Marlins righty Sixto Sanchez is set to undergo arthroscopic bursectomy surgery on his throwing shoulder on October 5th, Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald reports (via Twitter). Sanchez, currently Miami’s eleventh-ranked prospect according to MLB.com, is expected to be ready for Spring Training 2023.
Sanchez’s upcoming surgery represents another setback in what has become a multi-season recovery for a player who was previously ranked as the #6 prospect in the league by Baseball America. Originally signed by the Phillies in 2015 as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic, Sanchez was acquired by Miami in the 2019 deal that sent J.T. Realmuto to Philadelphia. He debuted in August of the COVID-shortened season and initially appeared to be as good as advertised, striking out 29 batters while only walking five in his first 32 innings of work. By the end of the 2020 season, Sanchez had accumulated a 3.46 ERA over seven starts, had averaged 98.8 mph on his power sinker, and had demonstrated above-average control (seven percent walk rate). He finished seventh in NL Rookie of the Year voting.
The upcoming procedure will be Sanchez’s second in as many seasons. He underwent surgery to repair a small tear in the posterior capsule of the same shoulder in July of 2021 after the Marlins shut him down for more than a month due to shoulder discomfort. After missing all of 2021, Sanchez had begun to finally show some signs of progress in July of 2022, but was plagued with more shoulder discomfort after a simulated game in August. He then received a cortisone shot to aid his recovery, and had even resumed playing catch at 60 feet before he was scheduled for his second surgery.
If he is able to recover in time to rejoin the Marlins rotation by the start of 2023, he will fit nicely into one of the most talented young rotations in baseball. At age 24, Sanchez still has the potential to be a highly-effective big league starter for years to come. From a front office perspective, Sanchez has the potential to be another key cost-controlled rotation piece for the Miami, as he has not yet accumulated a year’s worth of big league service time. He’s spent the past couple seasons on the minor league injured list, so he hasn’t accrued any MLB service during his rehab time.
Of course, Sanchez must first make a complete recovery from the nagging shoulder injury that has derailed his previous two seasons. Both Sanchez and the Marlins surely hope that the upcoming procedure will help put his injury woes firmly in the rearview mirror. He’ll go into 2023 looking to throw his first major league pitch in three years.