Sanchez showing off versatility in AFL

November 3rd, 2021

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The White Sox signed in 2019 and gave the infielder a $2.5 million signing bonus. Sanchez made his debut that summer in the Dominican Summer League, but after the canceled 2020 season, he entered this year as a 24-year-old with limited professional experience.

The No. 15 White Sox prospect started to work his way up the ladder this season and played 99 games between High-A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham. Sanchez fared well, hitting .308/.352/.419, and was sent to the Arizona Fall League to continue gaining experience against advanced pitching.

So far, he’s continued to thrive.

After going 3-for-3 with two RBIs and leading Glendale to a 4-2 win over Peoria on Wednesday, Sanchez is batting .421 with four RBIs through seven games.

“He’s just finding the barrel,” Desert Dogs coach Danny Farquhar said. “Barrel to the ball is the name of the game, and today he barreled up three balls and they found holes.”

Sanchez showed his ability to use the entire field. He singled to right field in the second inning, drove home a pair with a hit to center in the fourth and then beat out an infield hit to the left side in the seventh.

Known for his defense, the 24-year-old has spent the bulk of his career playing up the middle, but he offers plenty of versatility and showed as much when Glendale shifted him from second to third in the fifth frame.

The ball was promptly hit his way, and he both made a routine play on a grounder and an impressive catch in foul territory against the dugout railing.

“Having guys that are able to play multiple positions is obviously great for a coaching staff where there are no question marks of what positions we can do and what adjustments we can make,” Farquhar said. “With the shift, infielders are always moving around, so it’s really good that he can play multiple positions.”

The sample size is small, but things are trending in the right direction. For a player who began the calendar year having played just 29 games of Rookie ball, Sanchez took a few big steps by working his way up to Double-A and earning an invite to the Fall League.

“It’s a good experience,” Farquhar said. “It’s a high quality league with a lot of good players, so it kind of shows you the level that they need to come up to, or the level they are at, before they get to the big leagues.”

Andre Pallante held the Peoria bats in check early in the start for Glendale with three scoreless frames. The right-handed Cardinals prospect gave up two hits and a walk, struck out one and retired eight of the final nine batters he faced. Pallante’s fastball has ticked up a bit in Arizona and touched 99 mph as he lowered his AFL ERA to 2.08.

Bryson Stott drove home both of Peoria’s runs on a single to center in the fifth. The Phillies' No. 2 prospect finished 1-for-3 and is hitting .345.