Stats don’t tell all about fast-rising pitcher

Contributing writerJune 22, 2014 

Seattle Mariners teenage pitching prospect Victor Sanchez made some news right before the Southern League All-Star break, throwing a two-hit shutout (in seven innings) in the second game of a doubleheader on June 13.

In that game against Miami Marlins Double-A affiliate Jacksonville, Sanchez struck out eight batters and walked three. It left his season numbers at 3-2 with a 4.06 ERA.

Those numbers do not jump off the page, but this one does: Sanchez is only 19 years old, and he regularly faces hitters who are at least five years older.

The Mariners pushed Sanchez to Double-A after a strong season at Single-A Clinton last year, skipping Advanced-A High Desert.

“The biggest thing about going to Double-A is you don’t want to be afraid of the hitters and walk guys,” said Mariners minor league pitching coordinator Terry Clark. “We knew Victor wouldn’t do that. He’s a big-time competitor and he’s going to challenge guys.”

Control is key for the right-hander. In 44 innings prior to Saturday, he had issued 12 walks while striking out 39. He has major league stuff.

“He’ll run it up to 94 (mph) at times, and he sits 90 to 92,” Clark said. “His change-up is outstanding — it’s big-league ready right now — and his curveball is coming around.”

Sanchez made just his 10th start of the season Saturday after missing a month with shoulder soreness. The Mariners used the down time to encourage Sanchez to improve his eating habits – he is listed at 6-feet tall and 255 pounds.

“He’s built like a Mack Truck,” said Clark. “If you see this guy walking down the street, he doesn’t look like a pitcher. I call him a smaller version of Bartolo Colon. He doesn’t throw as hard as Bartolo, but he’s built the exact same way.”

IOWA ADDS POWER

One of the top power-hitting prospects in all of professional baseball was promoted to Triple-A Iowa of the Pacific Coast League on Thursday.

The Chicago Cubs moved third baseman Kris Bryant up from Double-A Tennessee after he laid waste to Southern League pitching. Bryant hit .355 with 22 home runs and 58 RBIs in 68 games prior to his promotion.

In his first game for Iowa on Thursday, Bryant ripped a two-run home against El Paso.

The 22-year-old was the second player selected in the 2013 draft. He joins fellow power-hitting prospect Javier Baez in the Iowa lineup.

Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.

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