It had to happen eventually but it looks like that the Aaron Sanchez era in Toronto is happening sooner rather than later.
Shi Davidi is reporting this morning that both Aaron Sanchez and Ryan Goins are being promoted to the Blue Jays today and corresponding moves are still unknown. Sanchez, the 2010 supplemental round pick who is the lone survivor in the Jays’ organization of the “Lansing Three” group that dominated with the Lansing Lugnuts in the 2012 season (the other two are Noah Syndergaard and Justin Nicolino), has been touted as the best arm in the organization since the trades that sent Syndergaard and Nicolino away but has been somewhat underwhelming in his attempts to harness his control.
Sanchez tantalized Toronto fans in March when he pitched 15 1/3 spring training innings without allowing a run, walking just six and striking out 11 and even got TV play-by-play man Buck Martinez excited about the prospect. Starting the year in Double-A New Hampshire, Sanchez was 3-4 with a 3.82 ERA, 1.39 WHIP and a very poor 14% walk rate to go with a decent (but uninspiring) 20% strikeout rate through 66 innings. Through 34 1/3 innings in Buffalo, Sanchez lowered the walk rate to 11.3% in six starts and two relief appearances but his strikeout rate also decreased to 18% as he put up a 4.19 ERA and 1.54 WHIP through 34 1/3 innings. At both stops, Sanchez had a higher FIP than ERA.
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From watching several of his starts on MiLB TV (my timing was never good in Buffalo this year with him), I’ve surmised that a lot of his low strikeout rate came from the fact that he appeared to be trying to pitch to contact. Because his pitches have so much movement on them, it looked to me like he was trying to throw the ball over the middle of the plate and let the movement take it out of a good hitting area. He’s a very difficult pitcher to hit thanks to the nastiness of his stuff and he should be able to get big league hitters out.
As for Goins, I’m not entirely surprised that he was recalled. Although he was hitting only .150/.203/.217 through 24 games in the big leagues, Goins has made some strides with the bat in Triple-A Buffalo, especially in the past month. Overall in Buffalo, Goins is hitting .285/.331/.344 but, since June 9, that figure is .325/.364/.401 with 10 doubles and a triple in 41 games. While those numbers are far from elite production, they’re pretty solid for the light-hitting Goins and if he can replicate a .250/.310/.320 line in Toronto, he could be a decent contributor thanks to the outstanding defense he provides.
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