Jun 4, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cristopher Sanchez (61) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The combination of Wheeler, Suárez, Sánchez, and Aaron Nola currently ranks among the top four starting rotations in baseball. Despite this strength, the fifth starter position has been uncertain. Initially, Spencer Turnbull occupied the fifth spot, but he was moved to the bullpen when Taijuan Walker returned from injury. Turnbull performed well as a starter before Phillies manager Rob Thomson reassigned him to the bullpen. Walker has a 3-1 record with a 5.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in seven starts, but his 70 ERA+, 1.593 WHIP, and 5.66 FIP indicate that his record may not fully reflect his performance. Meanwhile, Sánchez has been consistently effective in the fourth starter role and deserves recognition for his contributions.

### Phillies Starter Sánchez’s Under-the-Radar Success
Sánchez has been a key player in the Phillies’ dominant starting rotation this season. In 12 starts, he has achieved a 3-3 record with a 2.71 ERA and 59 strikeouts. Among qualified pitchers, Sánchez ranks 10th in ERA across baseball and fourth in the National League. Additionally, he has a 148 ERA+ and a 2.50 FIP, placing him fifth and second in the NL, respectively. With a 1.342 WHIP, Sánchez has quietly excelled for the Phillies. He leads the NL with a home run rate of 0.136 per nine innings, having conceded only one home run this season. He has allowed the third-fewest earned runs among qualified NL pitchers.

Opposing hitters have managed a .263/.318/.336 slash line against Sánchez, resulting in a .654 OPS and a .337 BABIP. This OPS is on track to be a career-best for Sánchez, surpassing last season’s .692. The current home run rate of 0.4% against Sánchez is also a career low, with opposing hitters striking out 21.0% of the time and walking 7.5%. With a current 1.1 bWAR, Sánchez has been quietly contributing significantly this season.

### Defensive Contributions Highlight Sánchez’s Season
Defensively, Sánchez has recorded one Defensive Run Saved this season, which is on track to be his career best and ties him for the seventh-best total on the Phillies. He is tied with Nola, Suárez, and Matt Strahm for the most Defensive Runs Saved among Phillies pitchers. Sánchez leads NL pitchers in assists with 14, though he also has the most errors committed with four. His range factor per nine innings is 2.17, ranking fourth among NL pitchers, and his range factor per game is 1.33, the third-best in the NL. While opponents have stolen nine bases against Sánchez, not all can be attributed to him alone.

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