The Florida Marlins' Gaby Sanchez first appeared on my radar screen way back in 2006 in the Arizona Fall League. Although I thought Sanchez would progress to making an impact in the big leagues faster than he has, his performance this year hasn't surprised me. He's hitting .293 with 11 homers, enough to rank him 18th among first basemen on our Player Rater, and he's owned in slightly more than half of ESPN standard leagues. Sanchez is providing perfectly acceptable production and there's still likely a little more to come for the 26-year-old.
Sanchez was a fourth-round pick in 2005 out of the University of Miami (in the same class as Ryan Braun) and put up impressive numbers in the minors, winning a short-season batting title in 2005 as a rookie, the MVP award in the Southern League in 2008 and posting a .302 batting average in more than 1,700 at-bats, with an on-base percentage just under .400 and more walks than strikeouts. Despite all that, he's been relatively overlooked as a prospect for much of his career. That's partially because his 2006 season was marred by a broken hand and broken foot, which limited him to 74 games. He followed that with a mildly disappointing campaign in 2007, during which he hit .279 with nine homers. That took him off the radar a bit, though he did play in a good pitchers' environment in the high Class A Florida State League and still hit 40 doubles before his MVP campaign the next year.