JUPITER, Fl. — As uncertainty trembled across the globe in 2020, the world sought comfort from the distress it had endured, Sixto Sánchez found himself with an opportunity to seek relief and comfort on the surface that’s elevated 10 inches off the ground.
At the tender age of 22, Sánchez made his Major League debut on August 22, 2020, the day the Marlins were slated to play a doubleheader against the Washington Nationals due to COVID-19 postponements. The Marlins dropped game one of the doubleheader to the Nationals 5-4 before Sánchez would tie his laces for the first time to take on the big league mound.
As the heat from Nationals Park lights radiated across the over 41,000 vacated seats, Sánchez stood on the mound, realizing the game he loved and dedicated his life to was no longer a dream waiting to be fulfilled.
Sánchez would welcome his first big league stats with open arms after going five innings, giving up a trio of runs on six hits, fanning four batters as he tacked on his first career win, as the Marlins won game two of the doubleheader 5-3.
The Marlins would place their trust in Sánchez six more times throughout the tail end of the 60-game season. A season in which the Marlins made the playoffs for the first time since their World Series appearance in 2003.
In a total of seven starts from August 22 through September 23, the San Cristobal, Dominican Republic native would end his first major league season by going 3-2 with a 3.46 ERA and 33 strikeouts — 10 of those strikeouts coming in his second start against sunshine state rivals and later-American League Pennant winners, Tampa Bay Rays.
Since earning the 2020 Latino MVP Rookie award, Sánchez has faced various adversities, including spending time in the minor leagues before having surgery on July 20, 2021, to repair a capsular tear.
Sánchez’s 2020 season with the fish included a career debut, a postseason run, and a Latino MVP Award. However, the now 23-year-old is hungry for more as he prepares his body to heal in time to contribute to a 2022 run.
Sánchez vows to work hard, day-in and day-out, to get his body ready to contribute and help his team defy many odds to savor the taste of the postseason once again. “(My goal is to) try to be 100% healthy and once I get there, just give all I can give, and help the team just to make it to a postseason, to the finals.”
The Latino MVP recognizes the smallest of details in every written story. It magnifies the players who show relentless grit and determination to pursue their lifelong dream of playing professional baseball. After 32 years of existence, the Latino MVP Awards continue to bring young talents out of the shadows and into the light of recognition.
“I always thank God for any goals and any award and knowing that it’s a prestigious award, 32 years, that’s something that means a lot to me and I’m very grateful for it and you know, very, very happy for, for receiving it,” Sánchez said when taking the time to reflect on his Latino MVP award.
The road to success will come with its fair share of trials and tribulations. That’s life. And Sánchez has had his share of experiences that can deplete a person’s motivation, especially an individual who constantly goes above and beyond to perfect their craft. A message Sánchez wants to share with those who have faced similar setbacks or struggles in the game of baseball is to remain humble through the processes and everything that follows.
“I will tell them, if you want to dedicate your life to this sport, to baseball, it’s just to always have your mind open. And focus 100% on your goals and just keep working on it, and you know things will happen.”
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