It’s no surprise that the Pitcher of the Month in April in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ system came from Altoona. Their starting rotation combined for an amazing 1.09 ERA in 99.1 innings over 18 starts last month. There was only one outing where an Altoona starter gave up more than two earned runs, and only two starts with two or more earned runs allowed. Three of the rotation members finished the month with two or fewer earned runs allowed. The only question was determining which Altoona starter would get the honors.
Those honors go to Angel Sanchez, who is the Pirates Prospects Pitcher of the Month for the month of April. Sanchez beat out Tyler Glasnow and Zack Dodson, who were the other two top contenders from the Altoona rotation.
Sanchez had an 0.40 ERA in 22.2 innings, giving up just one earned run in his four starts. He also posted a 12:2 K/BB ratio in that time, keeping the walks low and showing a decent amount of strikeouts. The walks and strikeouts played a big role in separating the group. Dodson didn’t give up a run in 18 innings this month, but had a 2:3 K/BB ratio, which means he was relying on his defense a little more than Sanchez and Glasnow.
As for the split between the final two guys, Sanchez had the advantage of one additional start and one fewer earned run, giving him more success over a longer period of time. Glasnow had a better strikeout rate, but Sanchez had a much better walk rate. It was close, and might have gone a different direction if Glasnow didn’t get his final start bumped into May.
The Pirates acquired Sanchez last September off of waivers, then outrighted him to the minors over the off-season. He received an invite to MLB Spring Training, and is getting a good look in the Altoona rotation this year. Due to his age (25), he seems to be the most likely candidate to get a mid-season promotion to Indianapolis if this success continues and if a spot at the higher level opens up for him.
Pitchers of the Month by Level
Indianapolis – Wilfredo Boscan, RHP (1.50 ERA, 16:9 K/BB, 24 IP)
Altoona – Angel Sanchez, RHP (0.40 ERA, 12:2 K/BB, 22.2 IP)
Bradenton – Frank Duncan, RHP (2.86 ERA, 17:5 K/BB, 22 IP)
West Virginia – Austin Coley, RHP (1.80 ERA, 11:2 K/BB, 15 IP)