The true payoff won't come until he reaches the Majors, but Jesús Sánchez took two more giant steps toward that goal on Friday night.The third-ranked Marlins prospect homered twice and went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs scored to lead Triple-A New Orleans to a 10-6 triumph over Salt Lake
The true payoff won't come until he reaches the Majors, but Jesús Sánchez took two more giant steps toward that goal on Friday night.
The third-ranked Marlins prospect homered twice and went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs scored to lead Triple-A New Orleans to a 10-6 triumph over Salt Lake at Smith's Ballpark.
The 21-year-old recorded his second career multi-homer game and first since April 26, 2017 with Class A Bowling Green in the Rays system. The three hits matched a season high for Sanchez, who singled in five at-bats in his organizational debut with the Baby Cakes on Thursday.
Barely 48 hours after being acquired from Tampa Bay in a four-player deal that sent pitchers Trevor Richards and Nick Anderson across the state, MLB.com's No. 42 overall prospect offered a glimpse of what he's capable of doing.
"He looked comfortable out there tonight," New Orleans hitting coach Justin Mashore said. "[Thursday night], he had to fly in and get here, so it was hectic for him. Tonight, he looked as if he'd been with us all season. He got some pitches to hit and hit them hard. It's always nice to see a guy who gets traded do well early and show their stuff."
Gameday box score
Sanchez struck out in the opening frame before he doubled to center field and scored on a double by Marlins No. 5 prospect Isan Díaz in the third. The native of the Dominican Republic launched his first homer with his new club two innings later off the batter's eye in center, the first of back-to-back homers with Diaz.
Sanchez struck again in the seventh with a two-run shot to right. He walked in the eighth to reach safely four times in one game for the second time this season and first since May 3 with Double-A Montgomery.
"Getting to see him in person is a lot different than on video," Mashore said. "I've been impressed with what I've seen, but I want him to take it slow, get comfortable and keep doing his thing. He's got really good hand speed and when you've got that, you've got a chance. That's the biggest thing that stands out to me so far about him."
After batting .315 across his first four Minor League stops, Sanchez struggled in his first Double-A action last season following a successful stint with Class A Advanced Charlotte. He began 2019 back with the Biscuits and was named a Southern League midseason All-Star after batting .275/.332/.404 with 20 extra-base hits and 49 RBIs in 78 games. He was promoted to Triple-A Durham on July 11.
Including his sixth three-hit performance of the season Friday, Sanchez has put together a .236/.309/.431 slash line in 72 at-bats with the Bulls and Baby Cakes.
Mashore, a former Minor Leaguer, has a simple rule as the coach of a new player -- or any player for that matter.
"I just want to help him get as comfortable as he can be," he said. "That's the biggest key for him. Whether it's a guy who's been around all season or a new addition. It doesn't matter if it's in the Majors, Triple-A or A-ball, it's all the same. Comfort is huge thing for a player.
"I think you stick to the basics and if he can repeat the same thing every day -- whether he gets the results or not -- just make sure he gets what works for him. That's the most important thing."
Diaz reached safely three times and drove in two runs in his third straight multi-hit game. The first five batters in the New Orleans lineup -- Magneuris Sierra, Sanchez, Diaz, Lewis Brinson and Eddy Alvarez -- combined to go 12-for-21 with three homers, four doubles, nine RBIs and nine runs scored.
Jared Walsh homered, singled and drove in three runs for Salt Lake. Beginning with his three-homer performance on July 23, the Angels' No. 24 prospect has gone deep eight times in his last 10 games. He also tossed a scoreless ninth to lower his ERA to 2.70 in 10 relief appearances.
Joe Gunkel (4-1) gave up four runs -- three earned -- on six hits and two walks while striking out four over seven innings to notch the win for New Orleans.
Salt Lake's Alex Klonowski (1-6) was charged with six runs on 10 hits in six frames, fanning four.
Michael Avallone is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MavalloneMiLB.