Aaron Sanchez earns high praise from the great Pedro Martinez
Lost in the controversy of the Blue Jays 3-2 loss against Tampa Bay on Tuesday night was an excellent first outing by the young Aaron Sanchez
Aaron Sanchez pitched brilliantly on Tuesday before a controversial call at second base and John Gibbons’ post-game comments took over the Wednesday headlines.
In seven strong innings, Sanchez allowed just five hits and one earned run, a deep blast to left field off the bat of Corey Dickerson in the fourth inning. He needed just 91 pitches to get through those seven frames, striking out eight along the way.
The most important stat of the night, though? Zero walks. Sanchez’s control abandoned him for individual pitches at times, but unlike certain points in early 2015, he was quickly able to right his mechanics and begin pounding the zone again quickly.
Pedro Martinez, whose Twitter account is an absolute must-follow for pitching analysis, heaped some high praise onto Sanchez following the outing.
After Pedro said that Marcus Stroman could be better than he was at this past weekend’s Montreal series, it’s been a good week in the Jays-Martinez Relations department.
Sanchez will always have the ground ball tool with his natural fastball movement, but if he can consistently harness his control (as he did Tuesday) and develop those secondary pitches, then Pedro may be on to something here.
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The 23-year-old does not have a safe “floor” as a starting pitcher, but his maximum potential ceiling is among the league’s best. His likelihood of reaching it, of course, is the question. The most important takeaway from Tuesday night may have been Sanchez’s changeup usage.
Sanchez threw 15 changeups on the night according to data from Brooks Baseball at an average velocity of 90 miles-per-hour. It would be nice to see another mile or two shaved off the changeup, but as long as the arm slot and speed are portraying it as a fastball, Sanchez is ahead of the game.
What’s interesting about Sanchez’s changeup, though, is that there’s something else disguising his changeup as a fastball.
His changeup has very similar movement, both horizontally and vertically, so his powerful sinking fastball which averaged over 96 MPH on Tuesday. This adds a second, dangerous, layer of trickery to the combination if these movement charts stay consistent.