MLB
June 30, 2012 posted by Chuck Anderson

Position Battles: Miami First Base

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Gaby Sanchez, 1B, Miami Marlins

Three weeks ago Gaby Sanchez got a second chance to reestablish the form that made him an All Star in 2011.  He has not made the most of the opportunity and first base is once again up for grabs in Miami.  Logan Morrison took over when Sanchez was demoted, but he is having offensive issues of his own, clocking in with a .305 OBP.  Greg Dobbs received the starting nod on June 24, 25, and 26.

 

In short every one of Gaby Sanchez’s offensive skills have deteriorated.  He has the lowest wRC+ of any first baseman with 100 plate appearances.  The slide began a year ago as he staggered to a .679 OPS in 2011’s second half.  That lowly mark is still preferable to the .532 he has as a Marlin this season.

 

As is the case with many slumpers Sanchez is combining a career high strikeout rate with a career low walk rate.  His BB/K ratio was over 0.50 the last two seasons, now it is 0.29.  His OSwing% is high for him at 35.4%, but not far above 2010’s 34.8%.  The bigger problem is he is getting beaten on pitches in the strike zone with greater regularity.

 

His ISO is under .100 after generating rates of .175 in 2010 and .161 in 2011.  His GB/FB is steady, but there are many indicators implying that he is making weak contact.

  2010 2011 2012
Line Drive % 17.1% 20.0% 12.7%
Infield Fly Ball % 7.8% 11.3% 17.5%
HR/FB % 8.7% 8.9% 3.2%

 

Any one of these changes would not be enough to draw conclusions but combined they show a hitter unable to drive any pitches with authority.  That considered, one must wonder how much of his .235 BABIP is truly bad luck?

 

Sanchez spent nineteen games in Triple-A and hit .310/.494/.483 with three home runs.  As with Ike Davis it is premature to say he is cooked, but he is performing too poorly in the majors to roster in any but the deepest fantasy leagues.  An improved BB/K could point to a reemergence before surface numbers come around.

 

Greg Dobbs is far from an ideal replacement considering his .308 career OBP.  His ISO is under .100 for the first time since 2005.  He appears to be trading power for contact as his strikeout rate is a major league best for him.  He will be 34 by the time America celebrates its next birthday so expecting him to replicate 2008’s .301/.333/.491 is not a sound strategy.  Outfield prospects Christian Yelich and Marcel Ozuna are doing fine work, but at the High-A level.  They are not putting any pressure on the major league roster leaving Morrison as the best corner outfielder in the organization not named Giancarlo Stanton.

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