Jonathan Othniel Sanchez
1982 - 2013
That went about as we expected it to.
In all seriousness, here, word-for-word, is what I wrote in the season preview at the beginning of April:
Jonathan Sanchez joined the Pirates as a non-roster invitee to spring training. Formerly of the Giants, Royals and Rockies, Sanchez has a repertoire that includes a low-90s fastball, a curveball, a changeup and a slider with outstanding late break. He's produced the second-best swing-and-miss rate among all starting pitchers over the last four years (12 percent), and the highest walk rate in the same demographic (12.7 percent). His five-year Nuke Index is .662, and came in last year at .408 in limited Major League time. So the outstanding repertoire of pitches he can't control, combined with three guys being hurt and the Pirates having no confidence whatsoever in their organizational depth led to Sanchez "earning" a spot in the starting rotation. If he sticks in the rotation, look for Sanchez to lead the league in wild pitches.Now, here we are on the final day of April, and the only time Jonathan Sanchez was able to find the strike zone involved him giving up back-to-back home runs to lead off a game, followed by a hard-hit single. I think it's patently absurd that Tim Timmons immediately ran him from the game after he drilled the next hitter, and even more ridiculous that the league suspended Sanchez six games for the incident. If history is any indication of anything (and it is) Jonathan Sanchez couldn't throw at someone deliberately if he wanted to. He has no idea where any given pitch will go once it leaves his hand.
In that preview, we debuted Nuke Index. I was going to wait for the first month of the season to officially end before calculating the first round, but seeing as how Jonathan Sanchez's April is over...
I remind you, the sample size is incredibly small, but by no means was Jonathan Sanchez ever in control. Here's how the other numbers round out:
0-3, 11.85 ERA, 5 G, 4 GS, 0 GF*, 13.6 IP, 25 H, 18 R, 18 ER, 7 HR, 8 BB, 15 K, 75 BF (min. for 13.6 innings is 41, so just 34 over the minimum), 2.415 WHIP, 9.65 FIP, 31 ERA+ (which, if I'm doing the math correctly, means he was something like 23 percent worse than the league average).
I have to give Sanchez some credit, though. He found the strike zone a great deal this year, as evidenced by his contact rates. That's why you want a guy like Russell Martin. The value of that pitch framing is really coming into focus. I'm just going to let Fangraphs do the work here. Do you guys know about Fangraphs? It's a really great site with baseball statistics! Neal Huntington said he knows about it!
So, yeah. This went about as expected. I'm eager to do the same thing at this time next year after Francisco Liriano, entering the second and final season of his contract, finally gets to 13 innings pitched as a Pirate.
*Jonathan Sanchez is the active leader among all pitchers for consecutive starts of six innings or fewer. His last quality start (at least 6.0 IP, three or fewer runs allowed) occurred on June 18, 2012 (6 IP, 3 ER). Prior to that, he went a year without throwing one. On June 12, 2011, he allowed just two runs on five hits and walked five.