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Quick scouting report on Milwaukee Brewers call-up Miguel Sánchez

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Sánchez (hopefully) brings effective pitch mix for middle innings.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago White Sox Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Right-handed hurler Miguel Sánchez got his major league debut Tuesday in the Brewers’ 5-0 win over the Diamondbacks after a call-up from the Triple-A Nashville Sounds.

Sánchez produced a scoreless eighth inning, walked one batter, and prompted three easy-enough contact outs. It’s an inning that fits Sánchez’ profile.

Sanchez is a right-handed reliever out of the Dominican Republic and potentially, another successful international signing for the Crew. He’s been working through the Brewers’ minor league system since his 2016 signing. At his major league callup, Sanchez had logged a minor league stat line that included a 3.67 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 10.6 strikeouts per 9 innings, and 2.56 strikeouts for every walk he allowed.

At 6’3’’ and 205 pounds, Sánchez is an imposing presence in relief, but his stuff isn’t particularly overpowering. He worked his way up through the minors with a low-90s fastball that arrives with late drop proven to deceive (minor league) hitters and a sweeping mid-80s changeup. In his most recent years of development, Sánchez has put a few MPH on each pitch, which has bolstered his major league case.

The increase in velocity aids the off-power skills he’s otherwise relied on. The most significant among these are 1) a deceptive 3/4 release point that, in particular, confounds right-handed batters and garnered a lot of strikeouts in the minors and 2) late pitch movement that induces more strikeouts or poor quality contact.

Sánchez also has a mid-70s curveball available to him, and it will be interesting to see if the integrates the pitch into his major league pitch mix. He’s struggled to throw the curve in the zone, and he’s prioritized the increase in power on the fastball and changeup in his development.

Against major league competition, Sánchez probably won’t be striking out 13+ per 9 innings the way he did in the lower levels of the minor leagues. Even in Triple-A, he was looking at much more modest strikeout rate (9.3 in 2019 and 8.9 in 2021). If Sánchez’ stuff holds up in the majors, it will probably because it gets driven into the ground or hit for poor contact, building on his minor league development as a groundball pitcher with a strikeout rate that was impressive in the lower minors and serviceable in Triple-A.

In the short term, the Brewers will likely use Sánchez in lower leverage middle-inning relief positions like his Tuesday debut. If he puts up similar results, he could prove valuable in multiple innings or higher stakes appearances for a team that has often struggled to hold down the middle innings.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs.