Sanchez only made 14 career starts at the Double-A level before earning the promotion. This is a very interesting decision considering that the Blue Jays had previously taken care to bring him along slowly and he had spent the 2010-2013 seasons playing variations of Class A ball.
Also worth mentioning is the fact that Sanchez didn’t exactly dominate in those 14 starts with Double-A New Hampshire this year. While he posted a decent ERA of 3.82, he also walked 40 batters in 66 innings pitched. Although, the right-hander did pitch 6.1 innings of one-run ball and gave up just one walk during his last start.
Looking at all the question marks in the Blue Jays’ starting rotation this season, it’s easy to see how a developed Sanchez could help the big league team.
The 21-year-old features an electric fastball that he throws in the upper-90s with sink. He also throws a devastating power curveball that generates a ton of swing-and-misses. His changeup could become a plus offering in the future.
If Sanchez pitches well at Buffalo, he could find himself pitching in Toronto as soon as this season. As hard as that sounds to believe, keep in mind that the Blue Jays did something similar with their No. 2 prospect Marcus Stroman.
Stroman started the 2014 season at Buffalo and made just five starts there before earning his first call-up to the majors. He pitched out of the bullpen during his first stint, went back down briefly to rebuild his arm strength and then came back up for a second time to join the starting rotation.
It’s possible that Toronto might end up doing the same thing with Sanchez if a pitcher currently in the rotation now such as J.A. Happ falters.
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos has been under pressure lately to add a starting pitcher to the team. While players such as Chicago Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija have constantly been linked to Toronto, the asking price for quality pitchers remains high and could be something that Anthopoulos is unwilling to pay.
Promoting a top prospect from within like Sanchez could turn out to be a clever alternative that doesn’t cost the team anything and still provides a spark to the starting rotation.
*All stats are from baseball-reference.com