Seattle Mariners right handed pitching prospect Victor Sanchez has passed away at the age of 20, Jose Grasso of Finanzasdigital.com reports. Sanchez was involved in a boating accident while swimming on February 13 in his native Venezuela. He suffered a double skull fracture and was in “serious but stable” condition after the accident, but ultimately his health worsened.
Sanchez was signed as a 16-year-old out of Venezuela in 2011 and received a $2.5 million dollar bonus. He had a very successful career in the minors and reached AA last season as a 19-year-old, over five years below league average. He put up 4.19 ERA in 23 starts last season with Jackson and went 7-6 with 97 strikeouts. Sanchez was named the Mariners’ number seven prospect going into 2014. His minor league career was three seasons long where he made stops at Everett, Clinton, and Jackson. His career totals were 19-14 with a 3.43 ERA and 245 strikeouts in 58 starts, in which he went 323 innings.
Sanchez will be remembered for his all-too-short, but successful career that was looking towards the majors. He dominated the Northwest League as a 17-year-old and he threw a no-hitter on July 18, 2013 facing Lansing (Midwest League), and Baseball America once compared the 6-foot, 255-pound Sanchez to former NFL linebacker Ray Lewis in size and said that he had “pinpoint control.”
Sanchez is the second professional baseball player under contract to pass away in the last six months, with Oscar Taveras being the other. We send our condolences to Sanchez’s family and the Seattle Mariners organization during this tough time.
UPDATE (12:52AM): The Mariners have released a statement on Sanchez’s death:
“The Seattle Mariners are saddened to learn of the passing of Victor Sanchez,” said Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager Jack Zduriencik. “Victor was a tremendous young man and a wonderful teammate. He was a very talented player who was close to fulfilling his promise as a Major Leaguer. He will be missed by his teammates, and the coaches and staff at the Mariners.
“The entire Mariners organization sends our deepest condolences to his family during this difficult time.”