The Miami Marlins, coming off a five-game losing skid, shuffled their roster ahead of a five-game, four-day series versus the Washington Nationals. This roster shuffle included the return of two players from the COVID-19 IL, as well as the promotion of two of Miami’s top prospects, OF Jesus Sanchez and RHP Sixto Sanchez.
For the Marlins, despite losing three-fifths of the rotation, the starters have not been the problem. Pablo Lopez and Elieser Hernandez have stabilized the starting group, posting a combined 2.35 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 42 IP.
After a rough first outing, Daniel Castano held the Braves to just one run on four hits over six innings. The real problem spot in the rotation came with Jordan Yamamoto’s turns. Yams, who was recently optioned to Jupiter, surrendered 11 earned runs and four homers over 8.2 IP in three starts. Sanchez would slot into his place in the rotation.
Prospect: Sixto Sanchez
Sixto Sanchez came to the Marlins as the centerpiece of the deal with Philadelphia for J.T. Realmuto. Considered No. 16 overall prospect by Baseball America and No. 22 by MLB.com, his arrival put him at the top of Miami’s system. In 2019 Sanchez posted a combined 2.76 ERA with 8.1 K/9 against 1.7 BB/9 in 114 IP between Class-A Advanced and Double-A.
In Double-A Jacksonville, the 21-year-old threw 103 innings with a 2.53 ERA across 18 outings. Over his final six starts, he posted a 0.53 ERA, .161 batting-average-against and .405 OPS, with 28 strikeouts and only five walks in 34 IP. In his Minor League career, Sanchez has a 23-18 record with a 2.58 ERA in 68 games (59 starts), registering 294 strikeouts and 64 walks in 335.1 IP. He only surrendered nine home runs over that span.
Sanchez relies on a two-seam sinking fastball and a four-seam fastball that can touch triple digits. He pairs those pitches with a devastating changeup and an above-average slider.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly praised Sanchez’s stuff and his ability to throw strikes.
“I can tell you he has a good arm, and he’s been throwing the ball good,” Mattingly said.
Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas, recently reinstated from the IL after his COVID-19 stint, spent time in Jupiter rehabbing and faced Sanchez. Rojas likened Sanchez to MLB veteran Johnny Cueto.
“For a guy that young, he already knows what he’s doing on that mound,” Rojas said. “He can mix up some fastballs. He’s got a cutter, and he’s got a really good changeup. He kind of reminds me of a really good Dominican pitcher, Johnny Cueto.”
Fan expectations for Sanchez are through the roof, but he could very well be the Marlins’ future ace.