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Could Adrian Sanchez be playing his way into a second base competition?

524HVYUDZY7TTJSCRC3VESY2OQ - Could Adrian Sanchez be playing his way into a second base competition?
Sanchez didn’t seem to hit this baseball neatly, however he’s been hitting the ball neatly in opposition to left-handed pitching. (Brad Turbines/USA TODAY Sports activities)

ATLANTA — Adrian Sanchez will get started at 2d base in opposition to a left-handed starter Sunday, in line with Dave Martinez’s contemporary lineup conduct.

For the reason that Nationals made Sanchez a September call-up, Martinez has discovered enjoying time for the infielder on days like those, and his splits strengthen the plan. In a small pattern dimension of 21 at-bats in opposition to left-handed pitching, Sanchez is hitting .333 with an .857 OPS. In a smaller pattern dimension of 15 at-bats in opposition to right-handed pitching, he’s hitting .067 with a .192 OPS. He used to be already probably the most dependable defensive 2d baseman in this roster, much less flashy than Wilmer Difo, however extra constant. Consequently, whilst Michael A. Taylor has fallen right into a late-game-replacement position and Andrew Stevenson waits for one pinch-hit at-bat an afternoon, Sanchez has driven his approach into September enjoying time, which can also be arduous to come back through with an expanded roster.

Sanchez used to be by no means regarded as an elite prospect. He performed 10 years within the minors ahead of getting his first primary league call-up ultimate 12 months. At 28, he has but to push himself past Elegance AAAA qualification — the unofficial class of gamers who by no means slightly stick within the giant leagues, however all the time appear to play neatly sufficient at Elegance AAA to get some other call-up. For a group that might be on the lookout for a beginning 2d baseman subsequent 12 months, may Sanchez be enjoying his approach under consideration for a large league roster spot, offering sufficient offense that the Nationals can be fantastic beginning subsequent season with Wilmer Difo, Howie Kendrick and Sanchez piecing in combination at-bats?

Possibly. Must the Nationals come to a decision to achieve out of doors the group for a beginning 2d baseman, whilst bumping Difo right down to a software position, Sanchez would possibly in finding himself again in Syracuse. His minor league splits don’t recommend he’ll have the ability to take care of his present tempo in opposition to lefties. He if truth be told fared worse in opposition to left-handed pitching than right-handed pitching in 2017. This season in Elegance AAA, he hit .247 with a .651 OPS in opposition to lefties and .228 with a .621 OPS in opposition to righties.

When the Nationals known as up Sanchez this 12 months, Martinez mentioned Syracuse Supervisor Randy Knorr instructed him Sanchez had figured one thing out in opposition to lefties and used to be hitting them constantly. However Sanchez could also be the uncommon participant who turns out to hit higher within the majors than he does within the minors. He’s a .316 profession hitter in opposition to lefties within the giant leagues in 40 plate appearances. Difo, through comparability, has hit .233 in additional than 200 profession giant league plate appearances in opposition to lefties.

In different phrases, because the Nationals assess their 2d base state of affairs subsequent 12 months, Sanchez could be enjoying his approach right into a dialog — if now not the only in regards to the on a regular basis process, then for sure about common bench responsibility as a right-handed bat off the bench. That he can play the infield and has attempted the outfield must lend a hand, too. However, so much can trade between now and spring coaching.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS (75-74)

Victor Robles CF

Trea Turner SS

Bryce Harper RF

Anthony Rendon 3B

Juan Soto LF

Ryan Zimmerman 1B

Matt Wieters C

Adrian Sanchez 2B

Tanner Roark P

ATLANTA BRAVES (83-65)

Ronald Acuna Jr. LF

Ozzie Albies 2B

Freddie Freeman 1B

Nick Markakis RF

Charlie Culberson 3B

Ender Inciarte CF

Tyler Plants C

Dansby Swanson SS

Sean Newcomb P

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