The Pittsburgh Pirates have released two minor league pitchers over the weekend, letting go of right-hander Andres Mendoza and lefty Angel Sanchez. The release of Angel Sanchez, the lefty pitcher who was with Bristol, coincided with the pick-up of right-hander Angel Sanchez, who made his debut for Altoona yesterday, saving us some confusion down the line.
Sanchez the lefty is 21 years old and stands 6’7″, though he has been listed at 190 pounds during his career and he wasn’t much of a power pitcher. When he first appeared in the DSL in 2010, he was highly projectable, but threw mid-80’s and dealt with control issues for each of his first three seasons. He was moved in the GCL last year and those issues went away, plus he posted a low BAA and high ground ball rate, so he seemed like a possible sleeper, especially if he could continue his turnaround. This season out of the Bristol bullpen, the control issues returned. So while he held batters to a .162 BAA with no homers, he also walked 14 in 11.2 innings.
Andres Mendoza is a 22-year-old righty, who was with Jamestown this season. He had a 6.32 ERA in nine appearances and gave up 24 hits in 15.2 innings. He was making a huge jump this year, going right from the DSL to the NYPL, skipping over two levels, but Jamestown was the more age-appropriate league for him. It was still a big difference in talent for Mendoza, who spent two years in the DSL and one year(2011) in Venezuela when the Pirates still had a Summer League team there. He is an excellent ground ball pitcher, with good control and prior to this season, he had decent strikeout rates and was tough to hit.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.