Ace Jesus Sanchez Returns to Railroaders
CLEBURNE, Tex. (Jan. 23, 2020) – The Cleburne Railroaders announced Thursday the re-signing of right-handed pitcher Jesus Sanchez.
Sanchez transitioned full-time to the starting rotation in 2019, and the result was an excellent campaign that earned him a Mid-Season All-Star selection. The durable right-hander finished the year 10-4 with a 3.31 ERA in 21 appearances, featuring 20 starts. Over 127.2 innings, Sanchez allowed 140 hits for an opposing batting average of .276, recording 78 strikeouts while walking only 15 opposing hitters. His rate of 1.1 walks per nine innings was the second best among American Association hurlers, and tops among those with more than 80.0 innings of work.
Few American Association pitchers were as consistent as Sanchez, who finished fifth in the league in innings pitched and was one of just four qualified pitchers to complete at least 5.0 innings in every one of his starts (Mitchell Lambson – Winnipeg, Erik Manoah Jr. – Kansas City/Texas, Ryan Williams – Fargo-Moorhead). The 32-year old delivered several memorable performances for Cleburne in 2019, including a season-high eight strikeouts over seven shutout innings against Sioux Falls on Opening Night, and the franchise’s first-ever complete game shutout against Winnipeg on June 9. Sanchez retired both hitters he faced in the American Association Mid-Season All-Star Game.
Sanchez joined the Railroaders in mid-June during the 2018 season and quickly established himself as one of the more reliable arms on the Cleburne staff. The native of Valencia, Venezuela made 25 appearances, including three starts, and finished the year 2-3 with a 3.68 ERA. Over the course of 44 innings, Sanchez struck out 49 while walking only 11. The right-hander also limited opponents to a .267 batting average, surrendering 46 hits in the 44 innings.
Sanchez was at his most dominant in his final outing of the season on September 1, twirling six shutout frames against the Texas AirHogs while recording a franchise-record 12 strikeouts. In the second inning of that game, Sanchez was one pitch away from an immaculate inning, striking out the side on ten pitches. He also struck out the side in the third, which combined with a punch-out to end the first inning, gave Sanchez another franchise-record with seven consecutive strikeouts.
Sanchez started 2018 with the Lancaster Barnstormers of the Atlantic League, going 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 11 bullpen appearances totaling ten innings. 2018 was his first foray into independent baseball, having spent the previous ten professional seasons in the affiliated ranks, though not entirely as a pitcher. Sanchez was originally signed by the New York Yankees as a catcher in 2006, and was exclusively a position player until the 2009 season, when the Philadelphia Phillies converted him to the mound.
The transition stuck, and Sanchez delivered several outstanding seasons in the minors for Philadelphia, the Milwaukee Brewers, and the Miami Marlins. His best campaign came in 2013, when Sanchez posted a 2.83 ERA in 48 bullpen appearances at Triple-A Nashville in the Brewers system. After the 2014 season, Sanchez was released by the Marlins and spent the next four seasons pitching in his native Venezuela for Magallanes and Lara.
Sanchez owns strong career numbers across the board, logging a 56-43 record and 3.56 ERA in 451 pitching appearances, 89 as a starter. In 912.2 innings, the righty has piled up 659 strikeouts and 276 walks, a 2.4:1 ratio. At the plate, Sanchez also has 74 professional hits on his career ledger, posting a .215 batting average and one home run.
In addition to the Sanchez signing, right-handed pitcher Nefi Ogando, infielder Angel Rosa and outfielder Nick Rotola have cleared waivers and been granted their release.
The signing of Sanchez gives the Railroaders four players under contract for the 2020 season. American Association clubs may carry up to 28 players during Spring Training, which begins May 7.
INF Alay Lago
C John Nester
C Blake Grant-Parks
RHP Jesus Sanchez
For information on partnerships, season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Railroaders main office at (817) 945-8705, or visit the Railroaders official website at www.railroaderbaseball.com.
By Denning Gerig, Cleburne Railroaders