Yesterday news broke that the Toronto Blue Jays have promoted their top prospect Aaron Sanchez to Triple A Buffalo. Sanchez has posted a 3-4 record with an ERA of 3.82 in Double A New Hampshire this season, and while those numbers at first glance may make you scratch your head a closer look at his body of work will explain the promotion.
Many casual fans observers will say he has not dominated hitters yet at AA to deserve the promotion, or that his BB/9 are too high for him to continue to climb up the ladder, I decided to take a closer look at what Sanchez has done so far this season and through his minor league career. At every stop of the way Sanchez has posted outstanding numbers thus far in Buffalo his H/9 sits at 7.1, his HR/9 is 0.4, his opponent BAA is .219, K/9 is 7.8. Those are in line with each of his seasons through the minors, at this point you might have noticed I left out one glaring stat however his BB/9 which is currently at 5.5 for the year. This is the one issue that keeps knocking Sanchez back, his lack of command of his pitches especially his fastball has been the cause of concern. Outside of his tendency to give up walks he has continued to show the Blue Jays brass that he can take care of hitters in the minors, this is the reason he is being promoted. Moving up to AAA while give the Blue Jays a better idea of how he can handle better hitters, while continuing to work on his command. If he can move up to Buffalo and consistently puts up the same H/9, K/9, and limiting his HR’s the Jays will have a better idea of when he might be able to help out at the major league level.
Speaking for a moment on Sanchez’s BB/9, the other idea might be having him work with a more veteran catcher, everyone mentions how much movement all of Sanchez’s pitches have, which might be a little tough for some younger catchers to get a handle on. Check out this post over at DJF by Kyle Matte on just how much movement Sanchez has on each of his pitches, those pitches just aren’t coming at you quickly they aren’t coming at you straight either. You will notice a lot of similarities in Matt Harvey, and just for comparison’s sake Matt Harvey’s final year in the minors was in Triple A Buffalo his stats that year before a promotion. 7-5, ERA of 3.68 H/9 7.9, HR/9 0.7 BB/9 3.9 K/9 9.2, when he moved up to the Mets his numbers mirrored his AAA stats, with the exception of his BB/9 which lowered to 1.6.
If Aaron Sanchez can continue to do what he has his entire minor league career in Buffalo, and working with the pitching coach, and some veteran catchers and can lower his BB/9 than the Blue Jays will be very happy and most likely be waiting for the day he takes the mound in a big league uniform.