Sanchez Struggles in First Start

Most major league players don’t read too much into spring training games, but Aaron Sanchez would definitely take a mulligan if it was offered to him.  The hard-throwing righty gave up five runs in just one and a third innings of work.  Sanchez wasn’t on the hook for all of them though.  New third baseman Josh Donaldson made an error to extend the first inning.  Sanchez then served up a 3-run home run on his first pitch to Pedro Alvarez.

The score was 5-0 for Pittsburgh when Sanchez exited the game.  The Blue Jays closed the gap a little bit thanks to a 2-run blast from Kevin Pillar.  However, the Pirates would keep the lead, taking it by a final of 8-7.  Casey Sadler eventually ended up with the win.  Sanchez took the loss.

There are a lot of decisions to be made for the Blue Jays’ management and coaching staff in regards to their bullpen this season.  Sanchez appears to be the one that the most hinges on.  He was sensational as a closer at the end of the 2014 campaign and the team still needs to fill that void.  The 22-year-old put up a sizzling 1.09 ERA in 24 appearances as the closer, using the natural movement on his fastball to strike out 27 batters.

However, many believe Sanchez would be most beneficial to the team as a starter, pitching 180 innings, rather than coming out in relief for 70 innings.  In theory it’s solid.  But Sanchez’s success so far has been riding on his two pitches, while facing batters just once per game.  Only time will tell if he can develop his change-up enough to get through a batting order three or four times a game.  Once he does that, he’ll be the starter he and the Jays want him to be.  Sanchez has the ability to make the team’s decisions easy, and if he does they’ll let him use that natural delivery to throw all the innings he wants.


Rodney Hiemstra



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