Today’s Tigers trade to acquire Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante should help the team going forward to a playoff push. Both are experienced major league players, and both have experienced success. Since most of us are pretty familiar with Omar Infante due to his previous stint with the Tigers, I thought I would focus on the other half of the acquisition. For those that aren’t familiar with Sanchez, here is a scouting report on him.
Sanchez is a 28 year old right handed pitcher signed as a 17 year old out of Maracay, Venezuela by the Boston Red Sox. Sanchez was a relatively quick mover, and prior to the 2006 season was ranked the 40th best prospect in baseball by Baseball America. That was the same winter Sanchez was traded along with Hanley Ramirez to the Marlins for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell. Sanchez has had ups and downs with the Marlins since the deal, mainly to do with injury problems, where he has missed parts of multiple seasons with arm troubles. His last 3 seasons statistically have been real consistent, pitching with ERA’s in the below 4.00, and always carries a solid K and BB rate. For his career, Sanchez is 44-45 with an ERA of 3.75.
Sanchez at 6’0″ isn’t a prototypical power pitcher, registering on most nights 89-93 on the radar gun with his fastball. He pitches from a 3/4 angle and is comfortable working his fastball to all areas of the zone. Sanchez shows good control, but can sometimes let his command waiver in pitch up in the zone too often, getting in a little bit of trouble without the premium velocity. He does throw two variations of his fastball, both a 4 seamer and a cutter, though neither has tremendous movement. Sanchez also owns three secondary pitches as well. He throws a slider, curve, and a change up. While his fastball is just average, his slider is an above average pitch, and generates quite a few swings and misses. He typically throws his slider with a 6-7 mph variation off of his fastball, but gets good late sharp break. His change up is a slightly above average pitch also, and is confident throwing it any time. Sanchez also possesses a curve ball, that is more of a show me pitch, and offers the greatest variance in speed from his fastball.
Given that Sanchez has been pitching in the National League since 2006, there probably is a little apprehension on the part of Tigers fans, and wondering how well he will do in the tougher American League. He has struggled in inter-league play. The reality is the Tigers just need him to be solid, and I think he will be. I see an ERA a little north of 4.00, but his K rate tells me that he can pitch a little bit. He tends to be a fly ball pitcher, and in Comerica Park, and the way the Tigers defense is constructed, that might be a good thing. Sanchez on certain nights can be absolutely electric. He can also look pretty rough when he isn’t locating as well. At 28 years old, Sanchez is in his prime, and hopefully he will pitch like the guy the Marlins have seen for the last 3 years down the stretch for the Tigers.