Phillies top prospect Sixto Sanchez is dealing with elbow inflammation. (Brandon Apter/SportsTalkPhilly)
It hasn't exactly been a prosperous 24-hour period for the Philadelphia Phillies. Friday night, Ryan Braun continued his dominance over the Phillies, launching two home runs in a 12-4 Phillies loss. Saturday, the team announced that their top prospect is heading to the disabled list.
As Scott Lauber of The Philadelphia Inquirer notes, the Phillies have decided shut down Sanchez, who is widely viewed as the organization's No. 1 prospect, with elbow inflammation:
Top #Phillies prospect Sixto Sanchez will be shut down for a couple of weeks with what farm director Joe Jordan described as inflammation in his elbow. At this point, team doesn’t believe there’s much cause for concern.— Scott Lauber (@ScottLauber) June 9, 2018
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia says Sanchez will head to the disabled list with this injury.
The good news for the Phillies appears to be that they don't currently expect this to be a major injury that requires him to be shut down for the entire season or have a surgery. Perhaps the discouraging part about this news is that after being overly cautious with Sanchez's workload through his first three years in the organization, the Phillies have tried to extend the workload of the 19-year-old this season. After throwing 80 or more pitches just five times in 2017, Sanchez has already thrown 80 or more pitches five times in 2018. On May 18, he topped 100 pitches for the first time since he's been in the organization. It's not exactly an encouraging sign that as his workload has been expanded, he's dealing with elbow inflammation.
Sanchez, who scouts have compared to Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez, had been 4-3 with a 2.51 ERA in 46.2 innings for High-A Clearwater in 2018. A season ago, Sanchez posted a 5-7 record with a 3.03 ERA in 18 starts between Low-A Lakewood and Clearwater. The Dominican Republic native used his mix of an incredible pitching arsenal and early minor league success to check in at No. 23 on Keith Law of ESPN's top 100 prospects list at the beginning of the season.
Regardless of any success that the Phillies had in the first two months of the season, Sanchez wasn't viewed as a candidate to reach the major leagues in 2018. However, as The Athletic's Matt Gelb recently wrote on, part of the thinking behind expanding Sanchez's workload was that at some point in the 2019 season, especially if the Phillies are in the playoff hunt, Sanchez could become a valuable weapon at the major league level. It's unclear how this injury, even if it only costs Sanchez a few weeks, affects those plans. One would think even if Sanchez is only on the disabled list for a couple weeks, the Phillies will be cautious with his workload when he returns.