Shi Davidi does great work these days, as he did back when he used to be with the Canadian Press, and I very much don’t care that I continue feeling the need to roll my eyes at it when the Rogers man gets a “scoop” on the Rogers-owned team, but I suppose that simply goes with the territory — even in an environment where the club tightly controls its message and may not even be as thrilled that this reached the public through non-official channels as we may suspect. Whatever the case, let’s just get the eye rolling over with and get to digging into what he posted this morning at the Rogers-owned Rogers Sportsnet, which is an excellently delicious scoop, telling us that top prospect of the Rogers-owned Blue Jays, Aaron Sanchez, is now a step closer to the majors, as he’s been promoted to the Buffalo Bisons.
The piece notes that part of the reasoning, perhaps, is the fact that Sanchez has looked better in his past two starts. This is very much true: Sanchez struck out a season high seven batters in each game, for a total of 14 strikeouts over 11.2 innings, and walked just three over that span — his one-walk outing on Sunday was a season low, and the two walks issued in his previous start matched his season low, and did for the first time since late April.
Still, though, its two games. Or, at least, that’s the painfully easy way that those inclined to rush to doomsaying about the Jays mishandling him would look at it. I think our old friend GROF has an excellent take on the other side of that, though:
Actually love the idea of moving Aaron Sanchez to AAA. Those quad A guys will make him work. Walk numbers could be scary at first.
— Drew Fairservice (@DrewGROF) June 12, 2014
Jays have a history of promoting guys to help integrate changes. Hopefully he takes to it and makes his next developmental step.
— Drew Fairservice (@DrewGROF) June 12, 2014
It absolutely will be an interesting new challenge for him, and maybe it does make sense that a guy who can induce weak contact and ground balls the way that Sanchez can should be forced to harness it even more tightly as he faces guys with much better ideas of what to do at the plate. Shit, it’s not like he necessarily has to master a level before moving up in the world.
There are many examples of guys whose command remained a work in progress even as they ascended to the big leagues. Two that jump immediately to mind are the man who Sanchez’s name has been most linked to in trade talk this year, Jeff Samardzija, and Aaron’s future teammate (and possible second-half rival for a rotation spot), Brandon Morrow.
In 2008, Samardzija posted a 4.98 BB/9 (and just a 5.21 K/9) at Double-A, but moved up nonetheless, even ending up in the majors before finding himself in Triple-A for the bulk of 2010. In that stint he walked 5.42 batters per nine, then walked 20 in 19.1 innings in a September call-up with Chicago, and yet never saw the minors again, blossoming two years later (after a walk-heavy season in the Cubs’ bullpen) with a three-win season in which he struck out more than a batter per nine and walked just 2.89 per.
And Morrow… well… let’s not take too deep a depressing stroll through his career numbers, but rest assured, walks were a big problem for him in the minors, and as he matured as a big leaguer became less so. Granted, some of that is down to the fact that he only pitched just over 100 innings as a minor leaguer in the Mariners’ organization — and just 16 before making his big league debut!
Good examples or not, obviously none of this means that Sanchez will follow that same kind of path to success, it simply speaks to the fact that, as much as we’ve harped and focused on the walks, it’s not necessarily outlandish that he’s being moved up at this point. Nor is it necessarily some sort of dubious, Ricciardian plan to throw fans a bone in the event that the club is unable to procure the kind of rotation help it badly needs over the course of the remaining weeks before the trade deadline — something, the most cynical among us would surely wonder, they perhaps are doing preemptively, knowing that the money and the prospects simply aren’t there. (It’s not, I might add, a “showcase.” Hint: it’s never a showcase.)
I don’t know… on the surface it all does seem a bit rushed, and maybe smacks of desperation a little more than we’d like to see. But that’s mostly only if we take the view that this has zero to do with legitimate development, and that’s a hard case to make. Whatever’s going on, I want Sanchez to succeed, I want him to do it sooner than later — as I’m sure the Jays would be thrilled to see, as well, as it would allow them to add his talent to their big league roster down the stretch and for many dirt cheap years to come, rather than trading it away in exchange for an expensive veteran they’ll only have for one or two – but ultimately I understand that we have accept that he needs to develop at his own pace. Like Drew says, things may not come so easy for him at first.
Even if they do, we have to accept that in our most ridiculously hopeful scenario, with just 109.2 innings pitched last season (including the Arizona Fall League), and already 66 on the books this year, the idea that Sanchez would be able to come in and offer the Jays rotation help down the stretch is still pretty seriously fucking fanciful. Saving enough innings to use him as a bullpen weapon in September and — dare I say it — October, with a view to transitioning him to the rotation full-time in 2015, though? And giving him the odd spot start before then to help ease the load on Stroman and Hutchison? Hmmm.
I can live with that.
And if some deal for a massive rotation upgrade comes along that the Jays can’t allow themselves to pass up, I can live with that, too. Now who’s up for a trip to Buffalo? Sanchez is pitching there now! Holy shit!