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Florida’s Sanchize

Josh Johnson and Hanley Ramirez are the common names that pop into one’s head when considering the Florida Marlins in terms of fantasy baseball potential. Ramirez was a first-round, and even Top 3, draft pick in most leagues, but has struggled mightily this season and surprisingly ranks around 300th currently. Johnson, on the other hand, was one of the most consistent aces this season and threw a quality start in eight of nine outings before being sidelined with a nagging shoulder injury in mid-May. Fortunately, the Marlins have two talented 27-year olds who have picked up the slack. Let us welcome to fantasy stardom Florida’s new dynamic duo, Anibal and Gaby Sanchez.

Florida’s Sanchez ‘twins’ did not generally break the Top 200 in most fantasy drafts. Anibal gained notoriety last season by earning 13 wins and an attractive 3.55 erned run average, but also suffered 12 losses with a satisfactory strikeout per nine inning rate. Although Anibal showcased his talents with several impressive gems over his career, he made very few “sleeper” lists. Fantasy owners that either decided to take a chance on Sanchez or simply ended up drafting him in late rounds have been rewarded generously. Anibal currently is 6-1 with a 3.06 earned run average and is striking out more than one batter per innings. He currently ranks around 20th among starters in most fantasy leagues, either ahead or very close to notable names including Felix Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw, Cliff Lee, Jon Lester, C.C. Sabathia and Tim Lincecum.

Fantasy owners have received “ace” value from a double-digit round draft pick. Should Anibal be held by his owners or placed on the trading block to maximize his value? Thus far, June has been relatively gloomy for the Marlins right-hander. He will be tested in his next start against Philadelphia, which may show owners whether he is truly a sleeper or simply on a nice run. Will it be make or break time for Anibal Sanchez?

There is another Sanchez in Florida placing smiles on fantasy owners’ faces this season. Gaby Sanchez was also drafted in double-digit rounds in many leagues as a fallback option well behind the likes of Adam Dunn, Justin Morneau, Ryan Howard, Kevin Youkilis and Carlos Pena. Gaby ranks among the top ten first basemen with 11 home runs and 42 runs batted in while batting .311. With four multi-hit games already this June, he continues to shine with elite first basemen numbers. Once again, fantasy owners are left with the question of keeping Gaby with hopes that they can ride his success all season, or sell high before his value dips?

Sanchez’s average took a significant drop in the second half of 2010; however, the rest of his offensive stats were relatively consistent. Some experts may use this number as a reason to sell high, but I am confident in his consistency this season. He has shown minimal variability in home versis road splits as well as right-handers versus left-handers. Gaby Sanchez is a rising star and capable of 25-plus home runs, more than 90 runs batted in, and an average hovering around .300.

Hopefully, your team contains at least one of the Sanchez sleepers. Even if they end up cooling down, owners have already received more value than they bargained for.

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