In the ten days leading up to the season opener against the Yankees, your friends at BJN will be dropping a #take a day to get you pumped up for the season! Day four: Aaron Sanchez
Now this is starting to get spicy.
In 2018, Aaron Sanchez will finish top-five in Cy Young voting.
If you watched him over the past few seasons – blister one exempt – you’ll probably understand why he can be one of the best in the American League. He went from throwing gas and filth out of the bullpen to doing the same thing as a major league starter. His only issue, outside of that innings limit saga that we experienced, was the fact that he was incredibly wild. You just had the idea in 2015 that if he could lower that ridiculous walk rate of 13.2%, the Blue Jays would have something on their hands.
And then in 2016, he became a full time starter, dropped his walk rate from 13.2% to 8%, induced more swings – and whiffs – and won the ERA crown, pitching 200 innings in the process.
Outside of well, Blue Jays fans, it seems like nobody’s expecting much from the Blue Jays rotation this year. Especially not projections like PECOTA and FanGraphs. And given the body of his work, just 49 total starts, I don’t really blame them for being low on him.
But the difference between this being wishful thinking and actually expecting Aaron Sanchez to be good is that we’ve already seen what he can do as a starter over a full season. I don’t think that if healthy, another 200 inning season is out of the question, and if that happens, he’ll be effective enough to get Cy Young votes. His pitch mix of a power sinker that moves all over the place, an upper 90s fastball, and an at-times devastating wipe out curve means that when he’s on, he can take over games.
2017 was supposed to be the year that he took that next step forward, and through no fault of his own, couldn’t due to the blister issues. I’m considering the entire year a wash because the middle finger heavily impacted his ability to do his job. Now it looks like he’s clear of those problems and will try to build off of what he did in 2016. The talent that the rotation has could turn this team from a team in the wildcard hunt to one that can potentially make some noise this October, and it starts with Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez.
Expect ground balls and a whole lot of this.