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Aaron Sanchez

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Aaron Jacob Sanchez

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[edit] Biographical Information

Aaron Sanchez was the second pick for the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2010 Amateur Draft, after Deck McGuire. It was the 34th overall selection, compensation for the loss of Marco Scútaro to free agency. Sanchez was deemed a project due to control issues and hopes his fastball would improve as he added weight to his height.

Sanchez's bag of tricks includes a fastball that can hit 93 mph with a natural sink to it, a curveball and the occasional change-up. He was an AFLAC All-American and was ranked 59th overall by Baseball America in the pre-Draft rankings.

After 16 innings as a pro with the GCL Blue Jays, he was 0-1 with a 1.69 ERA but a 4.50 RA. He had fanned 24 in 16 innings but walked twelve.

Sanchez was considered the Jays' top prospect when he was called up to the big club on July 22, 2014. Although he had worked as a starter in the minors, plans were to use him as a reliever for a time, as the Jays were struggling to find effective middle relievers while there was also a wish to limit his innings total. He made his debut against the Boston Red Sox the next day, tossing a perfect 7th inning with a one-run lead and was so impressive in setting down the heart of the Red Sox's batting order that manager John Gibbons left him in to pitch the 8th, during which he added three more consecutive outs for an outstanding big league debut. The Jays held on for a 6-4 win. he pitched 24 times for the Jays, all in relief, with a record of 2-2, 3 saves and an outstanding 1.09 ERA. In 33 innings, he gave up only 14 hits and 5 runs, while striking out 27.

In spite of his success as a reliever in his rookie season, the Blue Jays were still looking at Sanchez as a starter over the long term, and while his future usage was still up in the air when spring training started in 2015, an injury to projected starter Marcus Stroman made it clear that he was needed in the starting rotation. He lost his first two starts before registering his first win of the year on April 22nd, although it was not necessarily pretty as he walked 7 men in 5 1/3 innings but still escaped with a 4-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles. He found the going as a starter a bit tougher than as a reliever, but on May 8th, he recorded the 3,000th win on Blue Jays history in defeating the Red Sox, 7-0, pitching a career-high 7 innings. It was his third win in four starts, indicating that he was beginning to feel comfortable in his new role. However, he went back to the bullpen after making 11 starts, and h pitched well in the role the rest of the way. Of his 41 games, 11 were starts, and he put up a 7-6 record with a 3.22 ERA in 92 1/3 innings. He was mainly used as a set-up man for young closer Roberto Osuna, getting credit for 10 holds as the Jays surged to a division title with an excellent second half. He pitched 9 times in the postseason without allowing an earned run in 7 1/3 innings and was credited with a win in Game 5 of the Division Series against the Texas Rangers.

He was again a full-time starter in 2016 and this time found success. He went 2-1, 2.59 in 5 April start and that one loss turned out to be his last one in a while, as he then reeled off a string of 12 undefeated starts until the end of June. He went 7-0 during that period, then won again on July 4th as he defeated the Kansas City Royals, 6-2, to improve to 9-1, 2.94 and make a strong bid to be named to his first All-Star team. He was not one of the original selections for the squad, his teammate Marco Estrada getting the nod instead, but a few days later he was named as a replacement for injured closer Craig Kimbrel.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • AL All-Star (2016)

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