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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:

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!

Comments (131)

  1. I’m not sure if clubs showcase players anymore, but it couldn’t hurt his trade value if he blows ‘em away in AAA.

    • This is what I’m thinking – he’s being shown as a trade piece.

    • I’d argue that offenses are probably stronger in AA than AAA sometime, aside from 30-something career minor leaguers that make other career minor leaguers look awful. International League offense is no different. Not many strong hitters in the league right now.

      If Sanchez shoves it in the IL, his stock will rise. It’s getting pretty obvious that if anyone departs the team in July, it’s Sanchez.

  2. While it would be great to acquire a front-line starter, this season would be even more magical if the Jays could ride along on strong performances by Stroman/Sanchez.

  3. Good news, still a lot of work to be done though. Not a fan of the walks, I don’t know how much all that stuff about his pitching delivery plays into that.

    Not sure about him as a starter this year, maybe here and there when rosters expand depending on AAA performance. Could see him in the bullpen perhaps, depends on innings and how much they want to stretch him out this year I suppose.

  4. Meh, he has had control problems, but other than that he’s been pretty good. He still allows very few hits, gets ground balls, few HR allowed, and apparently his stuff is electric.

    There could be many reasons to send him to AAA, not every prospect ‘masters’ a level before getting sent up. Maybe they want to showcase him as said before, maybe they want him learning from that coaching staff, being around more MLB-calibre guys. There is more to prospect development than having great stats at each level.

  5. Teams know what he is. What is a “showcase” supposed to accomplish, exactly? Doesn’t make sense, folks.

  6. I imagine Norris and Cole are going to be sent to AA really soon as their half-season is over right away. Sending up Sanchez makes room for them in New Hampshire. Obviously this isn’t the only reason to send Sanchez up, but it probably has something to do with it.

    • The Fisher Cats are giving starts to Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Scott Copeland, Casey Lawrence, and PJ Walters. You don’t exactly have to go out of your way to clear room for Norris if you deem he’s ready for a promotion. Sanchez has nothing to do with the prospects coming up behind him.

    • I expected those call-ups to happen before Sanchez based on the unbelievable results they’ve both had this year, so it has to be close now. They’re the only two qualified pitchers at any league at any level this year with a FIP under 2.00 (Cole at 1.99 and Norris at a ridiculous 1.64). I thought Cole would get the call earlier since he’s old for his level anyway, but hopefully they both move up soon.

      • A commenter on Bluebird Banter noted that Dunedin’s magic number is 2 and the league All Star Game is in a few days and Cole and Norris are both going. It makes sense to keep them with Dunedin until they clinch and then reward them with the ASG before promoting them.

    • I can’t imagine it having anything to do with anything. If they didn’t think Sanchez was ready and deserved to be in AAA (or needed the challenge), but also thought that Norris (and maybe Cole) needed to move up a level, they could have figured something out.

  7. Maybe AA is making good on the promise he made to Buffalo when they reached their agreement a couple of years ago (fielding a competitive team). The blue jays have called up a lot of Bisons, and Sanchez is sure to boost attendance there.

    • I wouldn’t completely rule that out as a consideration, but I can’t imagine the Jays promoting a prospect like Sanchez for any reason other than that they think he’s ready for it.

    • I think that has to do more with signing the minor league veterans for Buffalo. They’re not gonna dick around with prospects just to make Buffalo happy.

    • You’re sure he’s sure to boost attendance? I don’t know about that.

    • If I was in Buffalo (never been, never will) and Sanchez was pitching, I’d go (Shawn Hill, not so much)

  8. It doesn’t really matter what Sanchez’s competition is, the stuff will get anyone out. Getting him to repeat his delivery and throw strikes is all that matters, not adjusting to incrementally-better hitters. Maybe they think the AAA coaching staff is better equipped to work with him.

