Many agree that the Blue Jays have a starting pitching problem at present. Aaron Sanchez is doing his best to prove that at least their future at the position looks bright.
Toronto's top prospect tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings Friday, scattering three hits and three walks, in the Jays' 5-0 win over the Rays.
Sanchez didn't allow more than two baserunners in any frame. With only two strikeouts on the afternoon, he pitched well to contact, collecting eight groundouts -- three of which resulted in double plays -- compared to just one flyout.
The 21-year-old right-hander has not allowed a run in four Spring Training appearances (12 1/3 innings), yielding nine hits and six walks while striking out eight.
Sanchez went 4-5 with a 3.34 ERA, 75 strikeouts and 40 walks in 86 1/3 innings at Class A Advanced Dunedin last season. He missed about four weeks between May and June with a shoulder injury, and the Jays limited his innings the rest of the way -- he tossed five or more innings only four times out of 13 post-injury appearances.
MLB.com's No. 23 prospect impressed during his time in the Arizona Fall League, where he produced a 1.16 ERA to go with 21 strikeouts and 11 walks in 23 1/3 innings. Although his notable performances in the fall and spring have caught some Major League eyes, the 6-foot-4 hurler remains on a normal developmental track, although that could be sped up with an even better start to the regular season.
"[H]e's not going to make the team," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons told The Canadian Press earlier this week. "He'll go down to the Minor Leagues. But he's a guy, you know when he's ready, we'll open up a spot for him because we think he can be that good. But he's right where he should be. Those pitchers that go out to the Fall League and pitch well -- pitchers and position players -- that usually jump-starts them and you get a good feeling that they're close, because guys jump from that league all the time."
Olt gets two hits, Baez exits early: Mike Olt smacked his first double of the spring as the Cubs beat the crosstown rival White Sox, 7-0. Serving as DH, the Cubs' No. 14 prospect went 2-for-4 with a walk and a run scored in his second multi-hit game in Cactus League play. MLB.com's No. 7 overall prospect, Javier Baez, left early with a right hand contusion after going 1-for-3 to extend his hitting steak to five games.
Marisnick maintains hot streak: Marlins No. 3 prospect Jake Marisnick went 3-for-3 with a double and two runs scored from the second spot in Miami's lineup during the team's 7-2 win over Houston. The outfielder, who turns 23 on March 30, is 12-for-24 since March 10, raising his Grapefruit League average to .429. His hot Spring Training has put him in the conversation for Miami's Opening Day center field spot.