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.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.