so many of those types. Some teams will drafts tons of guys like that, Cardinals are famous for it, but within two years, more than half their picks have been released. Looks good on paper that they signed 90% of their picks but in reality, they are signing 30 guys each year just to fill empty roster spots from the failed picks the year before and it turns into an endless cycle

  • Mets people are reporting Gavin Cecchini is set to sign as well (plus Roache signed already)

    • It’s great to see. Seems like with the decrease in bargaining leverage, the players seem more open to just wrapping everything up as soon as possible and getting on the field.

      • Hopefully whenever a few of these higher level type guys make it to the Pros 6 months ahead of when they would have under the old system, it’ll really start to catch on.