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Thoughts on Rays prospect Jesus Sanchez and Reds prospect Taylor Trammell

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More hot outfield prospects to consider

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Tampa Bay Rays Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

We had a good discussion yesterday about Washington Nationals phenom Juan Soto. In the comments section, Minor League Ball community member Dfarth asked

I’m curious where you’d put his A+ OF companions Jesus Sanchez and Taylor Trammell. Both are off to good if not spectacular starts (at least compared to Soto). Perhaps 25-35 for both?

Reader Cubbie dom followed up by asking about Houston Astros prospect Yordan Alvarez.

I actually wrote about Alvarez last week, which you can read here. Rays prospect Sanchez has been brought up in discussion threads lately but I want to flesh out my thoughts and Cincinnati Reds outfielder Trammell needs some attention too.

First, Sanchez. Here was the pre-season take on the Tampa Bay Rays Top 20 Prospects list:

2) Jesus Sanchez, OF, Grade B+: Age 20, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2015 for $400,000; hit .305/.348/.478 with 29 doubles, 15 homers, 32 walks, 91 strikeouts in 475 at-bats in Low-A, playing the season at age 19; that’s a good line anywhere but especially in the Midwest League; this may seem an aggressive ranking but I have liked Sanchez since he was an amateur and will put a marker down; impressive bat speed, could stand to be more selective he makes hard contact on almost everything he swings at; may lose some running speed with age but gain power; glove tools fit best in left but he has good instincts; ETA 2020.

Sanchez is hitting .363/.378/.563 with five homers in 123 at-bats for the Charlotte Stone Crabs of the High-A Florida State League. Just as he did in 2017, Sanchez is hitting the snot out of the ball in a pitcher’s league that suppresses offense in general and power in particular. He’ll play the entire season at age 20, another big positive.

As we’ve talked about in Gameday threads, Sanchez draws few walks, with only three free passes this year as opposed to 23 strikeouts. I think my pre-season thinking still applies: more selectivity would be nice and may become a necessity at higher levels, but you can’t complain about his production, he makes contact, and right now FSL pitchers are not a challenge for him. His swing and bat speed are too good for the league. This will remain true as long as he’s at Charlotte.

The interesting thing for me is that Sanchez has always drawn good reviews for pitch recognition. He is not a wild hacker even with the tiny walk rate and if it becomes necessary to make adjustments, my thinking is that he’ll be able to do so. I had him at Number 45 on my pre-season Top 175. He’d be in the 30s now.

Taylor Trammell ranked 39th on that list and third on the Cincinnati Reds Top 20 list with this comment:

3) Taylor Trammell, OF, Grade B+: Age 20, compensation round pick in 2016 from high school in Georgia; hit .281/.368/.450 with 24 doubles, 10 triples, 13 homers, 71 walks, 123 strikeouts in 491 at-bats, also stole 41 bases; tools match the numbers, with 70-speed, 55-power, arm is weakest tool at 45-50 but good enough for left field or center, speed works at either outfield spot and he’s a very real steal danger on the bases; whiff rate a bit high but he made good progress locking down the strike zone and boosting OBP skills; could be ideal leadoff hitter with more power than most. ETA 2020.

Like Sanchez, Trammell is in the Florida State League this year and is putting up the numbers, hitting .287/.398/.500 for the Daytona Tortugas with 20 walks and 21 strikeouts in 108 at-bats. He’s not putting up the gaudy batting average like Sanchez but Trammell’s OBP is actually higher and his isolated power marker is virtually identical (.213 vs. 210). And like Sanchez, Trammell will play the entire season at age 20.

Same age (less than a month apart), both are left-handed hitters, with different approaches but similar overall productivity. Tools-wise, I think they are equivalent in raw power. Trammell is faster but Sanchez has a better throwing arm, so take your pick there. Both have experience in center field but ultimately fit best at a corner, with Sanchez in right and Trammell in left most likely. Trammell will show more range in the field and zip on the bases, while Sanchez will be more of a threat against runners.

Overall, while the shape of their talents aren’t identical, they are very close in overall projective value. I had Trammell just barely ahead of Sanchez pre-season and that still makes sense to me.