Sixto Sanchez, the former Phillies top pitching prospect who was traded to Miami for J.T. Realmuto in February 2019, has been diagnosed with a tear in his right shoulder and will require season-ending surgery, the Marlins announced on Monday.
Sanchez, who turns 24 later this month, debuted in the majors with a triple-digit fastball and big strikeout totals for Miami last season. He pitched seven shutout innings, walked one and struck out 10 against Tampa Bay in his second big-league start last August and later beat the Phillies with seven innings of one-run ball.
Sanchez pitched just 39 innings last season and was considered a top candidate for the National League rookie of the year award coming into 2021, but his season never got off the ground. He was slowed by a visa issue and a sore shoulder in spring training. He spent the last few months rehabbing the shoulder with hopes of pitching in the second half of the season, but that plan was derailed by a recent setback.
The Marlins said they hope to have the right-hander ready for spring training 2022.
The Phillies first noticed Sanchez, a converted shortstop, in the fall of 2014 when he was brought in by a scout to pitch batting practice to a catching prospect that the team was looking at in the Dominican Republic. The Phils passed on the catcher but signed Sanchez for $35,000. In time, he became their top pitching prospect, showing power stuff and excellent control.
He was traded along with catcher Jorge Alfaro and minor-league pitcher Will Stewart for Realmuto just before spring training began in 2019.
Realmuto was named to his second National League All-Star team as a Phillie on Sunday.