Through nearly one-quarter of the MLB season, Anibal Sanchez has been a top-10 fantasy baseball pitcher. Sanchez first drew headlines with his 17-strikeout performance on April 26th against the Atlanta Braves. However, his flashy strikeout total is not the most impressive aspect of his season thus far. So far in 2013, Sanchez has overcome the label as a pitcher with control issues by posting a 5.5:1 strikeout to walk ratio.
His career best in WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) was achieved last season when Sanchez finished at 1.27. Sanchez has left that number in the dust with a 1.08 WHIP through his first eight starts. In five of those starts, Sanchez has struck out at least eight batters while walking two or less.
Sanchez has also been a victim to the deep ball in the past. In 2012, he allowed 20 home runs or an average of one per nine innings. So far this season, he has allowed just one homer over his first 52.2 innings.
Its taken time but it finally appears as though Sanchez has turned the corner in his promising career. At age 29, Sanchez is finally pitching alongside an offense that will provide him with adequate run support. Over his first 20 starts with the Detroit Tigers, Sanchez has posted an ERA of 3.04 while striking out almost a batter per inning. His improved control has allowed his dominant stuff to flourish.
Sanchez may still be underrated by most fantasy owners because of his inconsistent track record. He can probably be acquired for cheap while his performance is still somewhat under the radar. His pedestrian record of 4-3 has allowed Sanchez to remain a neglected story.
Don’t let his record fool you, he is only 2-2 in his last four starts despite allowing just seven runs in 27 innings. With the highest scoring offense at work for him, the run support will be there for the long haul. Consider Sanchez a must-start pitcher while he remains this hot and a darkhorse candidate to emerge in the Cy Young voting.