Archive for the ‘Aaron Sanchez’ Category

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In this guest post from Kyle Matte, we’re treated to some actual Pitch F/X data on Aaron Sanchez, whose arsenal of pitches, it turns out, looks as sparkly among the raw numbers as it does in our fantasies. Follow Kyle on Twitter at @KyleMatte.

The Blue Jays minor league system has been an area of much debate this winter – not so much to laud its merits, but as a calculation of ammunition should the organization be unable to improve the major league rotation with money and money alone. That’s the ideal outcome, of course; to sign a player like Ubaldo Jimenez or Ervin Santana, and augment the present without hindering the future. Plans B, C, and D are being formulated on Twitter, blogs, and in the various comments sections, however, with fans putting together packages of minor league prospects that they believe could entice a team such as the Rays or Indians to part with a pitcher like David Price or Justin Masterson. I’ve succumb to this line of thinking more than once, and given the near-ready status of Marcus Stroman, it has instead been right hander Aaron Sanchez at the front of my hypothetical.

That ends now. We’ve all read the glowing reports on Sanchez’ right arm, such as Jason Parks’ Baseball Prospectus Top 10 Blue Jays Prospect List, in which he ranked second with the statement “7 FB; 6+ potential CB; 6 potential CH” next to his name and picture. That sounds really awesome, and if you’ve seen the video of Sanchez from the Arizona Fall League, it looks really awesome, too. What those numbers necessarily mean can be difficult to grasp, particularly for those of us without a scout school education, as there are different variables and characteristics that go into each of those grades. Thankfully for us, three of Sanchez’ AFL appearances came in parks with the PitchFX system in place, and BrooksBaseball.net has published the data for a closer inspection.

Note: a small sample size alert is in full effect, as only 146 pitches (67 fastballs, 23 sinkers, 28 curveballs, and 28 changeups) were recorded.

In order to gain a better idea of what Sanchez’ 7 fastball, 6+ potential curveball, and 6 potential changeup look like – and in another sense, just how good they might be if he could ever learn to consistently harness and locate them, I utilized Sanchez’ PitchFX data, applied a 5% error to the horizontal and vertical movement measurements, and compared the values to customized pitching leaderboards from the 2013 season on FanGraphs. Which major league right hander does Sanchez’ fastball have the most in common with? Who else throws a curveball with a similar shape at this velocity? What about his changeup? I was able to find answers for all of these questions, and the outcomes were staggering.

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The Arizona Fall League wrapped up over the weekend, with the Surprise Sagueros beating the Mesa Solar Sox for the title, while Cubs prospect Kris Bryant took home the league’s MVP award. For Jays fans, however, the main attraction (with apologies to the ridiculously fun Marcus Stroman) was Aaron Sanchez, and after a somewhat rocky start– notably including some sharp criticism from Keith Law, who continued to stand by his mechanical concerns in his Thursday chat at ESPN.com– the club’s top prospect finished up on a very high note.

No, the box score of his final AFL outing wasn’t his most impressive, but… that actually probably speaks to how impressive he’s been over the course of the last five weeks. He worked five innings on Thursday, bringing his AFL total to over 23, and his full-year total to almost 110. Over those innings he gave up six hits, two walks, and struck out three. His final strikeout and walk totals were 21 and 11, for a K/BB of 1.91, which is exactly in line with the rates he put up in Dunedin this year and Lansing last season. On a positive note, however, four of those walks came in his first five AFL innings, in which he also struck out just two. After that point he put up 19 Ks over 18.1 innings with “just” seven walks– a K/BB of 2.71 in a sample I could generously call “ridiculously tiny,” but that also maybe gives us a little hope.

His success, though, goes beyond stats– which is probably a good thing, given what little value we’d want to place on AFL stats anyway, especially in such small samples, and especially without context. For example, a comment left on our last Sanchez post came from a reader who says that he was in the ballpark for Sanchez’s last Fall League start (everything [sic]‘d):

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OK, so it’s return-to-normalcy time here, at least until the Winter Meetings get started on December 9th– though I’m sure there will be all kinds of other fun stuff to happen between now and then. There should be at least a transaction or two, and the non-tender deadline will pass, which will allow us– and the rest of the baseball world– to ask the sorts of questions that APODionysus of Baseball Arcade did this morning, such as, is “J.P. Arencibia, Starting Catcher” scarier than Cthulhu? Zombies? Freddy Kruger?

The answers may surprise you!

Anywho… in the meantime, here’s something else to get your mind off of the mayor’s at-home culinary habits, which I suspect we’ve all thought a little too much about so far today: it’s Aaron Sanchez!

