The K Zone 

by Maddie Marriott

July 23rd, 2018

Anyone who pays attention to Major League Baseball has heard about former Baltimore Oriole, Manny Machado, being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers this past week.  Many thought the All-Star power hitter and infielder would be coming to the Philadelphia Phillies, but in the end, the Dodgers’ offer won out and they were able to add the All-Star slugger to their roster.

Rumors of a handshake deal bringing Machado to Philadelphia circulated around the league earlier this week and likely made their way to the Dodgers, who upped their offer and beat out the Phillies to bring Machado to L.A. There is no doubt that Machado would have made a great edition to the already successful Phillies.  Although they are first in the NL East, the Phillies are one of the worst hitting teams in the MLB.  In the first half of the season, Machado had a higher batting average, slugging percentage, and on base percentage than any of the Phillies, as well as more home runs and RBIs.  With a 2.9 WAR and a batting average of .317 so far in 2018, almost everyone here in Philly would have liked to see Machado swinging in a Phillies jersey.  But, it’s also worth asking the question: How much is he worth giving up?

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The final terms of the trade between the Orioles and the Dodgers included the Dodgers’ prospects Yusniel Diaz, Dean Kremer (who was the first Israeli to be drafted by a major league team in 2015), Zach Pop, Rylan Bannon, and Breyvic Valera in exchange for Machado.  Since Corey Seager, the Dodgers’ primary shortstop, is out for the rest of the 2018 season, the aggressive and even risky move makes sense for the Dodgers.  But, with Machado becoming a free agent at the end of this season, some would say they gave up too much.

 I can only assume this was an issue for the Phillies, who were reportedly willing to give up some of their top prospects to get Machado, including pitcher Adonis Medina, pitcher Franklyn Kilome, outfielder Jhailyn Ortiz, and infielder Arquimedes Gamboa, all in the top 10 in their list of prospects.  However, there is one prospect that, as Bob Brookover of The Inquirer wrote, is on their “don’t-even-bother-asking list.” That would be Sixto Sánchez, nineteen year-old pitcher from the Dominican Republic.

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So, how does Sánchez stack up against other pitchers? Let’s start with some stats.  Sánchez has made eight starts for the Clearwater Threshers of the Florida State League so far in the 2018 season.  He’s pitched a complete game and has an ERA of 2.51, well under the Florida State League average of 3.57.  His WHIP, or walks plus hits per innings pitched, is an impressive 1.071.  According to FanGraphs, anything above 1.1 is considered “great.” The average WHIP of the whole league is 1.31.  In 46.2 innings pitched, Sánchez has given up only one home run and eleven walks.  His strikeout to walk ratio in 2018 is 4.09, well above the Florida State League average of 2.59.  Sánchez falls in the top 25 in the league for these four stats. Phillies pitchers have given up home runs in important situations this year, but not Sánchez.  The fact that he has only given up one home run in forty six innings means that his average number of home runs he gives up per nine innings is 0.2.  His fastball has been clocked at a whopping 102 mph.

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Just as important as his stats is his attitude.  How Sánchez rebounds from his current elbow injury will be the next step in determining whether he will be successful with the Phillies.  Talent, which Sánchez clearly has, isn’t the only ingredient to success.  Whether keeping Sánchez was worth losing Machado to the Dodgers remains to be seen.  There are no guarantees with prospects, but also no guarantees for an upcoming free agent.  While Machado may be a safer bet for this season because of his already proven talent, I believe that keeping Sánchez is a better option for the future of the Phillies organization.   He has been compared to Pedro Martinez because of his size, skill, and country of origin. The people of Philadelphia can only hope that he lives up to the career of the All-Star and Hall of Famer.

34e93509f4b0cb589dc616a980b90e28_crop_exact(all credit for images goes to original owners)

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