Cardinals Farm Report

Eduardo Sanchez
Relief Pitcher
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 155 lbs
Signed by the Cardinals as a non-drafted free agent in 2005
Just like every Saturday here on i70baseball, the Cardinal Farm Report spotlights one of the prized Cardinal minor leaguers. This week, it is Eduardo Sanchez, one of the best relief prospects in the Minors.Watching the late innings of a Memphis Redbirds game can be exciting these days.

Depending on the score, you could see two of the top relief pitching prospects in the minor leagues. Eduardo Sanchez and Francisco Samuel are both top prospects in the Cardinals system, and both are with the Redbirds.

About a year ago, Samuel was Springfield’s pride and joy when it came to closing out games. Samuel, not Sanchez, played in the Futures Game in St. Louis. Samuel, not Sanchez, was the one getting all of the national attention.

Nevertheless, Sanchez was given the closing role in the second half of the 2009 season and held on to all the attention that came with it. All of a sudden, everybody was talking about this 5’11” 20-year-old kid with a 100 mph fastball.

Sanchez had a really good 2008 season in Quad Cities coming out of the bullpen, but it was in August of last year when he really caught some eyes. When the 2009 campaign finally came to a close, Eduardo Sanchez had compiled 28 saves in Palm Beach and Springfield. In 75 innings he had stuck out 82 batters while sporting a 2.28 ERA. Naturally, he was starting to get the hype he deserved.

The guy is labeled as St. Louis’ “closer of the future” and there is no doubt that he is on that track. His high-90’s fastball is what he is known for, but he also has a very good slider and a knee-buckling curve that he can throw consistently for strikes. His control is above-average, and is actually pretty impressive considering how young he is and how hard he throws. He also doesn’t give up any home runs. This season, his HR/9 rate is sitting at a pretty amazing 0.7.

The thing I like about him most is this number right here: 78

That is the percentage of batters he faces that either strikeout or groundnut. 78% of batters he faces strikeout or groundnut. That is ridiculous. When it comes to upside and potential, the Cardinals haven’t seen a prospect reliever like this in a long, long time.

At the start of this season, Sanchez was still in AA but was quickly promoted after an injury. He wasted no time showing people that he is for real. So far in Memphis, Eduardo rocks a 2.12 ERA with three saves in 22 innings out of the ‘pen.

Make no mistake about it, people. Sanchez has “closer” written all over him. Just ask the radar gun in Springfield that clocked him at 103 last season as a 20-year-old.

A minor league scout actually compared Sanchez to the Texas Rangers phenom closer Neftali Feliz and said, “Eduardo has very similar stuff. Neftali’s fastball may have more tail, but I would say Sanchez’s breaking pitchers are a notch better.”

John Mozeliak has been interviewed on 101 ESPN in St. Louis saying that he “wouldn’t be afraid to bring him up” if he thought he could help the club out.

Sanchez may not be a September call-up in a few days, but look for him to be on the 40-man roster next season, and don’t be surprised if he takes the mound at Busch in 2011.

AAA-Memphis Redbirds
Record to date: 75-59, second place in the PCL American North, 1.5 games behind Iowa This past week: 5-2, including a 2-2 series split with our I-70 friends in Omaha Transactions: LHP Tyler Norrick assigned to Memphis Redbirds from Springfield Cardinals, RHP Jason Motte assigned to Memphis Redbirds, LHP Ryan Kulik assigned to Springfield Cardinals from Memphis Redbirds, LHP Nate Robertson filed for free agency, St. Louis Cardinals recalled RHP Fernando Salas from Memphis Redbirds, RHP Matthew Scherer assigned to Memphis Redbirds from Palm Beach Cardinals Coming up: The Redbirds will play games four and five of the long Round Rock series before finishing up the homestand with New Orleans.
AA-Springfield Cardinals
Record to date: 33-27 in the second half (71-59 overall), second place in the TEX North, 3 games behind NW Arkansas This past week: 3-4, won the San Antonio series 2-1, and lost the NW series 3-1 Transactions: Springfield Cardinals activated RHP Scott Gorgen from the 7-Day disabled list, LHP Tyler Norrick assigned to Memphis Redbirds from Springfield Cardinals, Arquimedes Nieto assigned to Palm Beach Cardinals from Springfield Cardinals, LHP Ryan Kulik assigned to Springfield Cardinals from Memphis Redbirds Coming up: The Cardinals will take on Arkansas for three games at home before they head to Tulsa for a four-game set.
A-Palm Beach
Record to date: 33-29 in the second half (72-56 overall), second place in the FSL South, 1 game behind Bradenton This past week: 2-6, including a five-game losing streak Transactions: Palm Beach Cardinals activated LHP George Brown from the 7-Day disabled list, Kevin Moscatel assigned to GCL Cardinals from Palm Beach Cardinals, Arquimedes Nieto assigned to Palm Beach Cardinals from Springfield Cardinals, Matthew Scherer assigned to Memphis Redbirds from Palm Beach Cardinals, C Roberto Espinoza assigned to Palm Beach Cardinals from Batavia Muckdogs Coming up: The Baby Birds will finish up the Jupiter series before taking on Fort Myers on the road.
Joe Mather, OF, Memphis
.500 AVG (14-for-28), .577 OBP, .562 SLG, 5 runs, 1 RBI, 2 walks
This wasn’t a great offensive week down on the farm, but Mather was the exception. He’s been on a tear recently and could get the call up if Holliday misses time. On the season, Joey Bombs is hitting .272/.347/.432 with 49 runs, 14 doubles, nine home runs, and 38 RBI in 294 at bats.
Brian Broderick, SP, Springfield
W, 9 innings pitched, 5 hits, 2 runs, 0 walks, 5 strikeouts
You don’t see complete games very often in the Minors, but Broderick accomplished the feat on Wednesday night. In 24 games at Palm Beach and Springfield this season, Broderick is 12-7 with a 3.94 ERA and 86 SO in 137 innings.

Justin Hulsey covers the Cardinals for i70baseball and his blogs, Cardinals Front Office and Rising Redbirds, that are also dedicated to Cardinals baseball and their minor league system.You may follow him on Twitter @JayHulsey by clicking here.

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