It was the Mariners’ analytics department that saw potential in right-handed reliever Isaac Sanchez and led to his selection Thursday in the minor-league phase of the Rule 5 Draft.
Sanchez, 23, spent the last six seasons in the Pittsburgh system, but never reached High Class A until last season, when he went 2-3 with a 2.71 ERA in 66 1/3 innings over 42 appearances.
“Issac was a guy who our analytics (people) really liked,” said Tom Allison, who oversees all Mariners scouting operations as vice president of player personnel.
“We think he adds some depth to the organization. He does profile more as a reliever for us, but we’ll see when we get him into the hands of our (player development) staff in spring training.”
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Sanchez is 14-11 with a 3.66 ERA over 139 games in six minor-league seasons, with 197 strikeouts and 107 walks in 250 2/3 innings.
The Mariners weren’t eligible to make a selection in the major-league phase of the Rule 5 Draft because they had no openings on their 40-man roster.
BLASH SELECTED IN DRAFT
As expected, the Mariners lost Triple-A Tacoma outfielder Jabari Blash in the major-league phase of the Rule 5 Draft.
Oakland selected Blash, 26, with the sixth overall pick and immediately traded him to San Diego as the player to be named later in a Dec. 2 trade.
Blash is a six-year pro who hit 32 homers last season in 116 games at Double-A Jackson (60 games) and Triple-A Tacoma (56 games). He batted .271 with a .370 on-base percentage.
“A lot of inquiries about him,” Allison said. “One of the things he brings to the table is his right-handed power against left-handed pitching.”
Players selected in the draft must be kept in the major leagues for the entire next season or be offered back to their former team for half of the $50,000 selection price.
The Mariners also lost three players in the draft’s minor-league phase: left-hander Brian Moran to Cleveland, and right-hander Logan Bawcom and outfielder Julio Morban to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Moran, 27, spent most of last season at Double-A Jackson, where he was 2-1 with a 3.56 ERA in 25 games after missing all of 2014 while recovering from reconstructive elbow surgery.
Bawcom, 27, was 2-4 with two saves and a 4.64 ERA in 45 games at Tacoma.
Morban, 23, battled injuries last season and played only 48 games while splitting time at Tacoma and Jackson. He batted a combined .206 with one homer and 13 RBIs.
The Mariners continue to add depth by signing infielder Benji Gonzalez and outfielder Mike Baxter to minor-league contracts that include invitations to big-league camp.
Baxter, 31, batted .246 last season in 34 games for the Chicago Cubs but spent most of the season at Triple-A Iowa. He has a .228 career average in 232 big-league games over parts of six seasons.
Gonzalez, 25, is an eight-year pro who has never played in the big leagues. He spent last year in the San Diego system, where he batted .271 in 72 games at four levels.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners