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June 2, 2014

Notes from the Field

Studying Aaron Sanchez

by Chris Mellen


Over the course of a season, I like to get multiple looks at a starting pitcher prospect as a baseline for establishing developmental trends and gauging progression. Similar to when sitting on a position player prospect for a series or stretch of games, there can be variability from look to look in regards to what you see. It’s possible, for instance, that in an isolated appearance a pitcher is working on one particular pitch or certain aspect of his game that doesn’t reveal the full scope of his arsenal. Or, the arm just doesn’t have it, for whatever reason, on a given night. It’s important when building the book to be able to reference reports from various points in time to compare, contrast, and look for clues that assist with making projections.

Aaron Sanchez entered the season high on my radar, and I knew I’d get plenty of opportunities to see him over the course of 2014 given his assignment to the Eastern League. As things would line up, I was able to catch Sanchez three times over the course of the first six weeks of the season, and build a solid base on which to follow up deeper into the schedule.

First report: April 15th.
The initial look at Sanchez showed premium raw stuff, especially his fastball and curveball. Both pitches can be very nasty on hitters. However, an area of need quickly emerged during the look: the consistency of the pitcher’s fastball command.

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