Is Anibal Sanchez’s 2011 repeatable?By
Anibal Sanchez was the most valuable member of the Miami Marlins pitching staff in 2011 according to fWAR. His 3.8 fWAR total was only bested by Giancarlo Stanton (known as Mike Stanton back then) on team. Sanchez set career best marks in innings pitched, xFIP, strikeouts, K/9, and BB/9.
This was only the second time Sanchez has topped 195 innings in his career and only the third time he has even hit triple-digit innings. But back-to-back seasons with 32 starts make me believe the nagging injuries are behind him. With those injuries in Sanchez’s rearview mirror can we expect him to repeat the success he had in 2011?
Anibal, much like Gaby, had a distinct difference in his half seasons. Take a look at his numbers when we split his 32 starts in half:
|Stat||First 16||Second 16|
As you can see, Sanchez’s ERA rose nearly two full runs as his HR/FB rate and H/9 jumped and his BABIP took a large leap in the wrong direction. His BB/9 also went up but he increased his K/9 while maintaining a similar GB/FB ratio. In case you were wondering, his line-drives allowed were almost identical at 54 in the first half and 53 in the second half.
Sanchez’s two best pitches last season were his fastball and his change-up. His wFB was +5.4 and his wCH was also +5.4 while his curveball was the only pitch worth negative value at -5.0 wCB. His slider was +0.4 wSL. Unsurprisingly, Sanchez used his fastball and change-up more often and his curveball less often in the first 16 games of the season.
|Pitch||First 16||Second 16|
Sanchez’s change in approach could have been the reason he saw in increase in his walk rate and his HR/FB rate but with his line-drives remaining the same and his strikeout rate increasing I have to lean towards the Luck Dragons rearing their ugly head as to why Sanchez had more struggles in the second half of his season.
With that said, if Sanchez sticks to his normal approach and the Luck Dragons remain neutral I see no reason why Sanchez should not be as good as or better than his 2011 season and he could be the most valuable pitcher on the Miami Marlins staff once again.