The Philadelphia Phillies may witness an intriguing twist in their starting pitching rotation as the season progresses, with Cristopher Sanchez emerging as a strong contender for a significant role. In the previous season, Sanchez unexpectedly stood out as arguably the most improved player for the Phillies.
His ascent to prominence was somewhat surprising but undeniably a welcome development. The team faced setbacks, including Andrew Painter’s season-ending injury, the trade of Bailey Falter, and Mick Abel’s demonstration of not being Major League-ready. In this context, Sanchez stepped up admirably, starting 18 games and making one relief appearance. Across 99 1/3 innings, he posted a 3-5 record with a 3.44 ERA and allowed 16 home runs. Despite this, Sanchez’s consistency proved crucial when the Phillies were in need of an additional starter.
Sanchez’s success positions him as a significant figure in the upcoming starting rotation. Transitioning from the bullpen to the starting rotation is a challenging task, but, similar to Ranger Suarez, Sanchez made it appear seamless. His remarkable development of a changeup disrupted hitters throughout the season, and despite conceding 16 homers, Sanchez excelled at minimizing damage and preventing significant innings. He notably contributed to keeping the Phillies competitive in nearly every game he started.
Having gained valuable experience with a postseason start in the National League Championship Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Sanchez enters the 2024 season with enhanced capabilities. With a full spring training and the innings logged in the previous season, Sanchez is poised to approach the upcoming season with confidence. Notably, he demonstrated proficiency in throwing all of his pitches for strikes.
While Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, and Suarez are anticipated to occupy the top three spots in the rotation, Sanchez is seen as a valuable option for the No. 4 starter position. His performance has warranted the opportunity, and his inclusion in the rotation would contribute significantly to the Phillies’ pitching dynamics.