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Phoenix Sanders Scouting Report

Right-Handed Pitcher
5’10” · 184 lbs. · R/R
DOB: June 5, 1995
Tampa Bay Rays

Tool (PV/FV)
Notes & Comments
Four-Seam Fastball (45/50)
Decent offering with some life behind it, though with a considerable lack of power and velo. Good life when he commands it down in the zone; arm-side run at times that’ll tie up RHH. A little tendency to overthrow the fastball, at least in my spring look here. Tampa Bay Rays official raved to me about the potential for his fastball life and projection “even if it were just around 92 or 93.” Tendency to go to fastball to start and get ahead; then slider when ahead, fastball when behind. Velocity: 88-91.

Two-Seam Fastball (45/50)
Significantly more life on the two-seamer than the four-seamer; good, late, tight run with some sink to arm-side. Spots it pretty well, particularly to arm side, but can extend out and dot it on glove-side, even with some back door action, on occasion. Easy out of his hand; not a ton of velo on the gun, but plays up some from late life. Can be tough for RHH to square up when down; LHH can get on it a little better with a good approach to center/left-center. Velocity: 86-89.

Changeup (30/40)
Changeup is the least developed offering based on my look; firm, without as much consistent tumble downward; probably could use slightly more speed differential, but arm speed/arm action are good. Really only uses it against LHH on occasion to keep them honest against two-seamers running to arm-side. Even then, he didn’t use it a ton in multi-inning look here; predominantly a fastball-slider guy right now with significantly less comfort with the changeup. Velocity: 82-83.

Slider (40/50)
Has two different breaking ball looks; one is bigger and slower from 75-77, on an 11-to-5 plane, and the other is sharper, and breaks harder and significantly later at 78-80, though still on a similar 11-to-5 plane. Looks like he’s spiking/knuckling the pitch in his hand at times, particularly the slower one; arguably could probably make the distinction that it’s a knuckle curve rather than a slider, but for me, it still has a power feel and slider break, even in lower velo band, as opposed to a true, over-the-top knuckle curve. Will go to the slider quite a bit against RHH; pitch looks really good when when he throws the harder (non-knuckle) one; slower one can float. Will miss bats with depth late to the plate when he gets ahead and goes for wipeout. Tendency to go to the slider quite a bit when ahead; no question it’s his strikeout/wipeout pitch. Velocity: 75-80.

Command (45/50)
Decent feel for the strike zone in my look; repeatable mechanics and delivery create consistent release point which in turn creates consistent ability to pound the zone. May actually be in the zone too much, or at least catch too much of the plate and not enough of the corners without nuance; hittable, with control ahead of command and desire to challenge hitters. Once he gets ahead he’ll nibble corners and work off the plate with the slider as a wipeout look, but until then, hitters will get at least one or two hittable pitches to square up in the zone.

Easy, smooth, repeatable mechanics. Works from the first base side of the rubber; conventional to balance point and lands on line to the plate with toe pointed to target. Lands with a stiff front leg and sometimes pitches against his momentum coming through it off his upper half; tendency to follow through high and occasionally fall off to first base side. Short arm action in the back that hides the ball fairly well; three-quarters release point with good arm speed and generally consistent arm action across his repertoire. Repeatable delivery without a max effort feel; could work well in rotation role, though I think he’s ultimately destined for the bullpen.

A bit undersized at 5’10” and 184 lbs.; will inevitably face durability questions because of it. Older prospect now without much physical projection remaining. The Tampa Bay Rays selected him in the 2017 MLB Draft out of the University of South Florida; working with Double-A spring group in my look here, so may be ticketed for the High-A Florida State League to begin 2018. That’s probably the right station at his age; he’ll need to move fairly consistently towards Tampa Bay to reasonably have a chance to make an impact.

OFP (45 FV)
Started a handful of games in his rookie summer and may fill out a swingman-type role or even a rotation gig in the minors across the next few years, but I think his ultimate future in the big leagues will come as a reliever. A sinker/slider guy with some feel for both pitches but not much else, and without much velocity, it’s likely Phoenix Sanders will work in middle relief/short set-up at absolute ceiling, with a more likely future in long relief ahead; realistic floor as an up-and-down emergency depth arm who will fill out some innings as necessary. Polished strike-thrower with maturity and poise; relatively low risk to that end, but low ceiling without much upside and no real physical projection. Sinker/slider combo will play in long relief role, and he’s effective when consistently working ahead in the count, but there’s not a ton of margin for error in his repertoire and low-leverage work is ideal. MLB ETA: 2020.

Phoenix Sanders Scouting Report, Tampa Bay Rays — Game Video

In addition to our Phoenix Sanders scouting report, we have game video below. You can get more Tampa Bay Rays baseball prospect videos when you click here and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

More from our Phoenix Sanders scouting report and other Tampa Bay Rays prospects:

Spencer Jones, RHP | Roel Ramirez, RHP | Kevin Padlo, 3B | Genesis Cabrera, LHP | Kyle Bird, LHP | Justin Williams, OF | Cade Gotta, OF

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Bobby DeMuro

Bobby DeMuro is the founder of Baseball Census, the author of We Is Blaze, (obviously) a fan of minor league baseball, and an unlikely expert on the animated classic TV show King Of The Hill. For more on Bobby and the personal, human side of this site, follow him on Twitter and Facebook: @BobbyDeMuro.

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