ARLINGTON -- Catcher Tony Sanchez and outfielder Gorkys Hernandez were selected on Tuesday to represent the Pirates at the All-Star Futures Game, which will be played at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Sunday, July 11.
Sanchez was one of two catchers selected for the U.S. squad, while Venezuelan native Hernandez will play for the World team.
Sanchez, the Pirates' first-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, has spent the season with high Class A Bradenton. He has hit .314, with 17 doubles, four homers and 35 RBIs in 58 games with the Marauders. Though he didn't participate in the contest, Sanchez was selected for the Florida State League All-Star Game earlier this month.
"Offensively, he's done everything we could ask for," general manager Neal Huntington said.
Right now, Sanchez's game-calling proficiency and development of consistent mechanics in throwing out baserunners are the primary reasons keeping the 22-year-old from making the jump to Double-A. Once Sanchez meets those two developmental goals, many see the Boston College product making a quick climb through the Minor League system.
"We're very excited about where he is developmentally," Huntington said. "I always hate the question: 'When is he going to the next level?' It's unanswerable. A player will dictate to us when he's ready to go to the next level. Assuming everything goes as expected, we would like to see him finish the year in Altoona."
Hernandez, whom the Pirates acquired from the Braves for outfielder Nate McLouth, is with Double-A Altoona for the second straight season. The outfielder has hit just .250 through the first 63 games. He has swiped 12 bases, driven in 19 and connected for 11 extra-base hits.
To be fair, Hernandez's numbers have improved as the season has progressed. After batting .192 in April, he has hit .318 in 17 games this month.
"Gorkys has been more consistent the last month with his approach and that has led to more consistent results," said Kyle Stark, the Pirates' director of player development. "Early on, he worked through a couple mechanical adjustments and tried making them work for him. He has found a good balance with that recently. Also, he dealt with some off-field pressures early, but has shown maturity in separating personal and professional since."
The 12th annual Futures Game can be seen live on MLB.TV, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD and followed live on MLB.com's Gameday. In addition, XM Radio will broadcast play-by-play coverage of the event live on XM 175. MLB.com will also provide complete coverage before, during and after the game.
Last year, the Pirates were represented by third baseman Pedro Alvarez and right-hander Brad Lincoln in the Futures Game. Both Lincoln and Alvarez are now with the big league club.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.