Isaac Sanchez has quietly been very good in the Bradenton bullpen recently. A couple years ago in Spring Training, we got some great reports about Sanchez, and it wasn’t that surprising. He signed for $180,000 back in 2010 after playing in the Dominican Prospect League. His original scouting report said he could hit 92 mph, had good command of a change-up and his best pitch was a big, slow curve. Sanchez was throwing a little harder back in 2013 and doing so well that they moved him into a starting role for the first time in his pro career while at Jamestown.
Sanchez didn’t pitch bad during the 2013 season, posting decent stats across the board. Despite that, he was moved to the bullpen for West Virginia last year. Sanchez pitched really good during a stretch from April 25th until the end of June, posting an 0.92 ERA over 29.1 innings. That was more than half the innings he saw in 2014, but his season ERA was 4.45, which was pushed in that direction by a couple real bad outings. If you could get rid of those two games, his season ERA would be 3.00 in 54 innings.
You obviously can’t just get rid of games for a player, but that shows you how much damage a couple bad outings can do to a reliever. Sanchez moved up to Bradenton this year and he now has a 2.48 ERA in 38 appearances, with a 1.16 WHIP and a .225 BAA. Those numbers are good, but they don’t tell the whole story. Since his appearance on June 10th when he gave up one run over three innings, Sanchez has posted an 0.39 ERA and a .127 BAA. In his last three appearances combined, he has retired all 15 batters he has faced.
His recent streak gets lost in his overall season stats, which are still good for a 22-year-old in high-A, but they don’t stand out. Bradenton had Clario Perez at the start of the season putting up huge stats. They currently have Montana DuRapau putting up outstanding stats and let’s face it, relievers tend to get overlooked anyway because an organization like the Pirates will put someone in the rotation if they really like their upside. They would rather get them more innings, then move them to the bullpen later if they think that’s their ultimate upside.
With a strong finish, you would have to guess that Sanchez will move up to Altoona next season and possibly see some extended relief outings. He will be 23 all season, so that’s a good age for that level. Jumping up to AA is what usually separates the prospects from the suspects, so if he can succeed at that level with his three-pitch mix, then you start thinking about him as a possible player that could help the Pirates.
The team hasn’t had much success signing international pitchers. In the DSL season recap on Sunday, we mentioned five pitchers that got six-figure bonuses and none of them really looked like a top prospect. The Pirates ended up signing a sixth player for six figures in June and another pitcher for $85,000, so they are going for quantity. Sanchez is one of the international pitchers they have spent the most on since this front office took over, and while his upside might just be as a middle reliever at this point, you have to take what you can get out of a player.
Pirates Game Graph
The Pirates trail by 3.5 games in the division to the Cardinals. They have a three game lead for the top wild card spot.
Indianapolis is 6-4 in their last ten games. They have a four game lead in the division.
Altoona is 6-4 in their last ten games. They are in second place, 3.5 games back of Bowie and they lead the wild card by two games.
Bradenton is 4-6 in their last ten games. They trail Palm Beach by four games in the standings.
West Virginia is 7-3 in their last ten games and they have a nine game lead in the division. Their magic number is six.
Morgantown is 6-4 in their last ten games. They are 2.5 games back in the wild card chase.
The Bristol Pirates are 5-5 in their last ten games. They are four games back in the division and three in the wild card.
The GCL Pirates have been eliminated from the postseason.
The DSL Pirates’ season is finished. They did not make the playoffs.
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates won 5-2 over the Giants on Sunday night. They now go to Florida to play the Marlins for four games. J.A. Happ will make his fourth start for the Pirates. In his last outing, he threw six shutout innings. Tom Koehler will be on the mound for the Marlins. He has a 4.02 ERA in 138.2 innings. In his last start, he allowed seven runs over 4.1 innings.
