Former No. 1 Phillies prospect Sixto Sánchez hasn’t pitched in nearly 2 years.
With Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto nearing the end of his fourth regular season in red pinstripes, it is becoming increasingly easier to say that the organization won the February 2019 trade with their division-rival Miami Marlins.
Along with trading catcher Jorge Alfaro (now with the San Diego Padres) and pitching prospect Will Stewart (who has since struggled in the minors), then-general manager Matt Klentak also included former No. 1 Phillies pitching prospect Sixto Sánchez in the blockbuster deal.
Debuting in late August 2020, Sánchez was lights-out in his first five starts, combining to go 3-1 with a 1.69 ERA and 29-5 strikeouts-to-walks ratio in 32 innings. However, the right-hander finished his rookie year on a poor note — yielding a combined nine runs on 12 hits and six walks in his final two starts opposite the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves.
The Dominican Republic native has yet to pitch in a game since due to lingering shoulder issues. Friday, September 23, will mark two years since Sánchez logged an inning in the pros.
Sánchez threw a bullpen session last Friday, but experienced shoulder discomfort. A week later, Miami Marlins beat writer Jordan McPherson reports that the right-hander has right shoulder inflammation and will receive a cortisone shot after this weekend. Further evaluation will follow.
The 24-year-old just can’t stay healthy, let alone get on the mound even at the minor-league level. And while Alfaro was a solid Phillies catcher, it appears the Colombia native will not hit much better than his .257/.305/.398 career slash line through six-plus seasons to date.
Realmuto, on the other hand, has exceeded expectations in Philadelphia. Entering Friday’s series opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the three-time All-Star has slashed .270/.338/.469 with 88 doubles, 12 triples, 67 home runs and 248 RBI across 432 games in red pinstripes. Behind the plate, Realmuto has committed just 20 errors across 3,279 1/3 innings — along with throwing out 80 runners attempting to steal a base.
Realmuto notably helped the Phillies stay in striking distance of a Wild Card spot while Bryce Harper was on the injured list with a fractured thumb. In 41 games and 165 plate appearances during this stretch, Realmuto slashed .329/.382/.617 with 10 doubles, three triples, nine home runs, 32 RBI, and 11 walks.
Matt Klentak made plenty of poor decisions as Phillies general manager, but it’s safe to say the move the acquire Realmuto will always be looked on fondly. If the team makes the postseason and Realmuto is a factor in meaningful games this fall, the trade will look that much better.