Aaron Sanchez has been one of the best pitchers in the league for the Toronto Blue Jays. But, as the team appears ready to move him to the bullpen, what would the transition do to his fantasy value?
There are not too many more superlatives that can be said about the performance by Aaron Sanchez this season for the Blue Jays. He came into Spring Training focused and physically rebuilt, and he has not disappointed since he won a starting job. But, to the chagrin and Jays’ fans and fantasy owners alike, the team looks ready to move him to the bullpen in an effort to “protect” his arm.
Sanchez’s, 10 W/2.87 ERA/1.17 WHIP/108 K line, ranks as one of the best in MLB, and he has cemented himself as the true ace of Toronto’s staff. He has thrown for 125 innings this season, the highest total of his career, and his highest total in one season since 2014. Therein lies Toronto’s concerns, and the only reason that the bullpen move is being discussed.
The Jays are currently 1.5 GB in the AL East, but do own one of the wildcard spots. They still posses a high octane offense, and compared to the other AL East teams ahead of them, the Jays have the deeper starting rotation. But, that changes once Sanchez moves to a set up or long relief role. Sanchez’s move looks more eminent than ever, and it appears as though the organization is ready to make it happen relatively soon.
From a fantasy perspective, the only silver lining from Sanchez’s move, would that he could be placed back into the set up role, which is were owners have seen him dominate before. He can still provide plenty of value in those leagues that award Holds, and as owners have seen the last two seasons, his stuff is simply overpowering out of the ‘pen. While Roberto Osuna has been tremendous as usual, Drew Storen has predictably struggled and has become a huge liability, clearly opening a path for Sanchez to fill in.
Aaron Sanchez’s performance can not be replaced off the waiver wire this late into the season. The Jays have floated the idea of replacing Sanchez with Jesse Chavez, but even though Chavez has had spurts of decent fantasy value, he would not become a must add off the wire.
Even though the team’s goal is to make sure they do not derail Sanchez’s career, he is still only 22-years-old after all, there is no proof that taking him out of the rotation will help his career. Players like Stephen Strasburg, Matt Harvey, and do not forget about the usage of Joba Chamberlain early in his career, have all disproved the idea. Therefore, it is obvious why the move has plenty of doubters and naysayers.
Aaron Sanchez’s future is bright, and his fantasy value this season was a welcome addition for those fantasy owners that gambled on him late in drafts. Unfortunately, this serves as a rare time where fans and fantasy owners both agree that the move just does not make sense.