    • @ Robbie
      Agree on the stuff concept. One evaluator as late as last month said his curveball could get batters out at the highest level.
      It doesn’t sound as though he’s gone back to his long stride. BP had an article on him approx a year ago saying his coaches got him to switch to a shorter stride for better control. It prompted KLaw to go a little nuts but judging from his last 2 outings hopefully it may be working.

  9. I will always roll my eyes when Wilner retweets Shi’s reports and says “great scoop.”

    • I couldn’t imagine caring less

    • Totally. It’s like guys who comment “first” on blogs. This weird remnant of the old media days – when getting a scoop meant that your newspaper had it today and the others wouldn’t have it until tomorrow is completely irrelevant in a world where five guys tweet something within 8 seconds of each other.

      • This wasn’t an announced move at the time the story broke, so it’s not quite like that at all.

  10. This makes sense from the moves made yesterday – releasing Rowland-Smith, and trading Shawn Hill – making room on the Bisons for something? This was it.
    No showcase here – this is rest of the season in AAA – Sept call-up if he goes CRAZY, but then by this time next year he’s got a year in AAA, and hopefully ready for the bigs – avoid Super Two (although I don’t think that’s a thing either though).

  11. how about seeing if he is ready for next steps .. pushing him a bit more vs better and more experienced hitters and getting him ready to take JA’s tenuous spot in the rotation ..

    I would rather a near ready Sanchez in there then a low upside huge downside Happ .. I think the Jays would too!

  12. I suppose there is also a chance that this callup could coincide with Sanchez being given more free reign to just try and get guys out rather than working on a certain pitch or location (which I don’t know for sure is happening).

    Who knows, perhaps in crazy optimism land, we might see the walkrate come down and the K rate up as a result.

    It’s starting to seem more and more like Sanchez will never have the command to be a front end starter, but if he can just achieve enough control to keep his great stuff in the zone, he should be a very serviceable piece.

  13. #freesanchez

    too soon?

    the jays have one day off in the next month, why not give the kid a cup of coffee (not sure how that would his status?) at least bring up hendricks for a spot start, hutch could use an extra day off… gotta save those arms for september beaches!

    • Then you’re dealing with a 40 man spot and starting service time. That won’t happen for awhile.

      • Service clock is pretty irrelevant if it’s a spot start. Adding him to the 40-man doesn’t seem to be an issue.

  14. Don’t suppose he’s a budget friendly call up in a month or so rather than getting a front of the line starter. The Michael Wacka sequel wouldn’t surprise me.

  15. its crazy to say but im not completely unsatisfied with the back end of the current rotation (Happ and Stroman)… fuck could you imagine if Morrow was having a beast year?

    now the bottom of the lineup however… how long are the Jays going to keep trotting out Tollesons and Goses and Pillars… I guess Colby will shore things up a bit whenever gets back in the gd lineup!

    • Happ is fine for a #5, everyone seems to hate him but he’s shown what he is, a guy who will give you an okay chance (3-4 runs through 6-7) most nights, and occasionally be garbage thats pretty much what a 5th starter is 5ish era…

      Stroman’s seemed like an acceptable #4 so far, but young guys can be unpredictable and we’re lacking depth

      With just okay pitching this offence is capable of carrying us to the playoffs, but we’ll need some kind of upgrade, ideally someone who slots in ahead of hutch and pushes everyone down if we want to be real contenders and not just a dark horse and even if we really want to lock down this division

  16. Hrmm… I wouldn’t promote him until he gets the walks under control and demonstrates that on a consistent basis. Great stuff is great… but doesn’t mean anything if he can’t consistently throw it for strikes.

    • “…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…”

      SSS sure, but a) it’s a promotion to AAA, not the hall of fame and b) who knows, what with positive reinforcement and all, it could just turn him into what they thought he was.

  17. maybe he’ll come up and own the eigth inning, until he gets an emergency spot start and never gives the job up
    buerhle, stroman dickey sanchez hutch

  18. I’d be shocked if he reached the majors before 2015

  19. “HOT TAKE FORTHCOMING! (In the meantime, discuss among yourselves…)”

    Read: Please give me material to shit on for this post.

