The Toronto Blue Jays are expected to promote top pitching prospect Aaron Sanchez to the major league roster today. Here's a report on what to expect.
Sanchez was drafted by the Blue Jays in the supplemental first round in 2010, from high school in Barstow, California. Very athletic but raw when drafted, he spent two years in rookie ball before emerging in the Low-A Midwest League in 2012, posting a 2.49 ERA with a 97/51 K/BB in 90 innings for Lansing. He moved up to High-A Dunedin in 2013, posting a 3.34 ERA with a 75/40 K/BB in 86 innings.
The Jays have bumped up his workload this year: he pitched 66 innings over 14 starts for Double-A New Hampshire, posting a 3.82 ERA with a 57/40 K/BB. Promoted to Triple-A Buffalo in June, he has a 4.19 ERA in 34 innings with a 27/17 K/BB.
As you can see from his numbers, Sanchez does not post particularly impressive component ratios. His strikeout rate is nothing special and he will give up some walks. However, he is one of the most extreme ground ball pitchers in the minor leagues, posting a 3.13 GO/AO ratio this year and a 2.34 GO/AO in 2013. His fastball has been clocked as high as 98 MPH, works consistently at 94-95, and has vicious sinking action. He will mix in a curveball and changeup, Both secondary pitches are inconsistent, varying between plus and below average depending on what day you see him.
Born July 1, 1992, Sanchez is well-built at 6-4, 200. Although the Blue Jays have been careful with him, he does have a history of shoulder tenderness. He's been healthy this year, although they've backed off his workload recently and his last two outings for Buffalo were in the bullpen.
Sanchez has the ceiling of a number two starter, although in order to reach that projection he needs to add polish to the secondary pitches and refine his command. He wasn't lights-out at Buffalo and I wouldn't expect any game-changing contributions right away, but he remains a very intriguing long-term investment due to that killer sinker.
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