Next on list of prospects is a player that the New York Yankees drafted third in last year’s draft. That player would be the raw Canadian standout, Jacob Sanford. Sanford grew up in Canada where he didn’t get much of an opportunity to play baseball. The only time he got to play baseball was in the summer then the focused shifted to hockey and volleyball. Sanford had no scholarship offers after high school but went to a Nebraska Junior College as a walk on because he fell in love with baseball. After one semester he earned a full scholarship, and then he went on to Western Kentucky for college. Sanford has tools that you just cannot teach which makes him such an intriguing prospect. He’s very young in baseball years which will show that it’s going to take some time for him to really get comfortable playing baseball professionally. However, with his raw tools and work ethic, Sanford has the makeup to be one of the better prospects in the entire system.
After getting drafted last year, Sanford spent his first professional season with the Staten Island Yankees. In his 60 games, Sanford did show off some of his raw tools, but he also showed some areas where he’s still very green. When looking at Sanford’s first year, it will be important to not fall in love with his numbers. Sanford’s numbers were not terribly impressive hitting .238 with an OBP of .289. He hit 7 homers and drove home 27 runs and only stole 3 bags during his time with Staten Island. With a prospect like Sanford, it’s more important to use the eye test versus looking just at the numbers. Sanford has really good bat speed and generates a great amount of power. There is some immaturity in his approach but to me it’s from a lack of reps. I think once he becomes more comfortable, his raw tools will translate to better numbers. Sanford also has plus speed, but he really didn’t flash it much only stealing a few bags. Again, I’ll chalk this up to game experience. I think as Sanford becomes more sure of himself, the better he’s going to look as a ball player.
Sharpening the Tools
There are plenty of things to work on for Jacob Sanford. The raw talent is incredible, but he’s just a very raw prospect with virtually no polish at this stage. He’s got great power and great bat speed, but struggles to layoff bad pitches and struggles with making consistent contact. His speed is fantastic, but he hasn’t shown the ability to use it yet as a weapon. He doesn’t have great arm strength so his future is probably best suited for left field. The main thing I think Sanford needs to work on is just himself as a baseball player. When you get in the professional ranks, raw talent can only take you so far. He needs to hone his skills and really show off why so many people believe in him. I think in the coming years you’re going to see a guy get more comfortable on the field and really start to turn some heads. He’s too good of an athlete and he’s got way too good of a work ethic to be nothing short of a top 20 Yankees prospect in the end. I really like Jacob Sanford, he just really needs a lot more polish at this stage in his young career.