In the minors, Cody Dickson is making his 25th start of the season. He is just 3.2 innings short of his total from last year in 27 starts with West Virginia. Dickson has allowed two more earned runs than last year, but nine less runs overall. Bristol was rained out yesterday in their second game. They didn’t announce a makeup date, but they only play Kingsport today and tomorrow, so if they plan to play the game, they will have a doubleheader in the next two days. West Virginia is off today. The DSL Pirates’ season is done. You can view the season recap here. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.
MLB: Pittsburgh (74-48) @ Marlins (50-74) 7:10 PM
Probable starter: J.A. Happ (2.87 ERA, 5:16 BB/SO, 15.2 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (76-53) vs Louisville (60-69) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Wilfredo Boscan (3.07 ERA, 44:73 BB/SO, 108.1 IP)
AA: Altoona (68-59) vs Reading (72-54) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Matt Benedict (5.57 ERA, 18:38 BB/SO, 85.2 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (66-60, 34-22 second half) @ Palm Beach (70-56) 6:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Cody Dickson (4.15 ERA, 46:86 BB/SO, 125.2 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (76-49, 39-17 second half) @ Augusta (61-63) 7:05 PM 8/25 (season preview)
Probable starter: Austin Coley (3.99 ERA, 22:98 BB/SO, 128.2 IP)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (31-30) vs Batavia (25-35) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD
Rookie: Bristol (26-27) vs Kingsport (31-26) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD
GCL: Pirates (27-26) vs Blue Jays (34-18) 10:00 AM (season preview)
DSL: Pirates (30-42) (season recap)
Here is a video of Pablo Reyes hitting a homer. Before he got hurt on Friday, Reyes hit his 11th homer and stole his 24th base.
8/22: Jordy Mercer activated from disabled list. Travis Ishikawa placed on disabled list.
8/22: Josh Wall sent outright to Indianapolis.
8/22: Pirates release Jesus Ronco and Luis Brun
8/21: Josh Harrison activated from disabled list. Josh Wall designated for assignment.
8/20: Corey Hart assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.
8/20: Travis Snider signed to minor league deal.
8/19: Josh Wall added to Pirates. Pedro Florimon designated for assignment.
8/18: Edwin Espinal placed on disabled list. Junior Sosa activated from Bradenton disabled list.
8/18: Adam Miller placed on disabled list. Jeremy Bleich activated from temporary inactive list.
8/16: Jose Salazar retired.
8/16: Pirates sign Frank Herrmann. Jeremy Bleich placed on temporary inactive list.
8/16: Rob Scahill sent to Indianapolis on rehab.
8/14: Edward Salcedo traded to Royals. Robert Stock assigned to Altoona.
8/13: Angel Sanchez placed on disabled list. Andy Vasquez sent to Altoona.
8/11: Rob Scahill sent to Altoona on rehab.
8/11: Wilfredo Boscan sent outright to Indianapolis. Jeff Inman placed on disabled list.
8/11: Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.
8/9: Adam Miller promoted to Indianapolis.
8/9: Cole Tucker placed on disabled list. Erik Forgione sent to Morgantown.
This Date in Pirates History
Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including an infielder for a World Series winner, who went on to manage the team for two full seasons. Starting with the most recent player first:
Kevin Correia, 2011-12 pitcher. He won 12 games during each of his two seasons in Pittsburgh. He had a 4.49 ERA in 325 innings for the Pirates. Correia was an All-Star during the 2011 season.
Al Bool, catcher for the 1930 club. In the minors in 1929, he hit .322 with 31 homers and 36 doubles. He hit .259 in 216 at-bats for the Pirates, driving in 46 runs. Began the year as the third-string catcher and ended up as a platoon starter.
Jewel Ens, 1922-1925 infielder and manager from 1929 until 1931. He also served five years as a Pirates coach under Pie Traynor. After hitting .296 in 47 games during the 1922 season, he moved into a coaching role and occasionally saw playing time. Ens played a total of 67 games for the Pirates, his only Major League team. He had a 176-167 record as a manager for the Pirates, taking over the team late in the 1929 season.
Bill Kelsey, 1907 catcher. Played just two career Major League games, both at the end of the 1907 season for the Pirates. Went 2-for-5 with a run scored.