LOLO SANCHEZ, CENTER FIELDER
|Born: April 23, 1999
Signed: Int’l Free Agent, 2015, Pittsburgh Pirates
How Acquired: International Free Agent
Country: Dominican Republic
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Sanchez was the Pirates’ top international signing in 2015. His big asset is speed. He’s a line-drive hitter with very good speed and range in center. He also has an above average arm.
Sanchez didn’t hit the ball with much authority in his first season, but did show very good patience and rarely struck out. It may be a matter of him needing to get stronger as he gets older. He also didn’t do well on the bases. Sanchez was very young, turning 17 only two months before the season started. He played strictly in center.
Sanchez took a big step forward as the regular center fielder in the GCL. His hitting improved substantially and he even showed good power, especially for a league where the slugging average was .349. His BB:K ratio continued to be excellent, he made a lot of progress with his base stealing and he led the league in runs. Sanchez showed a good arm, with seven assists, and he had no errors.
The Pirates sent Sanchez to West Virginia, where he was one of the league’s younger players. Overall, he had a disappointing season. He hit a 2-for-39 slump that started in mid-April and his numbers never recovered. He did hit well in some stretches. He batted 298/375/456 in June, but that was followed by a .576 OPS in July. In August and September he rebounded to hit 302/371/372. Another way to sort the numbers is by the league’s all-star break; Sanchez had an OPS of .586 before and .709 after. Sanchez’ plate discipline remained good and he finished fourth in the league in steals, although his success rate could be a little better. Sanchez played center all year until the Pirates moved Travis Swaggerty to West Virginia, after which Sanchez played left.
Sanchez went back to low A and improved dramatically, hitting for average and decent power. The Pirates promoted him to Bradenton in mid-June and he just stopped hitting. A lot of his troubles came against LHPs; he had just a .481 OPS against them, compared to .789 against RHPs. He wasn’t overwhelmed, as he generally made contact. He had a .233 batting on balls in play at Bradenton, which is ridiculously low for a player with his speed. Sanchez stole a lot of bases, but needs to improve his efficiency. In the field, he played mostly center at Greensboro but mostly left at Bradenton, in deference to Travis Swaggerty.
Sanchez was eligible for the Rule 5 draft for the second time and wasn’t selected. He continued to be one of the more puzzling players in the system, but this time in a good way. Scouts haven’t liked his swing because he tried to pull everything and didn’t have the power, or much patience. In 2021, he started hitting for very good power and also exhibited very good plate discipline. The increased power didn’t result from the Greensboro ballpark. He hit one more home run and slugged over 90 points higher on the road. He also improved his base stealing efficiency. Sanchez played mostly in the outfield corners, starting only eight games in center.
Sanchez opened the season with Altoona, then got hurt in June and missed about six weeks. He returned to Altoona for about the last five weeks. He continued to show very good plate discipline, but didn’t hit the ball with much authority. The Pirates played him more or less equally at all three outfield positions.
Sanchez was eligible to become a minor league free agent after the 2022 season, but he signed a minor league deal for 2023 before that happened.
|2023: Minor League Contract|
|Signing Bonus: $450,000
MiLB Debut: 2016
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2022
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: 2019
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|July 2, 2015: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an international free agent.