A year ago, the Pirates claimed Angel Sanchez from the Chicago White Sox. The right-hander had bounced around a lot during the 2014 season, with the Pirates being the fourth team that claimed him off waivers. But it looked like he finally found a landing spot with the Pirates. They snuck him through waivers in the off-season, gave him an invite to MLB Spring Training, and gave him a starting spot in the upper levels.
Sanchez found success in the Pirates’ system. But unfortunately he will undergo Tommy John surgery, which our Indianapolis writer Ryan Palencer confirmed with Sanchez himself.
The date of the surgery is unknown, and Sanchez is still with the team in Indianapolis. At this point, surgery would put him out for the entire 2016 season, with a likely return at the start of 2017. So there would be no rush to perform the surgery.
Sanchez was having a great season in the upper levels of the system. He put up a 2.79 ERA in 77.1 innings, with a 49:19 K/BB ratio with Altoona. That earned him a promotion to Triple-A in mid-June. He put up a 2.55 ERA in 60 innings, with a 50:15 K/BB ratio in his ten starts. However, he left his final start on August 7th after calling a trainer to the mound and pointing to his forearm.
This is another blow to the system, which has seen a lot of Tommy John cases in the upper levels over the last year. It’s clear why the Pirates liked Sanchez, as he could consistently work in the low-to-mid 90s with a good slider. He was looking like a rotation depth option as early as this year, with the chance to also be a strong reliever if he couldn’t find a spot as a starter in the majors. He might have a chance to return with the same stuff, but he will miss his age 26 season, and will be returning at the age of 27. He will also be a minor league free agent after the 2017 season, so he’ll have to show something quick after his return if he’s going to make the majors with the Pirates.
We’ll provide updates when we hear a date for Sanchez’s surgery.