  20. Am I being stupidly optimistic if I hope that if Stroman does better than average, and Morrow comes back, the Jays won’t need to trade for a starter at the deadline?

    I know hoping for Morrow to “find it” and “stay healthy” might be a reach, but…

    • Not sure why anyone would think Stroman won’t be totally fine. Morrow, though, yeah… that’s grasping.

      I think they need to add a starter. That’s different than saying that they necessarily need to add a front line one, though. Not that I think they have much chance of doing so anyway.

      • I’m really high on Stroman, but it’s his first stint in the big leagues. He’s got nasty stuff, but there are a lot of guys with great stuff who didn’t succeed at the major league level. I’m hopeful bordering on giddy, but it really is too soon to tell what Stroman’s going to be.

      • I think that’s chad Jenkins music I hear. Or maybe it’s liam Hendricks, they sould pretty close.

        and don’t look now, but guess whose be decent in his last 3 starts for the bisons, the ist round bust of 2010, Deck Mcguire

    • It’s really all about stro and hutch.

      Buehrle and dickey are solid mid rotation inning eaters. Happ is a serviceable #5.

      If stro and hutch can keep up near what they’ve been doing then that’s four good starters and an average #5, which is actually a pretty good rotation. And that’s not being overoptimistic.

      People might not realize that the jays starters have been top 5 in era most of the year, with a 3.75era about 5.8ip/gs…..but that’s brought way down by morrow and mcgowan. Without those two, their era is around 3.40 in about 6.1ip/gs, which is second only to oakland’s (fluky) staff. And that’s not supported by great peripherals but dickey and buehrle have built careers on consistently beating their peripherals.

      All that being said….adding a legit ACE to the staff would be nice.

      • I’m not sure how you can throw Oakland under the bus as being a ‘fluke’ when it’s very possible the Jays’ rotation is being held together by good luck at this point. I’m firmly of the opinion that the Jays need another legit quality MLB starter — they can’t get by if the league catches up to Hutch/Stroman, or if Hutchison’s problems about pitching on regular rest or at Rogers Centre continue to be a problem.

        I’m weirdly not as concerned about Happ as I am with Stro/Hutch since at least we know what we’re getting in Happ. He’ll put up decent #5 starter numbers the rest of the way, barring another freak injury. Stro/Hutch are wild cards and could just as easily go south down the stretch.

        • @Yancey

          Two words: jesse chavez

          The jays don’t have a career minor leaguer giving them top of the rotation performance.

          For that matter, they don’t have a reclamation project like kazmir throwing like an ace, either.

          Sure, jays are performint towards their better case projectiins but not really all that much. buehrle is overachieving, but morrow imploded and dickey is slghtly underachieving, while happ is just being happ, so it mostly balances out.

          Hutch and Stro are two very talented kids with elite milb track records. They may not keep it up but i don’t think them being good is a fluke.

          Overall our current 5 is two proven vet mid rotation innings eaters, one solid #5 guy, and two mlb ready kids with top of the rotation potential. They also have another proven mid rotation guy on the dl. They could easily start performing worse but it’s hard to see much flukiness overall, especially compared to one jesse chavez.

          • two words for you: liam Hendricks

            Why isn’t it possible that liam Hendricks could pull a jesse chavez, for at least as long as chavez has done it these last 3 months

  21. Maybe the AAA pitching coach is better than the AA one and they hope he can help him command his stuff better, or correct flaws in Sanchez’s mechanics.

  22. Sanchez is young and learning.
    He will spend the year in Buffalo and learn what he can from Hebner.

  23. Reading that Kyle Matte guest post, it is kind of easy to see why Sanchez would be having trouble locating his pitches

    Fastball: 8.4, -8.7, 95.5 mph
    Curve: -5.3, 6.6, 80.5 mph
    Change: 4.4, -11.0, 88.3 mph


  24. Rasmus to the Dodgers for prospect. sanchez, goins, and dodger prospect for lee and utley. Tolleson at 2b is not going to cut it.

