Aaron Sanchez Scouting Report
Our Mid-Season Top 100 gave Aaron Sanchez a lot of love so I wasn’t surprised when readers requested a write up the Lansing’s right-hander.
Toronto was able to snag Sanchez with the 34th overall pick in the 2010 draft. After signing he threw 25 innings between the Gulf Coast League and the New York – Penn League. Reports out of Auburn were that his stuff was excellent, but control was a problem. The book on Sanchez changed little the following year, but he followed up his 2010 2.16 ERA with a disappointing 5.30 ERA in 54.1 innings. Nevertheless, his strikeout rate remained strong and scouting reports positive.
Listed at 6’4″, Sanchez has the long legs of a runway model atop of which sits a tiny underdeveloped torso. His shoulders are not broad, but his upper body should see additional natural maturation. Throwing from a high three quarters arm slot, Sanchez has excellent tempo out of the wind-up. Despite the length of his legs his stride isn’t over exaggerated. He employs a second leg kick, more or less a shin kick, before his toes touch the dirt which appears to be a timing mechanism.
Once again, Sanchez has posted an excellent strikeout rate with his exceptional three pitch mix. His go-to pitch is his four-seam fastball which sits 95 and touches higher. Like a typical four-seamer, Sanchez’s fastball is straight but it’s explosive and often invokes both swings and misses. Most talk is Sanchez is about his curveball which features late break and good depth, but I prefer his less utilized change-up which has the makings of a plus pitch. It flashes excellent fade and tumbling rotation but lacks consistency and polish to date.
As persistent as Sanchez’s strikeout artistry has been, his walk rate has always been unacceptably high. Sanchez works off his fastball but far too often he misses up, away or both up and away with it. At this point, this is the most concerning part of his game. It’s not as if Sanchez is relying a two-seamer that is running all over the zone.
It should come as no surprise that he also has difficulty controlling his curve too. Generally curveballs are difficult pitches to throw consistently for strikes. Hence my preference for his change-up. It lags behind the curve in all facets right now, but it’s got the potential to be devastating and he’ll need an secondary offering in his arsenal that he can control.
Due to his tempo and smooth mechanics, Sanchez’s control problems are vexing. He produces easy velocity but can’t seem to find the requisite consistency in his delivery and release point to throw quality strikes. To this date in his career, Sanchez has walked over 17% of the batters he’s faced. You don’t need me to tell you how unacceptable that number is.
On stuff alone, few grade out as highly as Sanchez does. He has three legitimate swing and miss pitches. However, his lack of command and control greatly limits their utility. Of course, he is just 19 and has plenty of time to work these issues out, but his command has a long way to go. Nevertheless, I’m optimistic he can harness his simple delivery and eventually throw more strikes. If everything comes together Sanchez is one of the few minor leaguers with true top of the rotation potential.