The kid on the mound stood 6' tall, maybe a tick under. He had signed a couple of years earlier out of the Dominican Republic, and right away it was obvious he had a strong right arm.

Comparisons were made to Pedro Martinez. That was no surprise, because there are always Pedro Martinez comparisons for right-handed pitchers out of the Dominican Republic, especially the ones a tad shorter and slimmer than normal by major league standards.

But for one National League scout who showed up to watch Sixto Sanchez last summer at a Class A ballpark down by the Jersey shore, there was no need to imagine if this was what Pedro Martinez looked like at the same age. The scout had seen the young Pedro, well before he was winning Cy Youngs in Montreal and Boston and making All-Star teams and eventually riding an 18-year big league career right into Cooperstown and the Hall of Fame.

He'd seen Pedro as a thin kid pitching in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, and now he was watching Sanchez and having flashbacks.

"It was like he was a clone," the scout said a few months later. "Physically, he looks like him. He has the same style of pitching, the same delivery. And for a young guy, I loved his poise and presence. For me, he is Pedro Martinez."

Or as close as you're going to get at age 18, anyway.

Sanchez will turn 20 in July. He could be in Double-A by then, on a fast track to the big leagues and perhaps even to stardom. He could be a guy for whom one name is sufficient, where you just say "Sixto" and everyone knows it's him, just as you say "Pedro" and everyone knows which one you mean.