A Thought on Brian Sanches | The Process Report

A Thought on Brian Sanches

When the Padres acquired Pat Neshek earlier this week, I wondered aloud whether the Rays placed a waiver claim on the sidearming righty. Despite the bullpen being about a decision away from completion, the team has some flexibility if it finds someone on the waiver wire intriguing enough to add –even if it means Jake McGee is the only lefty in the pen on Opening Day.

There’s about an out-of-options guy per team whose name could pop up on the waiver wire over the next week. Some, like Jose Ascaino and Jose Arredondo, are unlikely to contribute from a physical standpoint. Others, like Joey Devine are constant questions marks, and then there’s folks like Romulo Sanchez and Carlos Rosca who appear interesting, but have enough faults to dissuade too much interest. There are two names in particular I’d like to focus on and Matt Albers was one of them, yet he’s either embattled in a machination to free his path to Japan or still in the Red Sox’s plans depending on who you believe. As a ROOGY type who gets groundballs and has stuff to spare, keep an eye on him. As for the other arm, meet Brian Sanches

The Marlins spent the offseason retooling their bullpen. Trades of Dan Uggla and Cameron Maybin brought back Mike Dunn, Eduardo Mujica, and Ryan Webb. They also signed old pal Randy Choate, giving the Fish a locked-in squad to go with Leo Nunez and Clay Hensley. The moving and shaking leaves one spot left for either Burke Badenhop or Sanches, but the competition is apparently between a few of the new guys and Sanches. If I had my druthers, Sanches will lose out because he could be a fit here.

Sanches may remind you a little bit of Joe Nelson in narrative and ability. He’s bounced around the minors and the National League East for years until latching on with the Marlins for two really strong seasons (by ERA standards at least). He doesn’t throw hard –his fastball averages in the high-80s— but he tosses a splitter which makes him effective against batters of both hands:

Versus RHB
2009 – .227/.324/.361
2010 – .195/.263/.325

Versus LHB
2009 – .245/.349/.340
2010 – .192/.302/.333

The only problem with Sanches is an on-again, off-again understanding of the strike zone. His home run rates have remained small despite a mediocre fastball and high flyball rate, but I’m not certain that means he’s somehow a lock to continue to avoid gopherballs. Still, when he gets ahead, his splitter can make it lights out on opposing hitters. Of course, all of these reasons to have interest in him apply to other teams too, many of whom are above the Rays in the waiver line.

One Comment

  1. budman3 wrote:

    I’m not sure the Rays want to go the route of out of option guys for the pen. The caveat of having to keep them on the roster and having to clear waivers if they don’t work out all season is something they seem to avoid. I do think they are looking for another experienced arm that could fit their pen that they could swing a deal for or claim but has options left to increase flexibility during the season.

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