Cristopher Sanchez was originally acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays in November 2019 in an exchange of minor leaguers. The left-hander made his major league debut in 2021, making seven appearances - including one start. His performance was a mixed bag, with his one start being particularly bad (four runs in 0.1 innings).
He began the 2022 season with the Phillies, but got off to a rough start, allowing runs in his first five appearances. He spent the rest of the season bouncing between AAA and the majors, filling in as both a starter and reliever. Unfortunately, the lack of a consistent role seemed to detract from his performance.
The stats: 15 games, 40 IP, 2-2 W-L, 4.97 ERA, 3.80 FIP, 5.0 BB/9, 9.2 K/9, -0.2 WAR
Sanchez seemed to perform better when used as a starter. Between the two levels, he had a 3.01 ERA when starting games and 6.91 as a reliever. He had two strong starts in particular: Five shutout innings against the Nationals in June, and three run in six innings against the Reds in August.
The Phillies' regular starting pitchers needed a little extra rest ahead of the season's homestretch, and Cristopher Sanchez stepped up in a big way in his spot start Wednesday night.— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) August 25, 2022
More from @JSalisburyNBCS: https://t.co/HlrQ9CfKzG
It might not have been his fault, but Sanchez couldn’t seem to find a groove. He was either promoted or demoted eight times throughout the season and would often switch between starting and relieving. And as mentioned, the relieving didn’t seem to go well, with his ERA almost twice as high.
Not that it matters much, but the prospect the Phillies traded for Sanchez was infielder Curtis Mead, who has developed into a strong prospect, appearing in the 2022 Futures Game.
It isn’t clear what Sanchez’s role will be in 2023. He will likely be in the competition for the team’s fifth starter spot in Spring Training, but probably isn’t the favorite for the job. Given the progress of minor leaguers like Mick Abel and Andrew Painter, the team might feel they don’t need him as rotation depth anymore and will ask him to focus on being a reliever all season.
Perhaps if he remains a reliever, Sanchez could carve out a middle-inning role for a bullpen that doesn't seem to have too many other lefty options.
Those two quality starts were crucial for a Phillies team that qualified for the postseason by a single game. But aside from that, he was generally a negative.