Lost in the excitement of the emergence of the Cardinals latest wave of power arms is St. Louis bullpenner Eduardo Sanchez.
The righty got off on the wrong foot in 2012, irritating management in spring training by trying to strike out every bat he faced instead of pitching efficiently. The result was that the front office surprisingly shipped out a kid who had a 1.80 ERA in 30 innings pitched for the 2011 World Series champions, apparently to teach him a lesson.
I understand the logic. But the move had terrible results.
Unfortunately, Sanchez melted down in Memphis where he was 2-3 with a 5.86 ERA. He struck out 26 in 27 2/3 innings. But he walked a completely unacceptable hitters to help account for his terrible average of more than 1.7 baserunners allowed per inning. When the Cardinals summoned Sanchez to the big leagues, he struck out 13 hitters in 15 innings. He also walked 13 batters and allowed 11 11 hits to account for an unsightly 6.60 ERA.
It looked pretty grim.
But let's not forget that Sanchez won't be 24 years old until spring training. I'm a lot less concerned about his attitude than I am about the shoulder that caused him troubles when he was in the big leagues.
Sanchez didn't appear to be a guy who didn't deserve to make the roster in 2012. In camp he certainly appeared to have the goods. When he's right, his stuff gives opposing hitters fits. He just needs to stop nibbling in search of strikeouts when it's very tough for batters to center his pitches if they're forced to swing. I think a lot of calls go against him because his pitches break so sharply that they often fool umpires.
He just needs some refinement. He is pitching for Aragua in the Caribbean league where he has hurled two innings with two strikeouts -- and three walks. He's allowed one hit which gives opponents a .167 batting average against.
Let's hope the Birds can bring him back around because, especially if the Cardinals plan to use Trevor Rosenthal as a starter, Sanchez is good enough to be the closer of the future. And right now he can be good enough to be that guy who comes in with a guy on third and one out in the sixth to try to save a one-run lead by strikeout.
He's too valuable to give up on at this point.