Jesus Sanchez already was off to a strong start this season, but he took it to another level Sunday.
The Rays' No. 4 prospect went 3-for-5 with his first homer of the year and four RBIs in Double A Montgomery's 11-7 loss to Chattanooga at AT&T Field. He boosted his slash line to .389/.421/.556 through four games.
Gameday box score
Sánchez knocked in Josh Lowe with a groundout in the third inning and plated Rays No. 10 prospect Lucius Fox with a single to right field in the fifth. His homer came in the ninth, when after a changeup from Alex Powers barely missed the strike zone low and away. Sánchez had a feeling what was coming next.
"The first pitch he threw to me [was a] changeup," he said. "I said, 'Ah, I know he's going to come with the fastball."
Powers brought the heater, and MLB.com's No. 38 overall prospect drove it over the fence in right-center to score Dalton Kelly.
The 21-year-old almost didn't get the chance to go deep, however, as he suffered an injury scare in the bottom of the fifth. When Reds No. 10 prospect Jose Siri drove a towering fly ball to right, Sánchez crashed into the fence trying to track it down.
"It was a surprise, because I [thought I was] maybe eight feet to the wall, so I never [thought I was] too close to the wall," he said.
Lowe, the center fielder, immediately ran to Sánchez as Siri and Reds No. 13 prospect TJ Friedl rounded the bases for the first inside-the-park homer ever given up by the Biscuits. Once Lowe arrived, Sánchez said he was in significant pain and worriedly told him he thought he'd broken his thumb.
That wasn't the case. After staying down for several minutes and visiting with trainer Kris Russell, Sánchez remained in the game. While he didn't break the thumb, he was pretty rattled. Afterwards, he said he was "not feeling 100%."
2019 MiLB include
This is Sánchez's fourth season in the Minors and his second with Montgomery. He started his career off with a strong rookie campaign, hitting .323 in 42 games in the Gulf Coast League and .347 in 14 games in the Appalachian League in 2016.
He batted .305 in his first full campaign with Class A Bowling Green and .301 the following year at Class A Advanced Charlotte. That earned him a promotion to Montgomery to end the season, but he struggled against Southern League pitching with a .214 average, 14 runs scored and 11 RBIs in 27 games.
Second-ranked Reds prospect Taylor Trammell went deep for the second straight game for Chattanooga, hitting a first-inning solo shot off Ivan Pelaez.
Lowe and Fox tripled for the Biscuits, while third-ranked Rays prospect Brendan McKay went 2-for-4 with an RBI, knocking in Kelly with a single in the fifth.