Just before the 2012 trade deadline, Tigers’ General Manager Dave Dombrowski made a move to strengthen the infield and the starting pitching staff. Enter Anibal Sanchez. With a rotation full of Cy Young winners and big names dating celebrities, it’s easy to overlook the calm, quiet confidence and dominance of Anibal Sanchez. Just don’t take his low key approach for weakness. Anibal Sanchez is a beast.
While his season was cut short due to injury, when he was healthy, Sanchez was easily the Tigers most reliable starter in 2014. In 126 innings pitched, Sanchez posted a 3.43ERA(the third best of his career, after only his rookie season and last season’s AL leading effort) and a WHIP of 1.095, the best of his career. Also of note, Sanchez only succumbed to the long ball only FOUR times all season.
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While his 8-5 record is underwhelming, it’s worth noting that Sanchez didn’t give up more than three earned runs in a start until June 25th, and after that he gave up four or more earned runs only four more times in all of 2014.
In a season that saw the Tigers’ resident Ace, Justin Verlander, post the highest ERA of his career and send fans into fits of panic when on the mound, Sanchez was the answer. If you question that, think back to August when you heard that Sanchez was injured and would be out, possibly for the rest of the season. Reading the comments sections of MCB(and other fan blogs) and tweets concerning the injury to Anibal Sanchez, the Tigers’ postseason and World Series dreams had all but vanished. And really, they weren’t that far off. There is no doubt in my mind that Sanchez’s absence from the rotation was a big factor in the Tigers not securing the top spot in the AL Central until the last day of the season.
In short, had Anibal Sanchez been healthy all season, his grade easily could have jumped to an A+. Don’t expect him to be anything less than a dark horse for the Cy Young in 2015.