With Matt Moore and Tim Beckham currently on the 60-day disabled list, the Tampa Bay Rays had a 40-man roster spot to play with. All they needed was the right opportunity to use it, and today the right one finally came around. The Rays have claimed right-hander Angel Sanchez from the Miami Marlins per Marc Topkin and have assigned him to Double-A Montgomery.
Angel Sanchez was having a terrible season at the Marlins’ Double-A Jacksonville affiliate before the Rays claimed him, managing just a 6.88 ERA. But Sanchez certainly isn’t a lost cause–he actually entered the season as Miami’s #16 prospect according to Baseball America. Sanchez, 24, touches the mid-90’s with his fastball to go along with a cutter, a slider, a curveball, and a changeup. The former three secondary pitches have both shown potential, and even the changeup has its moments. It’s pretty incredible that the Marlins let go of a pitcher that has shown ability with five different pitches. Sanchez’s issues, though, have been command and getting a feel for when to use his pitches, and at 24 years old, he is running out of time.
As Sanchez enters the Rays organization, it would not be surprising for them to start phasing his slider entirely out of his arsenal. Sanchez already throws an effective cutter, and having both pitches simply gives Sanchez too much to think about. Then, in regards to the cutter, the Rays will likely have him start throwing it less. We have seen with Matt Moore how throwing a cutter can mess with a pitcher’s fastball command, and making the pitch a true secondary offering instead of a pitch he is often using instead of his fastball could help it fool hitters more often. Even if Sanchez’s command never comes along, though, his electric fastball gives him a chance to be a late-inning reliever. Somewhere inside Angel Sanchez is a number three starting pitcher or better. Even if he doesn’t get there, though, the Rays realize that they are still acquiring a player that can provide them with value. Also worth noting is that Sanchez will have two more options after this season, giving the Rays time to get him right.
As noted by RJ Anderson, the Rays found themselves first in waiver priority, and they seized that opportunity to find an interesting pitcher. Sanchez has work to do as he hopes to continue refining his arsenal, but the Rays have themselves another pitcher to watch out of the bullpen and just maybe out of the rotation. Losing is terrible, but getting Angel Sanchez because of it is one positive.