Some truly tragic news came out of Venezuela earlier today as 20 year old Seattle Mariners pitching prospect Victor Sanchez was involved in an accident resulting in multiple skull fractures on Friday the 13th. Reports from Venezuelan sports site Lavinotinto.com say that Sanchez was swimming at a beach in Carupano, VZ when he was hit by a watercraft and suffered two skull fractures that required a craniectomy and the drainage of multiple hematomas.
To those unfamiliar with the medical terminology, let me save you some googling. A craniectomy is the medical term for the removal of a section of the skull to allow a swelling brain room to expand without being squeezed. A hematoma is the collection of blood outside of the blood vessels, a condition that only intensifies with brain trauma.
The word from Lavinotinto in their report Sunday afternoon was that he is in critical condition but has stabilized. The doctor that performed the surgery, Dr. Rolando Cobis, said Sanchez is "fighting for his life" and there is "vital danger". According to Ryan Divish with the Seattle Times, the organization is "not making any formal statements at the time until they can gather more information.
Video courtesy of Christopher Blessing via YouTube
A 6 foot, 255 pound right handed pitcher, Victor Sanchez garnered a $2.5M signing bonus out of Venezuela as one of the top pitchers in the 2011 international free agent class. His debut was in 2012 with short season Everett as a 17 year old where he made 15 impressive starts with a 3.18 ERA and 3.77 FIP over 85 innings pitched with 27 walks (7.7%) and 69 strike outs (19.7%). The next season he made his full season debut with Low A Clinton of the Midwest League. He tossed 113.1 innings for the Lumberjacks with a 2.78 ERA and 3.01 FIP to go with 79 strike outs (16.9%) and just 18 walks (3.9%).
His performance with Clinton and the scouting reports impressed the brass enough to have Sanchez skip High A in the California League and he was assigned to AA Jackson for the 2014 campaign. In his age 19 season he made 23 starts totaling 124.2 innings of work, striking out 97 (18.2%) with 34 walks (6.4%), a 4.19 ERA and 4.39 FIP. Sanchez ran into issues with the long ball though, allowing 17 in 2014 alone after surrendering just nine in the previous two seasons.
With a few of the major publications already releasing their Top X lists for the Mariners, Sanchez only cracked the Top 10 for John and the guys at Baseball Prospectus. He fell out of the Top 30 for Baseball America, and was unranked by ESPN's Keith Law. While the BP write up is behind the paywall, John's is free as always, and this is what he had to say -
9) Victor Sanchez, RHP, Grade B-/Borderline C+: Age 19, posted 4.19 ERA with 97/34 K/BB in 125 innings in Double-A, 128 hits. Not a great year and many people seem down on him, but he skipped High-A completely and is still very young. Throws three average pitches for strikes, not classically projectable at 6-0, 255, although a lot of that is muscle not fat. Fourth starter projection.
Suffice it to say, Sanchez has suffered a life threatening injury, his well being and recovery are the most important thing at this stage. Prayers, thoughts, and good vibes are being sent to Sanchez and his family from the entire Minor League Ball staff as they go through this terrible ordeal.