In baseball, it is often hard to find a consensus on anything. But there is a true consensus in baseball that the Philadelphia Phillies’ top prospect is High-A right-handed starter Sixto Sanchez.
He’s the top dog — the prize pig — the best pure arm among starting pitchers in the Phils’ farm system. Scouts have compared him to Pedro Martinez, and it’s easy to see why. Sanchez, who just turned 20, throws an easy 97 mph with the ability to approach triple digits. He has a nice two-seamer, a breaking pitch that is improving, and a changeup he’s still working on a bit.
But for someone whose entire professional career has been as a teenager until recently, his rise has been incredible. However, this year, we simply haven’t seen that much of him.
Sanchez has made only eight starts this season, all for Clearwater. When he’s been on the mound, he’s been extremely good, with a 2.70 ERA, 8.7 K/9, and 2.1 BB/9. But he’s only thrown 46.2 innings this year, down from 95.0 innings a year ago. The hope was he’d pitch well enough for the Threshers this year to earn a promotion to AA Reading at some point, but that obviously isn’t happening now, as he’s been disabled most of the season.
Top #Phillies prospect Sixto Sanchez will be shut down for a couple of weeks with what farm director Joe Jordan described as inflammation in his elbow. At this point, team doesn’t believe there’s much cause for concern.— Scott Lauber (@ScottLauber) June 9, 2018
And while the team isn’t concerned about his long-term health, it’s fair to ask whether the 2018 season has simply been one in which the young hurler has mostly spun his wheels. Has too much important development time been lost?
On Episode 203 of “Hittin’ Season,” Jay Floyd of PhoulBallz.com said he doesn’t think this year has been “lost.”
“No, I don’t think so. You get a chance for him to somewhat repeat the level.
“He had eight good starts, you see what he’s doing against a lot older batters. A lot of the guys in that league have a lot of college time, or they’re a year or two out of the draft. He was, at least and he might still be, the youngest pitcher in the league, and enjoyed success there for the first couple months.
“Big command guy, has a big-time fastball. I don’t feel like it’s a lost season at all. It’s a shame he doesn’t get more innings at that level, but he kind of was dominating there and he might not need more innings at that level.
“If he was healthy, he could have been a AA, so that’s what you’re missing. But at 20 years old, a guy breaking into AA, that might be too far ahead of himself, it’s fine if he gets there next year, he’ll still be just 20 next season.”
Floyd did say that, if the right deal comes along for Matt Klentak, he shouldn’t think twice about moving their uber prospect.
“Right now, the Phillies are back in the position they were in the middle of that five year run. Even a better spot because they don’t have as much money committed.
“I know everyone says ‘Don’t trade Sixto,’ but look — the guy’s 20, the guy’s been injured two straight years. Prospects are prospects for a reason. He’s compared to Pedro Martinez, but he’s not Pedro Martinez yet. Everybody on the board, in my book, is available for the right name.”
Hear the full interview below, and get a recap of the Phillies-Diamondbacks series, a preview of this weekend’s series against San Diego, and the weekly MLB “Hittin’ Season” Top 10 on Episode 203!