Give it to Alex Anthopoulos. When the Toronto Blue Jays general manager makes up his mind on something, he doesn’t waste any time making it happen.
The move comes just one day after the Blue Jays designated reliever Sergio Santos for assignment, clearing up a 40-man roster spot so that Sanchez could be added. The team will also need to make a corresponding move in order to free up an active roster spot for Goins, which could include optioning Darin Mastroianni back to Buffalo.
The Blue Jays’ top prospect has had an up and down season in 2014. Despite jumping two levels, and now getting his first call-up to Toronto, Sanchez has held his own this season, holding a 3-7 record with a 3.97 ERA and a 7.5 K/9 ratio.
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That said, Sanchez has also struggled with his control to the tune of a 5.1 BB/9 ratio. That has lead the Blue Jays work with Sanchez on a new arm slot, a change they have been seen encouraging results from and hope will address some of his control issues. The encouragement has been drastic enough that the team feels comfortable moving him to the game’s highest level.
With that all said, the move to the bullpen serves two purposes. The first of which is to try and limit Sanchez’s innings on the season. At 100.1, he has already surpasses his career high by nearly 10 innings. A move to the bullpen will allow the Jays to gauge his development and continue to work on the new arm slot without having to worry about overtaxing him arm.
Secondly,the goal is to give Sanchez a taste of the majors with a low-pressure role. Like Marcus Stroman before him, the Jays see this as a win-win for their young arms, taking a page out of the book of the St. Louis Cardinals.
However, as we saw with Stroman, two relief appearances in the minors may not be enough for Sanchez to adjust to the role. Stroman came up and made five appearances out of the bullpen and struggled to a 12.79 ERA in 6.1 innings of work. That lead the Jays to send him back down to Buffalo and bring him back as a starter, where Stroman is 4-2 with a 2.50 ERA and a 8.0 K/9 ratio.
That all said, the Blue Jays will be patient with Sanchez and give him a chance to adjust to the role by putting him in monitored situations. If he struggles too greatly, it wouldn’t be outside the realm of consideration to see the Jays send him back to Buffalo and watch his innings.
Also getting the call-up is Ryan Goins, who started the season as the Blue Jays’ Opening Day second baseman but struggled to hit, as his .150/.203/.217 slash can attest to. However, he’s been much better since returning to Buffalo, hitting .285/.331/.344 for the Bisons.
It’ll be curios as to why the Blue Jays feel they need another infielder though, as the trio of Juan Francisco, Munenori Kawasaki, and Steve Tolleson have been sharing duties at second and third respectively. That leads to some speculation that one of them could be heading out the door.