Sanchez as in strike three
Prior to today's game, Peter Bendix at Beyond the Box Score posted a very optimistic take on Sanchez being a genuine top-quality starter. It's really maddening to think that the front office couldn't figure out what to do with him for the past two years. Here are Bendix's key points --
-- Sanchez simply has excellent stuff. He has struck out 11.6 batters per nine innings – a very high number, but Sanchez has shown over and over throughout his career that he has the ability to strike hitters out in droves. A quick look at his pitch data shows that Sanchez induces a ton of swings and misses. 75% of Sanchez’s strikes are swinging strikes, and batters fail to make contact on 31% of their swings. Sanchez still somewhat struggles to throw strikes – only 62% of his pitches are strikes – but the fact that he gets so many swings and misses suggests that his stuff is extremely good.
-- The key appears to be that Sanchez gets a lot of movement on his fastball: it moves both 8 inches vertically and horizontally. Sanchez’s main secondary pitch is his changeup, which he throws 21% of the time and which also has a ton of movement, thus making up for the fact that he throws his change around 86 MPH – not that much slower than his fastball.
-- It appears that Sanchez does nothing fancy: he throws his fastball and changeup, both of which have a ton of movement, and batters simply can’t hit them. There are few pitchers around baseball who can boast the same track record of wracking up strikeouts as Sanchez. He has also shown the ability to prevent homers. If he can harness his control well enough to keep his walks under four per nine innings, Sanchez should be able to maintain the success he has had so far this season.
Sanchez had four strikeouts and five walks today in five and two-thirds innings. Projected 2008 record for the Giants -- 72-90.