Sixto Sanchez made a trip to eastern Pennsylvania this week, but it wasn’t to the place the Phillies had hoped to send him this summer.
Sanchez, the team’s much-heralded top pitching prospect, had been nearing a promotion from Single A Clearwater to Double A Reading. That move is now on hold as the 19-year-old phenom deals with right elbow inflammation. Sanchez was examined by team doctors in Philadelphia this week and though nothing serious was discovered the team has placed him on the minor-league disabled list as a precaution.
“There was nothing that was shown that told us he needs surgery,” director of player development Joe Jordan said on Saturday. “Obviously, everyone knows who he is. So we’re just going to take a couple weeks and let it calm down and then re-evaulate it.”
Sanchez, who turns 20 on July 29, had been on quite a roll at Clearwater. Over his last four starts, he had allowed just two earned runs in 25 2/3 innings while striking out 29 and walking four. In his last start on June 3, he delivered seven shutout innings, walked two and struck out five in a win over the Florida Fire Frogs. He reported to the ballpark the next day complaining of elbow tenderness.
“He’s been on an awesome run,” Jordan said. “He just came in a little inflamed so we’re going to be cautious.”
For the season, Sanchez is 4-3 with a 2.51 ERA in eight starts at Clearwater. He has registered 45 strikeouts and walked 11 in 46 2/3 innings.
Sanchez is a converted shortstop. The Phillies discovered him while he pitched batting practice to another prospect in his native Dominican Republic in the fall of 2014. He quickly showed mound presence and pitching savvy and his mix of control and power stuff has made him one of baseball’s top pitching prospects and an untouchable in all trade discussions. The Phillies envision him being a mainstay in their rotation in the coming years. They will hold their breath a little until he is back on the mound pitching without issue.