Have you heard I like Anibal Sanchez this year? No? What rock have you been living under? Does your rock have an address? Do you get mail addressed to “Rock?” If someone throws a rock onto your street, does it confuse the postman? Do you ever get mail that’s meant for The Rock that accidentally finds its way to your rock? I have rock questions. I haven’t been this excited about a man with a woman’s name since Jody Gerut hit 3 homers in September of 2009. Anibal doesn’t have as many innings on his arm as most 6-year vets not because he’s a sissy with a sissy name, but because he’s had countless injuries and a labrum tear, which does sound like an injury that would happen to a girl. He’s shown he can locate his pitches with authority, cutting his walk rate and bumping up his first pitch strike percentage to a new career high. Not only is he commanding his pitches, but he’s also throwing them faster. Most instances his past injuries would scare me away, but he’s actually gained speed on his fastball each year since 2007 with this past year setting a new career high for his fastball and slider velocity. Maybe all those years of being toughened up from beatings as a boy with a girl’s name has finally paid off. So what can we expect of Anibal Sanchez for 2012 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
The sleeper part is easy. He’s being drafted after Hellickson, Cueto, Carpenter and near Tim Hudson. To break down those four pitchers further. That’s a Don’t Like, Don’t Like, Don’t Like and Injured for the 1st Month, respectively. So you can get Anibal at a decent price. He’s also coming off a year where he had a 9+ K/9. There’s no other pitchers being drafted as late as him with a 9+ K/9 that don’t come with some serious baggage. Like a four walks per nine innings-sized bag, or play for a team that might only win 70 games-sized bag. The Marlins are primed to challenge for the pennant and their ace is Anibal Sanchez. Not Josh Johnson as is being reported by everyone but me. Last year, Sanchez had a 3.67 ERA, but a 3.25 xFIP due to a bit of bad luck. Even if he repeats his shizzy luck and only comes away with 3.50 ERA and 200 Ks, he’s way more valuable than the other pitchers I mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph. In the top 40 starters for 2012 fantasy baseball, I put Anibal’s projections at 15-8/3.50/1.24/190. If there’s one pitcher I want on every team that could sneak into the Cy Young conversation this year, it’s Anibal Sanchez. Yeah, I’m shooting up some serious Anibalic steroids.