As well as Canada’s birthday, today is also Aaron Sanchez’s birthday.
Sanchez turns 28 today. It seems like he should be older.
Sanchez was our first round of the 2010 draft, number 34 overall. He was a supplemental pick for the loss of Marco Scutaro. The Blue Jays had already picked Deck McGuire and would select Noah Syndergaard 38th and Asher Wojciechowski 41st that round. Alex was trying to gather every first-round pick that he could back them. Sanchez was the last man standing for the Jays, as Asher was part of the trade that brought us J.A. Happ, and Noah was part of the deal for R.A. Dickey.
Sanchez was terrific coming up through our minor league system. He was on Baseball America’s top 100 prospects list three times: #65 in 2013, #32 in 2014, and #27 in 2015.
He arrived in Toronto in late July of 2014, working as a kind of long setup man. He would pitch 1 to 3 innings in 24 games. He had a 1.09 ERA, with 3 saves, 7 holds, 2 wins and 2 losses.
In 2015 Aaron started the season in the rotation, made 10 starts, had some injury troubles, returned for one more start, missed another three weeks on the DL, and was put into the pen upon his return. He was 5-4, 3.55 ERA as a starter, and 2-2, with a 2.39 ERA with 10 holds as a reliever. We spent the off-season in the perpetual debate: should be a starter or a reliever. It was such a fun time.
2016 came, and he showed he could be a good starter. Aaron made 30 starts, led the AL in ERA with a 3.00, had a 15-2 record, and it looked like he was on his way to a great career. He had 2 postseason starts, one was terrible, against the Rangers, 6 earned in 5.2 innings, and he got the win. One was great, 2 hits, 1 earned in 6 innings, and he got the loss against Cleveland.
We looked forward to Aaron becoming the Ace we were looking for when we drafted 3 pitchers in the first round back in 2010. But 2016 was a mess of blister problems and blister remedy problems, and he’d only make 8 starts.
2018 didn’t start well for Sanchez (or for most of our starters for that matter). He seemed to get it figured out in June, and, of course, he ended up on the DL with a finger contusion.
2019 continued to be more lousy pitching and injuries, and then he was traded to the Astros.
At the moment, he is a free agent. I’m not sure if he is healthy or not. There has been a number of pitchers who spent their 20s battling injuries, but had a much better time of it in their 30s, helped along by less wear and tear on the arm. I hope Aaron is one that can have that sort of career.
Happy Birthday Aaron. I hope it is a good one and that we get to see you pitch again sometime soon.