Scout Bernie Pleskoff has some very kind words for the Jays’ top prospect in a video from MLB.com– money quote: improved command since the start of the Fall League– while Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus– in response to a question from theScore’s own Jonah Birenbaum– makes a very nice suggestion about when we might actually be able to see the kid we’ve dreamed on for so long actually set foot on the mound at the centre of the Rogers Centre’s sea of shitty, rugged, concrete-and-felt turf.

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As regular readers will surely be able to tell, this post began as a Daily Duce. There was just so much Aaron Sanchez stuff to go around, though, that I figured it would be a waste to combine what was really two posts, and devote a little more attention to the club’s top prospect, who pitched again last night in the Arizona Fall League (with some additional nuggets– like some Jays-related tidbits from last week’s KLawchat– thrown in for good measure). Apologies to those who really wanted to read about Gold Glove nominations, Fielding Bible awards, and an extended agreement with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats…

Aaron Sanchez had another good night in the AFL last night, though he did create a bit of a jam for himself in the fourth inning, which included trouble with high-end prospects Addison Russell and Jorge Soler, who singled and walked respectively. But there’s not a whole lot to dislike in the box score, apart from the three walks in 4.1 innings: just the one hit, no runs, and four strikeouts. Marcus Stroman gave up just a single hit in his one inning of work, as well.

“We’re out here with the best of the best and that’s where I want to be. You have to be on your game or something can go south real quick. It’s fun good to be out here with good competition and that’s where I want to be,” explained Sanchez, according to an MiLB.com recap of the outing, which took his AFL numbers to a sparkling 1.35 ERA and sub-1.00 WHIP with ten strikeouts, and an ugly eight walks, in 13.1 innings.

A tweet from Eno Sarris of FanGraphs sends us towards the latest AFL Trackman, which shows us AFL leaders by various intriguing metrics, and includes the fact that Sanchez’s average fastball velocity is highest among starters in the league (though he hasn’t quite topped out the way some of the other prospects have), and that his slider rotation bodes very well for his ability to miss bats with it at the big league level.

Partly based on that kind of outstanding stuff, Sanchez– as well as Marcus Stroman– will be taking part in the AFL’s Fall Stars Game, which takes place on Saturday and will be streamed live on MLB.com.

The reports aren’t all entirely good, however, so don’t go forgetting about all the consternation of last week quite yet…

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With John fucking Farrell on his way to the World Series, last week wasn’t exactly the time that I was itching to address the struggles and the not-so-glowing reports on the Jays’ top prospect, Aaron Sanchez, who is pitching in Arizona Fall League this month, making up for time lost during the middle of the season with blister troubles, and with the club being extra cautious about arm problems. But I certainly wouldn’t want to be accused (by morons) of trying to sweep away a troublesome report by not addressing it– and I certainly wouldn’t want to not get this stuff written about before Sanchez’s arm falls off, which could be as soon Wednesday, when he’s due to make his next AFL start!

OK, maybe it’s not quite that dire. But the Jays– assuming they’re not working to change things– and Keith Law certainly don’t see eye-to-eye on where the potential ace’s mechanics are at.

At the beginning of last week’s Behind the Dish podcast– which is a must listen, as it also features Dirk Hayhurst– Law explained:

If you check the site tomorrow– that’s Wednesday, I guess depending on when you’re listening to it– I’ll have another column up, listing ten guys who performed in a way, or showed skills that disappointed me somehow. They did not meet my expectations in Fall League, and I’m a little lower on them than I was a year ago– leading off with Aaron Sanchez from Toronto, who I love, and have always loved him. I thought he was better than Noah Syndergaard when they were both in the same organization, but the truth is, Syndergaard looks better at this point, delivery-wise, whereas Sanchez has clearly taken a step backwards. Toronto has made some adjustments to his mechanics. The stuff is good, the command isn’t there, and now I’m starting to get worried about potential arm injury– which is not something I would have said about Sanchez six or nine months ago.

He elaborated during last week’s KLawchat at ESPN.com:

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Confirming our best hopes, Shi Davidi tweeted earlier this evening that the club’s top prospect, Aaron Sanchez, who abruptly left his Wednesday night start for the Dunedin Blue Jays, did so due to a problem with a blister he has been dealing with of late.

To wit:

So that’s a relief.

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To answer the question posed by the title, apparently so. At least, according to this cock-ripplingly fantastic tweet from Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus:

So you’re telling me there’s a shoot!

Parks later clarified that he was indeed talking about Ricky Romero’s soon-to-be Dunedin teammate. So… uh… maybe we’re not quite over the whole prospect thing yet?

Speaking of Sanchez, he got a– glowing, as usual– mention in BP’s Notes From The Field piece today by Zach Mortimer, as did no less than 20 other Jays prospects on whom scouting notes are provided.

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