Among the Braves stable of future major league arms, the left-handed Sanchez can get lost in the shuffle. Originally signed out of Venezuela by the Angels as a 16-year-old in 2013, Sanchez was acquired from the Angels back in 2015 for Kyle Kubitza (RF, Braves), He’s battled both command issues and injury as a pro, but nonetheless, he joined the Braves 40-man roster ahead of the 2018 season at just 21 years old, and was assigned to Double-A Mississippi to start the season. Lingering shoulder issues put him on the DL for two months earlier this year, but he’s now back throwing, and I saw his July 9 outing vs. Birmingham.
Sanchez’s fastball sat 92-to-93 mph (T94), and he looked to still be building confidence in it. Working off the edges throughout the outing with average life, the FB should top out as an average pitch due to fringy command, which exposes him to hard contact when he leaves it up over the plate. He mixed a 87-to-89 mph two-seamer as a wrinkle pitch, particularly when he couldn’t command the four-seamer.
Sanchez’s 12-to-6 curveball (80-to-84 mph) flashed plus, but it was inconsistent in this viewing, working best in the 83-to-84 mph range with hammer sharpness and depth. When he casts it, the pitch can get tagged by advanced hitters in-zone or float well off the plate. I saw enough quality in it to see a future above-average offering with continued repetitions. His changeup was mostly straight, with subtle drop to keep it away from barrels, and he was able to locate well down in the zone. Lacking more movement or FB separation, the pitch projects to fringe-average.
Sanchez’s stuff could make it as a #5 man in a rotation, especially if he can take a half-grade step forward with his command. The primary concern moving forward is Sanchez’s ability to stay healthy, as he’s missed time with shoulder issues. He’s more likely a Role 45 swingman, able to compete for a backend job for a non-contender who generally fills a long relief role on a better team.