Anibal Sanchez Player Projection No. 157

Key Stats:  He’s nothing if he isn’t consistant. In 2010 he made 32 starts and pitched 195 innings. 2011? 32 starts and 196.1 innings. Not only that, there was only a difference of 10 pitches thrown between 2010 and 2011. The rest of his numbers are close enough too that lead you to believe this isn’t coincidence. 

2010: 3.55 ERA, .305 BABIP, 3.32 FIP
2011: 3.67 ERA, .315 BABIP, 3.35 FIP

He was prone to the longball last year, giving up twice as many in ’11 as he did in ’10, but he improved his strikeouts by more than two per nine innings and lowered his walks from 3.23/9 to 2.93/9. There was no significant increase or decrease in pitch velocity to explain this and his heat maps are virtually identical from the last two years. His Win/Loss record is pedestrian, but so is the lineup giving him run support.

 
Skeptics Say: This dude is an injury risk. He had a torn labrum and surgery to repair it which lead to him starting only 32 games from 2007-2009. Hardball Talk points out that he struggles on short rest, which during the ebbs and flows of a 162 game season is going to happen (pitch on short rest, not necessarily pitch poorly on short rest). Still, he has been healthy that last two years and has put up good numbers, including a couple of near no-no’s. Personally, I don’t think the injury risk tag applies.

Peer Comparison: There isn’t really. Anibal Sanchez is good. He had a labrum tear which usually ends careers. I think of shoulder surgeries and I think of Mark Prior and Brandon Webb. Jake Peavy has sort of come back from one, but he isn’t same pitcher (his age could have soemthing to do with it as well). Sanchez has defied pretty much every expectation of recovery people have for this sort of thing. 

Team Outlook: The Marlins will have a new stadium next year and we won’t know if it’s going to favor hitters or pitchers. Either case, he is a ground ball pitcher that got tagged for a homer a little less than once every nine innings. Regardles of who the Marlins add to their rotation this year (there is talk of them going after James Shields) Sanchez will probably be their number three or four starter.

What They’re Saying: CBS Sportsline: #41 Starting Pitcher Ranking; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com: #32 Starting Pitcher Ranking, #124 in the Top 250.

Projection:  Sanchez is entering the last year of his contract so if we are to believe cliches he should be top notch this season. He is in his pitching prime, he’s been healthy and he should provide excellent value on draft day in your league. I don’t think the increase in Ks was a fluke. He was a strike out pitcher in the minors and I think we are finally starting to see that now with the shoulder stuff well behind him.

14-10, 3.40 ERA, 210 Ks, 1.27 WHIP in 195 innings.