After every season (dating back to 2012), we’ve spent time looking at every player that got into a game for the St. Louis Cardinals that season. They might have gotten a couple of innings, they might have played every day, but if they played, they get a post. Usually, I like to term this like the players are packing up their locker and then seeing Mike Shildt before they head off for the winter. This year, of course, was anything but typical. So we’ll look at every player, we’ll take in some of their stats, but we won’t be giving out grades this season or delving too much into the positive/negative. There are just too many variables in the Year of COVID for that to be reasonable. As he has for the past few years, cardinalsgifs has lent his enormous talents to our header image and we thank him for it!
Player: Ricardo Sanchez
Season stats: 0-0, 6.75 ERA, 3 G, 5.1 IP, 5 H, 1 HR, 5 BB, 4 K, 7.50 FIP, 1.875 WHIP, 6.8 K/9, -0.1 bWAR
Postseason stats: DNP
Statcast: 5.9% barrel %, 88.9 exit velocity, 41.2% hard hit %, .375 xwOBA
Best Statcast category: Did not qualify
Worst Statcast category: Did not qualify
On COVID IL: Yes
Overview: If you had told the Cardinals when they grabbed Sanchez off of waivers back in February that he’d pitch about five innings in the bigs in 2020, they’d have probably been intrigued. After all, he’d been at AA (in St. Louis’s old Little Rock stomping grounds) in 2019 and had seemed rough for that level. The idea that he’d be good enough to not only master AA but do well enough at AAA to earn a callup would have had some in the front office rechecking their calculations.
Of course, Sanchez’s time in the bigs was less talent and more he was on the 40-man roster and most every pitcher that was on the 40-man made an appearance this season. His season started by dealing with COVID and ended with Tommy John surgery, but he made a major league debut in the middle of it and probably would call that a success. He even threw two scoreless innings against the Cubs in his first outing! Unfortunately, that was the high point as he was beaten around a bit in his next two.
Sanchez was rated on some of the prospect lists when joining the Cardinal organization and perhaps he would still be on them had he not had the surgery to end his year. I don’t know if anyone saw enough of him this year to really know what his future in the organization will be, however.
Outlook: Because Sanchez is still with the organization. The surgery was after the season, meaning that he likely won’t see a mound at all in 2021. The Cardinals outrighted him off the 40-man, but he cleared waivers and remains under team control. If he’s not taking up space, it doesn’t hurt the club to keep hold of him and see what he might look like in 2022. He’ll only be 24 in April so there’s still plenty of time for him to return and perhaps do more to justify that prospect ranking.