Sanchez is Staying in the Rotation

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AP Photo/The Canadian Press

AP Photo/The Canadian Press

We are through the halfway point of the 2016 baseball season. Aaron Sanchez has done well since he was installed as the 5th starter in the Toronto Blue Jays rotation during spring training. After his brilliant performance on Monday night versus the Padres, Sanchez has 11 wins on the season, including his last 10, against one loss. He has pitched close to 140 innings and has a robust ERA of 2.72 as of July 26. Those numbers earned him an appearance in this year’s All-Star Game in San Diego. Walks are still a problem for Sanchez as he has issued 39 free passes over the course of those innings pitched. But as long as he keeps the ball down, he will do well the rest of the season.

Which brings up Sanchez and what to do with him in the last 2 months of the season (and hopefully another month in the playoffs). There have been calls to have Sanchez move to the Blue Jays’ bullpen to help ease the workload of the relievers. But why? As I mentioned in the last paragraph, Sanchez is doing well in the rotation and his arm shows no signs of any wear and tear. While this is Sanchez’s first full season in the starting rotation, I’m of the belief that you have to let things run its course and keep him in the rotation until his arm gives out. Besides, we’ve seen Sanchez come into games last season as a reliever where there are runners already on base. He seemed to have trouble pitching in those situations where a seasoned reliever would have gotten out of the inning without giving up a run or the lead. If I was in John Gibbons and Pete Walker’s shoes, I would keep Sanchez in the rotation. And unless Ross Atkins goes out and finds another David Price before the non-waiver trade deadline, there is no reason to move Sanchez to the bullpen.

Perhaps what is getting on my nerves is people seem to have this urgency to move Sanchez to the bullpen in order to open up a spot in the rotation. That is putting the cart before the horse don’t you think? There is absolutely no need to panic despite what you read and hear in the media. Marcus Stroman would have been a more suitable candidate to shift to the pen when he was struggling to find his control earlier this year. But now Stroman, as I have pointed out earlier, seems to have figured it out based on his last outing in Arizona.

There is no way Sanchez is going back to the bullpen. The Blue Jays would be crazy to do so. If the team is expected to head to the playoffs, it needs to keep Sanchez in the rotation. And that is where he belongs.

Also see:

Osuna has What it Takes to be a Closer for the Long Haul
The Blue Jays are Doing Well, So Why All the Panic?
Is This the Year for the Blue Jays?

 

Stroman Will be Fine

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Photo: USA TODAY

Photo: USA TODAY

To say Marcus Stroman is struggling is an understatement. Lately, the Blue Jays pitcher is looking less like an ace and more like someone who is lost. Stroman didn’t last five innings in his last outing against the Athletics in Oakland despite the offense supplying him with early runs.

Stroman’s ERA to this point in the 2016 season is 5.15 but that only tells you that he giving up a lot of runs. There are those who are scratching their heads as to why he is struggling but I don’t think it is that difficult to understand. Stroman is leaving too many pitches up and not throwing his off-speed pitches as much as he should. He relies on his 2-seam fastball to get ground balls but isn’t getting any. Stroman basically has become a one-pitch pitcher and hitters are simply waiting for the right pitch to come to them.

I don’t think confidence is an issue for Stroman. He has shown that in the past with his rather quick recovery of a torn ACL in Spring Training in 2015. That confidence enabled him to pitch late in the season and into the playoffs. But part of his latest struggles also stem from his lack of faith in those who play behind him. Easy ground balls are getting through the infield and when you can’t trust your teammates to make those plays, it will eat even the most confident of players like Stroman.

Stroman isn’t the first highly-touted Blue Jays pitcher who has struggled early on in his baseball career. Roy Halladay pitched 3 seasons in the majors before getting sent down to Class “A” in 2001 to change his delivery and transform him from a strikeout pitcher to one that pitches to contact. I don’t think Stroman needs to start from scratch but the Blue Jays have proved they can reinvent players and that is an option that they can go to.

I have to laugh at all the baseball pundits in Toronto who have quickly written off Stroman. That’s not to ignore his struggles but to shrug him off after what is his first full-season as a starting pitcher only proves my theory that people are too lazy to find the truth and will blindly believe what others tell them.

Everyone is worrying too much about Stroman. It is not too late for him to get back to his early season form and dominate hitters. He will be fine.

Also see:

The Blue Jays are Doing Well, So Why All the Panic?
Nobody’s Perfect
Surprised by the Blue Jays’ Success? You Shouldn’t Be