Anibal Sanchez Anibal Sanchez

Appreciating Anibal Sanchez


It happened again. It must be getting old news for Anibal Sanchez to go deep into games without allowing a hit. For the fourth time in his career, Anibal Sanchez pitched a one hitter. There isn’t much to be added to what you can read around the internet about Friday night’s game by Sanchez. He was wicked once again, which is quickly becoming the norm for the Tigers “fourth starter”. Sanchez struck out 12 on Friday en route to an easy Tigers win against a Minnesota team that swings the bats pretty well.

The one hit Sanchez gave up was to Joe Mauer, which is by no means a shame. Mauer has broken up several no-hitters in the 9th inning, and such was the fate for Sanchez this past evening.

But instead of regurgitating all of the positive vibes going around about Sanchez, I wanted to pose this question to all of you. Is Anibal Sanchez the guy you would want starting a game 7 of the World Series right now as a Tigers fan?

Obviously, this is a hypothetical. The Tigers of course are going to need all of their pitchers to pitch well to make it to the playoffs and the World Series. But the past few years, the pitching staff has clearly been led by ace Justin Verlander. With Verlander struggling the past few starts, doubts are beginning to creep into the minds of Tigers fans as to whether or not Verlander can continue the pace he has set forth the past few years. Personally, I am not worried Verlander is going to struggle the rest of the year, but that doesn’t mean that Sanchez isn’t pushing himself to the forefront of the conversation of the best pitchers in the American League.

May 24, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez (19) hugs manager Jim Leyland (10) after the game against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Detroit won 6-0. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Some information about Sanchez. He is second in the American League to Yu Darvish with a K rate of over 11 per 9 innings. That’s better than fellow Tigers strikeout artists Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. Sanchez is also top five in the American League in ERA with a mark of  2.38, which is also easily the best out of the Tigers rotation.

The scary thing is, Sanchez’ numbers might even get better. Coming into Friday’s game, Sanchez has had a BABIP against him of .361. Now, part of that is due to his extremely low home run rate of 0.3/9 and his high K rate, but still, his BABIP against is high. For his career, it is usually around .315, which suggests, that he could potentially have slightly better results going forward. If that happens, not only will Sanchez quickly become a favorite of Tigers fans, he will likely get Cy Young consideration by the end of the year by the rest of baseball.

Verlander of course is always a Cy Young candidate and has the history of being the Tigers best pitcher.

So I go back to the question. Hypothetically. Right now. Who do you want starting a game seven in the World Series? Anibal Sanchez or Justin Verlander? You decide below.

All I know, it isn’t that easy of a question any more. And that is a good thing for Tigers fans. Because that means the Tigers have another dominating pitcher.