Jays From the Couch brings you a look at what to expect from Toronto Blue Jays Starting Pitcher, Aaron Sanchez in 2017
With Spring Training workouts under way, it is the time of year where we start to get excited about the upcoming season. Baseball is back! In looking ahead, there will be lots of chatter about what we can expect from certain players. To that end, we’ll be taking a look at the different projections for the Toronto Blue Jays to give you an idea of what you can look forward to.
Last season, Aaron Sanchez was a huge part of one of the most productive starting pitching rotations in baseball. A season in which he had to earn his way into the rotation. Also a season where he took over as the de facto ace of the staff. With the myriad of challenges thrown his way, such as those calling for him to remain in the bullpen, to the often mentioned innings limits, he prevailed. And he did so in a way which no one could’ve predicted.
Outside of the obvious 15-2 win-loss record, which has it’s own merits, Sanchez dominated in ways that teammates and managers love, with quality starts. Of course, there’s always the argument that quality starts don’t mean much; however, what they do mean is the team was given a chance to win. This is where the lanky right-hander excelled. Over his 30 starts on the season, he produced 23 quality starts. This total tied him for third in the American League with the likes of Chris Sale and Jose Quintana. In addition, his quality start percentage (QS%) was an impressive 77%. Which again was third in the AL, just behind Justin Verlander and Cy Young award winner Rick Porcello at 79%. Pretty lofty company indeed.
It’s of no surprise when predictions take a conservative look at an upcoming season. That’s normal. And, to expect a repeat season like 2016 from a young pitcher if often foolhardy. But, the predictions from Steamer and Depth Charts seem to have some regression built into their model. Reasonable expectations would say he may not perform as well, however, to have Sanchez regress in aspects such as BB/9 is something that doesn’t sit well. Typically I would try to keep a personal opinion out of this, but this seems contrary to all we have learned and know about his progression.
One reasonable explanation for the predictions to not look as expected could be due to his lower K/9 totals in comparison to other pitchers of his ilk. While Sanzhez finished his season with a 7.55 K/9, he held a relatively low 6.7 K/9 from July thru September. In relation, his 3.1 BB/9 was higher during the same time period than any other point during the season. So, it is possible these slight regressions could have been taken into account. Though one could reasonably argue they were slighty different due to him moving his way through his first professional season of 30 starts.
While they still have Sanchez as a 3.0 WAR pitcher, it’s hard to fathom his control (BB/9 jumping from 2.95 to 3.52) working against him to that extent. The increase in BABIP from .267 to .303 could happen, but that jump seems rather steep, as well. With his career GB% sitting at 57.3, combined with Toronto’s excellent infield defense, it would suggest his BABIP would likely look similar to his previous season. Of course, this is all speculative.
In closing, it’s really hard to look at a spreadsheet to determine how the season will play out for any player, particularly a young pitcher. While expectations are high for the California native to repeat his 2016 season. A more realistic outlook would be to expect something in-between, and hope for the best.
*Featured Image Credit: Arturo Pardavila III UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
THANK YOU FOR VISITING JAYS FROM THE COUCH! CHECK US OUT ON TWITTER @JAYSFROMCOUCH AND INSTAGRAM. LIKE US FACEBOOK. BE SURE TO CATCH THE LATEST FROM JAYS FROM THE COUCH RADIO
Wade is a long time baseball fan who has been involved with the game for over 30 years. Including as a former college player, amateur pitching coach, and blogger.