    • you can probably get cliff lee for anything if you take on that contract.

      but what makes you think we can take on that contract?

    • Right. Rasmus will surely be snapped up for a prospect by a team that has Crawfrod, Puig, Kemp, and Ethier in the outfield. It makes so much sense!

    • What the hell do the Dodgers need another outfielder for? They already have guys they can’t find playing time for. Matt Kemp is riding pine half the time.

    • didnt you learn anything from Stoeten’s criticism of these video game trades?

  25. His numbers don’t look anything like a top prospect’s right now…

    5.5 BB/9, 7.8 SO/9 1.39 WHIP…

  26. Since when is Drew the authority on minor league pitching promotions?


  27. As long as Sanchez doesn’t see the big leagues this season I’m happy

  28. I’m just disappointed that Rogers doesn’t own the Buffalo Bisons. Totally messed with my flow.

  29. Pretty questionable move. I’ll trust the jays for now but this could backfire for all the reasons listed already.

    If he can pick up in AAA where he left off in AA, though, then any damage he may have done to his rep this year is wiped out in a month, so that would be good.

    Has anyone heard anything about them forcing sanchez to use certain developmental pitches to start this year? Or is that just wishful thinking?

    • i dont see this as a showcase move, i see it as a “lets let our top-pitching prospect develop and maybe get a sept call up” kinda move, but hey, im not AA

  30. Is it possible that rather than showcasing, part of the reason for this moves is it gives them a little bit of leverage when negotiating for other starters? Now they’ve got no we’re not giving you that, we’ll just bring up our legitimate AAA starter in their back pocket.

  31. When (if?) Morrow comes back the interesting question is who gets demoted to make room. My personal choice would be Stroman. Keep Stroman’s arm fresh for the stretch run and prevent Happ from getting butt hurt.

    Little worried about Hutch’s durability too.

    • On Hutch, yes, perhaps a 15 day trip to the DL in July would be a nice little rehab/reconditioning stint for him..

      • if you shut down you have to build back up. You have a guy not throwing for 15 days and that probably means he misses over a month, maybe more.

    • Keep his arm fresh? You know he’d be pitching down there as much as he would be for the Jays, right? How would that keep him fresh more than actually being here?

      • dont think he’d be tossing 100+ major league innings 2-3 times on the DL

      • It’s pretty commonly accepted that minor league starts are less taxing than major league starts. It’s easier to put a pitch/innings limit on a starter because you don’t have to worry about winning or losing as much.

        On Hutch, I think you might even want to think about running a six man rotation a few times when you can’t give him the extra day. I’m too lazy to pull the data to justify this, but I remember his splits and velocity are starkly worse when he’s pitching on regular rest.

        Some of that is definitely just coming back from injury, but he’s also not a guy who’s ever had a heavy load before. Hard to think he’s the same age (more or less) as Stroman.


    Sanchez has seen his strikeout rate drop a tick and the walk rate remains troublesome, however, another Blue Jays farmhand at age 21 posted a 71:53 strikeout to walk rate in 116.1 minor league innings (at AAA mind you), good for 5.5 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9. That was Roy Halladay, and would up being able to strikeout guys just fine with pinpoint control.

    Just thought I would add that name to the Morrow/Samardzija comps when talking about walk rates.

    • …And then he completely broke down at age 23, went all the way back to A-ball at age 24 and re-built everything from the ground up before becoming the cyborg we came to know and love. Not sure the comp works in this case…But whatever floats your boat. ;)

    • The guys at bbox brought up an interesting Guzman comp, minus the jheri curls.

      • He’s only 21. Still way to early in his development to completely dismiss that. If he can get some time in with a major league stylist to develop a proper perm maybe we’ll see some jheri curls.

  33. If he were being “showcased” they would have left in AA mowing down hitters.

    I like the idea of promoting him, I think it was Ben Badler talking about how long top prospect pitchers were being held in the minors. A lot of these guys were wasting innings and eventually needed Tommy John.

