Aaron Sanchez Has Arrived With The Toronto Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays bullpen and team as a whole added an extremely valuable piece to the major league ball club the other day when top prospect, Aaron Sanchez was called up to pitch out of the bullpen. Sanchez made his major league debut tonight (June 23rd) and looked amazing. Let’s talk about the young stud for a bit!
To begin, Sanchez pitched a flawless two innings of relief, striking out two batters in his final inning of work, the eighth. Sanchez’s pitches looked filthy. His fastball was sitting at 97-99 MPH with what looks like an effortless delivery with a free and relaxed arm. The fastball has some movement and the free and easy delivery definitely adds some extra deception when it blows by you as a hitter. His breaking ball looked good with sharp, sweeping action going away from right handers. It’s clear, there will definitely be some work to do with the breaking ball and getting it over consistently for strikes but it looked like it has a ton of potential.
Sanchez does have some pretty incredible stuff. There is no doubt that he has the stuff to be able to establish himself nicely in the bullpen for the rest of the 2014 season, likely in some late inning work. Sanchez will be capped at about 130 innings this season (that includes AA and AAA innings already under his belt) which is a great move to begin to preserve his arm. Any guy who throws hard will be monitored and the Blue Jays have a concrete plan to ensure his arm is protected as good as possible.
It will be interesting to see what Sanchez will be able to do coming into a ball game when a guy like Drew Hutchison or Marcus Stroman throws. This is because Sanchez surely benefited from being the pitcher after R.A. Dickey. Sanchez’s fastball must have looked that much better after pitching after Dickey’s knuckle ball.
What Blue Jays fans will have to do is not be so quick to judge or throw Sanchez under a bus through his struggles. Sanchez has some kinks to iron out the major kink is the walks. The walks have been a problem for Sanchez for his entire career to this point. Sanchez has only posted a BB% of under 10% at one stop in his career, 2011 at rookie ball when he threw only 42.2 innings. His BB/9 has never been below 3.50 at any stop in his career. The walks will need to iron themselves out as he progresses as a major league arm.
The walks have created some inflated WHIP numbers over Sanchez’s career but his quality stuff has been able to help him post better surface numbers than he maybe should have. Sanchez’s FIP’s have generally been higher than his ERA, likely due to his ability to get himself out of jams combined with some defense behind him.
WHIP and walks are the main issue here with Sanchez. However, Sanchez is now in the majors and the competition brings out the best in some and perhaps it can do that with Sanchez. He looked exceptional tonight but let’s not jump ahead of ourselves. There will be some bumps long the road but Aaron Sanchez has arrived and Blue Jays fans should be excited for this kid’s future.