The Padres apparently may have some interest in Giants’ left-hander Jonathan Sanchez. Let’s take a quick look at Sanchez:
Contract/age – Sanchez is under team control (arbitration eligible) through 2012. Also, he’s only 26 years old.
Strikeouts and home runs – Sanchez has done a fine job in two of the “three true outcomes,” strikeouts and homers. In his Major League career, he’s struck out 22% of the batters he’s faced, and he’s only allowed 31 homers in 320 innings.
BABiP – Sanchez’s career BABiP is .334. Clearly, he’s established a level of performance here that is higher than the norm (around .300), but there’s more luck/randomness involved, so we should still expect a good amount of regression. His expected BABiP going forward is probably like .320 or so (maybe lower), which would help his overall numbers.
FIP – This stat, which only considers k’s, walks, and homers, kind of blends the last two paragraphs together. Sanchez’s career FIP is 4.19, which is pretty solid.
The walks – His career walk rate is 12%; this year it sits at 14%. While it is not out of the question that he can harness his control, it’s tougher said than done – and it could have repercussions on the rest of his game.
Innings – Sanchez has averaged just 5.2 innings per start in his career (5.1 this year). Due to the high number of walks/pitches, he just doesn’t go very far into games. Even if he managed to make 30 starts in a season, he’d only pitch about 156 innings at this rate.
Performance – As much as we like to look at peripherals, expected future performance, and all that, his performance just hasn’t been that good. In almost 320 innings, he’s put up a 5.21 ERA in the NL.
At a glance, Sanchez is probably a (confident) pitching coaches dream. I mean, he obviously has pretty good stuff, and he’s put up some very promising numbers. If he could drop his walk rate significantly, while maintaining high strikeout numbers and low homer totals, he still has a chance to be a very good pitcher. I don’t think the chances of that happening are high, but he remains an intriguing option for a team like the Padres.