    He was saying that if the top prospects showed any form of domination to promote them quickly and get the best years of the young arms before the eventual surgery.

    Not sure Sanchez applies directly because he has had his struggles but it did make some sense to me.

    • Makes sense. I think the reason they’re looking for a rental SP as we speak (so the rumour goes) is to give the team a legitimate shot at post season without trading the farm away*. The Buffalo move could be seen as an attempt to see exactly how far away (or close) he is.

      * Or, we could all be wrong and it could all be a big ruse to get the Cubs to lower the price on Samardzija.

      • It must just be the most frustrating thing to be a minor league manager.
        season is lookin good, gettin ready for that stretch run aaaaand say goodbye to your best players

  34. I’ve always found the teams player promotion policies a bit odd. Is this based on merit? Beacuse norris has been just as dominant if not more over a greater number of starts yet he is still toliling away at A ball. Sanchez has 2 good starts and up he goes! Cant just be on merit. Something fishy here.

    • fishy like a big trade? ya, i always thought AA was the place to develop pitching, or so we have been told, honestly i have no fuckin idea

    • Nothing fishy. Showcases aren’t a thing.

    • Maybe Sanchez has recently started repeating his delivery the way they want him to, so they’re going to see how he responds against more advanced hitters. Maybe Norris has been dominating low-level hitters with two pitches and they’re not comfortable moving him to Double-A until his third pitch comes around. Maybe, as someone else suggested above, they’re letting Norris represent Dunedin at the All-Star game in two days before a second-half promotion.

      There are a ton of reasons the team could be making these decisions beyond it being “something fishy.”

      • Actually, it probably has to do with eligibilty. If I read the rules correctly, Norris was selected one year after Sanchez (2011) and thus has one more year of Milb before he must be placed on the 40 man. If either of them get to their 5 year max without being placed on the 40 man then they are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft.

        • Why would that be any kind of incentive to leave Norris at Dunedin rather than calling him up to New Hampshire?

  35. Not that anything is big deal but I need a fucking spreadsheet to figure out all these roster moves with players I don’t know much about.

    Sanchez to Buf.
    Matt Tuiasosopo traded to White Sox for cash
    Infante and Wilson shipped from Bisons to Fishercats
    Melky Mesa from Fishercats to Bisons
    Roland-Smith released

    • And Colby starts rehab in Buffalo

    • I’m interested in the Melky Mesa move. Lately they’ve been very active in the outfielder market. As a CF, it could mean that they don’t think Rasmus will be around much longer, in which case they may try to deal him..

  36. I honestly think this is about seeing what they have with Sanchez against the best minor league bats there are at this moment. They are going to have to make a big decision very soon in terms of trading for a rental and seeing Sanchez right now against AAAA and AAA hitters is going to give them the most reliable information about what he is RIGHT NOW. This isn’t about showcasing for a trade – its about getting a temperature check. Sanchez might not be involved in a deal, but if he isn’t its likely that the Jays will be calling his number sooner rather than later. And although the Jays have called guys up from AA before, it was when they were dealing with the PCL.

    If anything I think this is about seeing whether Sanchez can help this team later on in the season – and making an informed decision about the trade that will no doubt be coming in July to address the rotation. If the Jays can maintain a lead going into the late-summer its going to be about loading the team with the best arms available – options be damned – and the Jays will need to have a bunch of contingency plans sorted out before they make a deal which could have an unpredictable effect (at this point) on roster construction.

  37. I would be curious to see what it would take to pick up Eric Bedard. Not a front of rotation guy but he is having a good season, isn’t signed for next year(I think) and if he worked out mihjt be a guy to sign for a year or two. I don’t think Tampa would want our first born.

    • I’ve got a partially used can of chicken soup next to me.

      This is more than what any team should pay to acquire Bedard in trade.

  38. Will set the kid up for big fall. Probably better for him, but he’ll struggle. Maybe Jays see him come up for a game or two in Sept, but who knows?

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