One trade, one cross-country move and two starts under his belt, Jake Sanchez appears to be adjusting to the California League just fine.
The Athletics prospect struck out nine over seven innings in matching the longest start of his career Saturday night as Class A Advanced Stockton cruised to a 10-0 victory over Bakersfield at Sam Lynn Ballpark.
Exactly two weeks before his first Cal League win, Sanchez (1-0) was shipped to the A's for outfielder Michael Taylor, and he jumped a level in the process. After a stellar first half with the White Sox Class A affiliate in Kannapolis, the Iowa Wesleyan product joined the Ports' rotation and has shown no signs of slowing down.
Against the Blaze, Sanchez went to work with a lead, thanks to two-run homer by A's No. 3 prospect Daniel Robertson in the top of the first inning. That would've been enough for the 24-year-old right-hander.
Sanchez worked around a pair of hits in the opening frame and a double in the third. He faced the minimum over his final four innings and retired the last 11 batters he faced.
After beginning the season in the bullpen for six appearances, which netted him three saves and two wins with Kannapolis, Sanchez has made 11 starts across two levels. Through his first two outings in the notoriously hitter-friendly Cal League, he has a 1.38 ERA and .174 opponents' batting average.
Sanchez recorded five outs on the ground and five in the air while falling one strikeout shy of the career high he recorded in a win at Rome on April 25.
"I never really minded going to the bullpen. I've been told by coaches I would do well. I don't mind either or, I get to play the game of baseball, so whatever will extend my career, they know more than I do," Sanchez said after that win. "I just do what's needed."
The Ports continued to add on to their early advantage. A's No. 2 prospect Billy McKinney singled in a run in the fourth and helped Stockton break open the game late. He led off a four-run seventh with his 10th homer, and the Ports tacked on three runs in the ninth.
Bakersfield's Daniel Wright (4-1) matched Sanchez in strikeouts but gave up three runs on four hits and two walks over six innings and took the loss.