Jonathan Sanchez: What do you think?

| January 20, 2009

I can’t figure out what the deal is with Giants fans and Jonathan Sanchez. Even though his numbers don’t seem to indicate much, it seems like every Giants fan I run into still loves the guy. Am I just running into the wrong people, or is that how you feel about the guy?

Over his first 250 innings in the majors — not a small sample size — he has a 5.18 ERA, and he’s walked 4.5 batters per nine innings. The only time he’s pitched consistently well is a 14-game stretch early last year, and even then he was still walking guys (41 in 87 innings).

But maybe I’m missing something. I looked up to see how common it was for a pitcher to have a WHIP over 1.5 in his first three seasons, and then still have a good career. This list is full of mostly nobodies, with the exception of Roy Halladay, Jason Schmidt, Kelvim Escobar and Ryan Dempster. (Even among that group, Halladay is the only one with no “but…” attached to his career.)

Then there are Sanchez’s minor league numbers. He walked only 3.5 hitters per nine, while striking out 11.9. If he could get to that level in the majors, he’d certainly see some better results. I tend to believe those numbers are more indicative of the fact that minor league hitters are more aggressive than major league hitters, as opposed to Sanchez somehow having had better control back then.

But I want to know what you think. What type of major league pitcher do you think Jonathan Sanchez will become?