AFL hitters not getting to Sanchez

Top Toronto prospect continues to put up zeros for Salt River

Aaron Sanchez has struck out 10 batters over 13 1/3 AFL innings. (Jason Wise/

By Ashley Marshall | October 28, 2013 3:02 PM ET

Aaron Sanchez had seven days between his first two starts and six more between his second and third outings. Back on a regular schedule with four days of rest between appearances, the top Toronto prospect looked locked in and ready to compete.

First-rounder Sanchez allowed one hit over 4 1/3 scoreless innings to lead the Salt River Rafters past the Mesa Solar Sox, 3-2, in the Arizona Fall League on Monday.'s No. 20 prospect struck out four batters and issued three walks in lowering his ERA to 1.35.

"I felt good. I was bumped up a day, so I was on my normal five," Sanchez said. "I felt good. ... I'm just trying to get innings. All I need is mound experience. I want to attack the zone and have fun. That's the biggest thing, having fun."

He set down the first nine batters he faced before surrendering a leadoff single to Addison Russell (A's) to start the fourth inning.

Brian Goodwin (Nationals) sacrificed Russell to second and Cubs prospects Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler followed with walks around Angels prospect C.J. Cron's popup. But Sanchez struck out Tyler Collins to end the threat.

Sanchez fanned Devon Travis (Tigers) to start the fifth frame, but he came out of the game after walking Matt Skole (Nationals).

The 34th overall pick in the 2010 Draft helped the Rafters win their fourth consecutive game and improve to 8-9 overall.

"We're just trying to put good at bats together each inning and the pitching staff just wants to attack hitters," he said. "We faced a tough lineup today, so we've got to be on our toes. Anyone can come up with a big hit and we've seen it happen. The ball can leave the yard. We're just putting a little more at bats together. The pitching staff is going after it

"We're out here with the best of the best and that's where I want to be. You have to be on your game or something can go south real quick. It's fun good to be out here with good competition and that's where I want to be."

The California native has been strong through the first three weeks of Fall League play. He allowed one hit over three innings in his AFL debut against Mesa on Oct. 10 and fired four hitless frames last time out in Surprise on Wednesday. The only runs the right-hander has allowed came against Glendale when he yielded two on three hits and a pair of walks over two innings.

The 21-year-old went 4-5 with a 3.34 ERA in 22 Florida State League games -- including 20 starts -- for Class A Advanced Dunedin this year. He struck out 75 batters over 86 1/3 innings and held opponents to a .202 average.

On Monday, Salt River's Tyler Matzek (Rockies, 1-1) retired all five batters he faced to earn his first win of the fall. Blue Jays first-rounder Marcus Stroman worked a scoreless seventh, Lee Stoppelman (Cardinals) allowed two runs in the eighth and Jake Barrett (D-backs) worked around a ninth-inning hit to collect his second save.

Third baseman Jake Lamb (D-backs) went 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored and designated hitter Andy Burns (Blue Jays) collected a pair of hits, an RBI and a run scored. Shortstop Cristhian Adames (Rockies) plated the Rafters' other run.

Mesa's Tommy Collier (Tigers) allowed three hits and a walk over five scoreless innings, but did not factor in the decision. Fellow Detroit farmhand Kenny Faulk (1-1) surrendered two runs on two hits over one inning of relief.

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @AshMarshallMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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