Aaron Sanchez likely to open 2016 as a starter

AP Photo/Gail Burton

Aaron Sanchez has a 1.67 ERA in 59 1/3 career innings as a reliever and he played a major role in the Blue Jays’ bullpen during the club’s run to the 2015 ALCS, but the 23-year-old is expected to enter spring training in 2016 as a strong candidate for the starting rotation.

Mark Buehrle is considering retirement and both David Price and Marco Estrada are free agents, so there will be openings in Toronto.

Sanchez debuted in 2014 as a reliever and then shifted to rotation work at the beginning of 2015. He was moved back to relief this past July after missing two months with a lat injury.

The former first-round pick has been rated a top-50 prospect by MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus each of the last three years. A starting role is where he can maximize his potential.