Blue Jays move prospect Aaron Sanchez to bullpen in Triple-A; majors the next step?

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Aaron Sanchez is considered the Blue Jays’ top pitching prospect, but the team appears prepared to give him his first taste of the majors in a relief role.

Jeff Blair of Sportsnet 590 The Fan passes along word that the Blue Jays have moved Sanchez to the bullpen with Triple-A Buffalo. The thought is that he could be promoted to the Blue Jays within 10 days.

Sanchez, a supplemental first-round pick from 2010, has posted a 3.94 ERA and 82/57 K/BB ratio over 98 1/3 innings this season between Double- and Triple-A. The 22-year-old right-hander has never thrown more than 90 1/3 innings in a season in pro ball prior to 2014, so the Blue Jays are looking to protect his workload. A short-term move to the bullpen might be the best way to accomplish that, especially given the team’s needs at the major league level. Blue Jays relievers are 27th in the majors this season with a 4.39 ERA.

Alex Wood to try pitching out of the stretch

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Pedro Moura of The Athletic reports that Dodgers starter Alex Wood plans to pitch out of the stretch throughout the 2018 season. Wood got the idea when he watched Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg pitch against the Dodgers.

Wood, 27, finished last season 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA and a 151/38 K/BB ratio in 152 1/3 innings. That’s a mighty fine season, one in which many pitchers would not dare to mess with something that isn’t broken.

Interestingly, Wood indeed has had better results with runners on base — when he would pitch out of the stretch — as opposed to the bases being empty, with a respective OPS allowed of .523 versus .684, respectively. Over his career, he has allowed a .617 OPS with runners on and .706 with the bases empty.

In response to Moura’s tweet about Wood, retired pitchers Dan Haren and Jered Weaver took the opportunity to burn themselves. Haren tweeted, “I pitched a few seasons completely out of the stretch actually, just not by choice.” Weaver responded, “Sometimes I would just step off and throw the ball in the gap myself because I knew the hitter would do it anyways.”