Over the last few years, we have seen a prospect in the Astros system breakout and put their names on the top prospects lists. This is the benefit of building such a deep system. The Astros may have another one this year in lefty pitching prospect Patrick Sandoval.
Sandoval was born in Mission Veija, California where he played baseball for Mission Viejo High School. Sandoval had a strong commitment to USC but the Astros still selected him in the 11th round of the 2015 draft. They were able to sign him shortly after. Scouting director, Mike Elias, had this to say:
”Patrick is a premium high school lefty whom our staff followed all spring,” said Elias. “He has good size, a lively fastball that he locates well, and a solid curveball and changeup in place. We like the blend of pitchability, stuff and projection he offers, and to add a talent of his caliber is a big boost to our organization and our draft class.”
Sandoval played in rookie ball his first two years in the system before making his full season debut last year for Quad Cities. There he had a 3.83 ERA with 48 K in 40 IP. This year Sandoval is back in Quad Cities and putting together a very good season (despite one bad outing). He has 6 BB/36 K in 31.0 IP with a 3.18 FIP.
Since his one rough outing, he has the following line:
0.90 ERA, 20.0 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 27 K
Patrick was able to take some time and answer some questions. Let’s get to the interview!
Astros Future (AF): Can you describe the day were you drafted? How did you find out you were selected by the Astros?
Patrick Sandoval (PS): “So the day I got drafted I was actually at school. I was sitting right next to the door in my Economics class, my baseball coach’s classroom just happened to be next door. I’m pretty sure I was in the middle of taking my final exam in that class, and next thing I know the door is flung open and I hear my baseball coach scream, “Congrats big guy!! 11th round to the Astros!!!!” A bit embarrassing, but I appreciated the excitement. About two minutes later I got a call from my Area Scout at the time, Brad Budzinski and he formally let me know I had been drafted. Then I walked back into class to an applause from my classmates, it was a pretty cool day.”
AF: What led to your decision to sign with the Astros and not play college baseball?
PS: “My family, my agent, and I all sat down and my decision came down to my ultimate goal to be a big leaguer, and we all felt like the Astros offered the most in regards to developing players and getting them to the bigs. It was a very tough decision to make, I mean I had to turn down an opportunity to play at the school of my dreams (USC).”
AF: What baseball team did you grow up rooting for?
PS: “I grew up rooting for the Dodgers, but my favorite player of all time is Albert Pujols. I used to model my batting stance after him. It would be an absolute dream to toe the rubber against him.”
AF: Is there a certain pitcher you try to model yourself after?
PS: “Clayton Kershaw and Marcus Stroman are two pitchers I absolutely love watching compete and go after hitters with everything they got. That kind of mentality is something I try to take with me to the mound every time I’m given the ball.”
AF: Did you work on anything specific this last off-season?
PS: :Getting stronger and more durable was something I felt I really needed to do for my first full season. Along with that, I worked on refining my delivery and continued to develop all my pitches.”
AF: What are your goals for the 2018 season?
PS: “My goals for 2018 are to keep myself healthy and ready for whatever opportunities are given to me, I’d like to be able to go out and throw a complete game this year, and lastly I want to throw at least 100 innings.”
AF: Everyone know the Astros love analytics (spin rate, exit velocity, pitch tunneling). How have you been able to use this to help you on the mound?
PS: “The way the Astros use all this technology to develop players, in my opinion, is absolutely incredible. I don’t think I would be half the pitcher I am now without the help of our staff and the way they integrate the data into our development. I’ve seen it translate into games with softer contact and a lot more pitches missing barrels.”
AF: Can you describe your repertoire and what do you think is your best pitch?
PS: “I throw a 4-Seam Fastball (89-93) Change-up (low 80s) Curveball (low 70s) Slider (81-84). As of right now I think may best pitch to LHH would be my slider, although, it still needs some work. I would love to get the veto up on it just a tick. As for RHH, I think my most effective pitch would be my curveball. I am still working on being able to land it in the zone consistently.”
AF: Throughout your minor league career you have had good groundball rates and K rates. Do you see yourself as more of a strikeout pitcher or a pitch to contact kind of guy?
PS: “That’s a tough one, I don’t really think of myself as a pitcher in that way. I definitely don’t shy away from contact. I just want to go out there and compete with my best intent for all my pitches through the zone and trust that I have the stuff to get anyone that steps into the box out at anytime.”
AF: What is one thing Astros fans should know about you?
PS: “One thing that Astros fans should know about me is that I love to compete and I pitch with a lot of passion.”
AF: Thank you for your time and good luck the rest of the season!