Day 3 Arizona Fall League Updates: Aaron Sanchez Starts
Toronto Blue Jays top prospect Aaron Sanchez. Credit: MLB Prospect Portal.Day three of the Arizona Fall League featured an exciting pitching matchup between Aaron Sanchez (the Toronto Blue Jays top-rated prospect) and left-hander Matt Purke from the Washington Nationals system. Sanchez was pitching for the Salt River Rafters while Purke represented the Mesa Solar Sox.
Sanchez fell behind 2-0 to the first hitter he faced missing high then outside before getting a ground ball out to third baseman Jake Lamb for the game’s first out. He challenged the next batter with a called strike on the hands before producing a weak popup for the second out. The next batter grounded out on a 2-1 count to Rafters first baseman Andy Burns who flipped the ball to Sanchez for a clean opening frame.
The second inning didn’t go nearly as smoothly for Sanchez. Tyler Collins led off and lined out on a 3-1 offering to right field, which prompted Sanchez to walk the next batter C.J. Cron on four straight pitches. He missed the zone his first pitch to the next batter and tried a pick-off attempt before he allowed a line drive single on his next pitch.
With runners on first and second with one out, Sanchez attacked Matt Skole and managed another line drive out. But with two outs Sanchez walked the next batter to load the bases on what looks to me like a very tight strike zone. At this point the coaching staff decided to check-in on the young starter with a visit to the mound. Sanchez responded by getting out of the mess with a ground ball to short. No damage was done but it wasn’t a pretty inning from the righty.
Sanchez got back on track in the third inning, which would be his final frame of the evening. Albert Almora flew out to left on the first pitch he saw before Sanchez struck out Brian Goodwin for his first K of the game. Sanchez got ahead of the final batter he faced Addison Russell 0-2 but couldn’t get Russell to chase before getting a line out to short.
Sanchez finished the night after 39 pitches, 19 of which were for strikes. His final line was 3.0 IP, 1 hit, 2 walks and one strikeout with no runs allowed.
Andy Burns played first base for the Rafters and was held hitless but did pick up a walk in the fifth inning. Catcher Derrick Chung also got his first taste of the AFL and didn’t fare well with three strikeouts. Outfielder Kenny Wilson had the day off after scorching the desert with five hits and two stolen bases his first two games.
Pitcher John Stilson entered the game in the ninth and was shelled for four earned runs before managing an out. He gave up four hits and two walks including a bases clearing triple to Almora. He was thankfully lifted for Matt Ramsey after only getting through 1/3 of an inning and was responsible for a total of five earned runs.