Marlins top prospect Sixto makes MLB debut

August 22nd, 2020

Sixto Sánchez has finally arrived.

The Marlins' top prospect has been with the club for a few days now, traveling on the team plane from Miami to Washington D.C. for the five-game series against the Nationals.

But it wasn't until after Game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader -- a 5-4 loss for the Marlins at Nationals Park -- that the Marlins officially announced Sánchez was starting Game 2.

Ranked 24th on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 list, Sánchez possesses a 100-plus mph fastball, and he has the makings of being a frontline starter for years to come. Pipeline also rates Sánchez as the No. 5 overall right-handed prospect on a list that is topped by Tigers rookie Casey Mize.

Sánchez was sitting in the stands, in street clothes, during the Marlins' 3-2 win on Friday.

But he wasn't the only Sánchez the Marlins brought up. Additionally, outfielder Jesús Sánchez, the team's No. 5 prospect and No. 88 on the Pipeline Top 100 list, was added to the roster.

"Our biggest thing with him was just getting him built up," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of Sixto Sánchez before Game 1 on Saturday. "Making sure that his stuff is dialed in, but making sure he is physically ready to go. We didn't want somebody coming up here trying to do too much and really wasn't ready for it. Hopefully, we're at a point, when he pitches, we're ready for it, physically."

Sánchez, who turned 22 on July 29, was acquired from the Phillies before the 2019 season as part of the J.T. Realmuto trade.

Marlins shortstop , who was reinstated from the COVID-19 injured list on Thursday, hit against Sánchez in a scrimmage last Saturday. Rojas sees similarities between Sánchez and Giants veteran .

“For a guy that young, he already knows what he's doing on that mound,” Rojas said. “He can mix up some fastballs. He's got a cutter, and he's got a really good changeup. He kind of reminds me of a really good Dominican pitcher, Johnny Cueto.”

Right now, Sixto Sánchez has been built up to about 90 pitches.

“I think the rush of knowing that he has the opportunity to pitch in the big leagues this year, and facing big league hitters, he wanted to look good,” Rojas said. “I think that was the best day that he looked at our alternate site.”

Sánchez reached as high as Double-A Jacksonville last year. In his Minor League career, he has a 23-18 record with a 2.58 ERA in 68 games (59 starts), logging 294 strikeouts and 64 walks in 335 1/3 innings.