Former Phillies top prospect gets ripped to shreds by Marlins' Skip Schumaker

Sixto Sánchez has struggled this season for the Marlins, and his manager didn't hold back in his criticism.
Former Philadelphia Phillies top prospect and current Miami Marlins pitcher Sixto Sánchez
Former Philadelphia Phillies top prospect and current Miami Marlins pitcher Sixto Sánchez / Rich Storry/GettyImages
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Sixto Sánchez, once a top Philadelphia Phillies prospect, has struggled for the Miami Marlins in 2024. His once-promising career has been derailed by injuries and inconsistency. This season marks only the 25-year-old's second year in the majors. He didn't pitch in 2021 and 2022 and made only one minor league start last season.

Sánchez began this year in the bullpen for the injury-stricken Marlins. He made his first start of 2024 on April 24 versus the Atlanta Braves. This was the first game he started in the majors since Sept. 23, 2020. His initial start this year did not go well. The Dominican threw 2 2/3 innings and allowed three earned runs, five hits and one walk with three strikeouts.

In his next start against the Colorado Rockies, he allowed five earned runs, seven hits and zero walks with three strikeouts in four innings. In Sánchez's third start, versus the Oakland Athletics, he allowed two earned runs, three hits and three walks with two strikeouts. In his fourth start versus the Detroit Tigers, he allowed zero earned runs, five hits, two walks and two strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.

Former Phillies top prospect gets ripped to shreds by Marlins' Skip Schumaker

During his latest start on May 19 against the New York Mets, Sánchez's woes continued, specifically in the first inning. New York scored four runs in the opening inning of the contest. He allowed four earned runs, six hits, and two walks with two strikeouts.

Marlins manager Skip Schumaker was blunt in his criticism of Sánchez's early inning troubles following the team's loss to the Mets.

"I don't know [the root of the issue], but that's unacceptable in the first inning, so if he wants to start at this level, he's going to have to be better in the first inning. It's just what it is. We had a heart-to-heart underneath, and so did [pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr.].”

Christina De Nicola, Miami's beat reporter for MLB.com, noted that the right-hander's ERA in the first inning is an awful 19.80. His ERA following the opening frame is an astounding 1.88 in his five starts.

Sánchez allowed two earned runs in the first inning of his first start in 2024 versus the Braves. Against the Rockies, he surrendered five runs in the opening inning.

Through his interpreter Will Nadal, Sánchez responded to Schumaker's criticism, per De Nicola: “Like I said before, I think it's just about that first inning, making sure that I'm giving my team an opportunity to win. I think it's something that I have to be prepared to go out there and compete. And that's what I'm going to keep trying to do.”

Marlins catcher, Christian Bethancourt, was baffled in explaining how bad Sánchez has looked in the first inning compared to his performance following the opening frame of some of his starts.

“I've seen what everybody's seeing," Bethancourt said, per De Nicola. "Gets in trouble in the first inning, and then after that pitches like Pedro Martinez. We've got to find a way -- I'm sure we'll do something -- talk to him a lot. We still don't know the reason why he starts like that, but there's a lot of positive things out of him. And I think he's going to be better.”

While it remains unknown if Miami's pitcher can improve, one thing is clear. The Phillies won the trade with the Marlins involving Sánchez in February 2019. Philly acquired catcher J.T. Realmuto for the pitcher, catcher Jorge Alfaro, left-handed pitcher Will Stewart and $250,000 in international bonus slot money. Whatever Sánchez's eventual fate, Philly has benefitted from the starting catcher's presence in the five years since the trade.

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