Mariners News: M’s Select RHP Isaac Sanchez in Rule 5 Draft


The Seattle Mariners added a young right-handed pitcher during the minor-league phase of Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft

Major League Baseball’s annual Rule 5 Draft was held on Thursday morning at the Winter Meetings in Nashville, TN. The M’s were ineligible during the Major League phase given that they have a full 40-man roster, but Jerry Dipoto could not resist adding yet another player to the organization. Seattle selected Isaac Sanchez from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the minor-league phase.

Mariners vice president of player personnel Tom Allison told reporters that the 23-year-old right-hander is a favorite of the analytics department:

"“Issac was a guy who our analytics (people) really liked. We think he adds some depth to organization. He does profile more as a reliever for us, but we’ll see when we get him into the hands of our PD (player development) staff in spring training.”"

Sanchez joined the Pirates organization as a 17-year-old, but has yet to progress past the High-A level. In 2010, he appeared in 6 games for Pittsburgh’s affiliate in the Dominican Summer League. Sanchez went 1-0 and posted a 1.04 ERA in 8.2 innings of work.

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After making one appearance in the Dominican Summer League in 2011, Sanchez was promoted to the Gulf Coast Pirates of the Gulf Coast League. He did a nice job in rookie ball, going 4-0 with a 4.68 ERA through 16 appearances. Sanchez struck out 20 and walked 17 across 32.2 innings.

Sanchez began the 2012 season with the Gulf Coast Pirates, but finished the year with the State College Spikes of the New York-Pennsylvania League. He went 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA in 15 appearances for the Pirates. Sanchez struck out 19 and walked 10 through 24 innings of work. He struggled in limited opportunities with the Spikes, going 0-2 with a 13.50 ERA across 3 appearances.

The Bronx, NY product spent the entire 2013 season with the Jamestown Jammers of the New York-Pennsylvania League. The Jammers utilized Sanchez in the starting rotation, as 13 of his 14 appearances came as a starting pitcher. He fared well, going 1-1 and registering a 3.45 ERA. Sanchez fanned 47 and issued 26 free passes across 57.1 innings.

Sanchez was promotend to the Pirates Single-A affiliate in West Virginia in 2014, but the club decided to move him back to the bullpen. He was reasonably effective working out of the Power ‘pen, going 3-4 and posting a 4.45 ERA in 42 appearances. Sanchez struck out 48 and walked 20 through 56.2 innings. He registered a career best strikeout to walk ratio of 2.40.

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2015 was Sanchez’s best as a pro, and is likely what caught the attention of the Mariners’ analytics department. He spent the entire campaign with the Pirates’ High-A affiliate, the Bradenton Marauders of the Florida League. Sanchez went 2-3 with a 2.71 ERA across 42 appearances. He struck out 51 and walked 24 through 66.1 innings pitched. Sanchez limited the opposition to 1.266 walks/hits per inning.

Unlike the players selected in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft, Isaac Sanchez is not required to stay on the Mariners 25-man roster to remain with the organization. Sanchez has steadily improved with every professional season, but he is likely at least another two years away from reaching the big leagues.

Next: M's Acquire Adam Lind from the Brewers

It will be interesting to see what the Mariners decide to do with Sanchez. He has started 14 games during his minor-league career, but his size (6’0/170) suggests he is best suited for a bullpen role.