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12/16/1987 (29 y, 2 m, 10 d)
2006 June Amateur Draft - Round: 30, Pick: 29, Overall: 915, Team: Chicago White Sox
$8M / 1 Years (2017)
Santiago and the Twins avoided arbitration Friday with a one-year, $8 million deal, Jon Heyman of Today's Knuckleball reports. (1/13/2017)
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(Click Year to Expand /
In another universe, the White Sox never drafted Addison Reed, and Hector Santiago was the team's 2012 closer. In this one, however, Reed seems to have a hammerlock on the job and Santiago and his screw ball must be content as a set-up man. His strikeout rate looks compelling for those in holds leagues, but it's built on a below-average swinging strike rate and that's not a strong foundation for repeatability. (Dan Wade)
Santiago should see a nice boost in his numbers after leaving U.S. Cellular Field. Angel Stadium plays much better for home runs, which has been Santiago's biggest issue in his brief career. Santiago is capable of posting decent strikeout totals based on a deceptive fastball and decent change up, but it comes at the expense of high walk numbers. Despite taking some steps forward last season, he can still be somewhat maddening on the mound when he's off. Maybe it's the screwball -- it's only a good pitch when it's down, and he struggles to keep it down. Or maybe it's just a lack of a real out-pitch. He's been able to outperform his FIP by quite a bit in his first two seasons, so it's tough to expect him to post another 3.50 ERA next season. But pitching in his new home stadium should help, and could make him a nice source of strikeouts late in fantasy drafts. (
The Quick Opinion:
Santiago should benefit from his move to Los Angeles. The strikeout totals are nice, but they come with a ton of walks as well.
The left-handed former screwballer has all but ditched the pitch, which makes sense given that it didn't generate swings and misses or induce ground balls. Plus, he allowed the highest weighted offense against that pitch compared with all others he has thrown throughout his career. Instead, he now comes at batters with a variety of stuff, none of which sport a whiff rate above 10% for his career. With no out pitch, one wonders how he has posted a career strikeout rate above 20%. The answer is that he has gotten a significantly higher rate of both called and foul strikes than the average pitcher, both of which are real skills, though not quite as reliable as the swinging strike. He still possesses below-average control and allows a hefty rate of fly balls. Anaheim is a great place to play as a fly ball pitcher, but the overall skill set is uninspiring. He'll have to continue to outperform his SIERA marks to maintain any semblance of fantasy value, which is rarely something I like to bet on happening. (
The Quick Opinion:
An assortment of off-speed pitches has boosted Santiago's called and foul strike rates, which has resulted in solid strikeout rates despite underwhelming whiff marks. But the overall skill set here is rather soft and one wonders how much longer he could significantly outperform his SIERA. I don't want to be his owner when the ERA finally does converge with the SIERA.
Hector Santigo continues to do what he has always done by posting a somewhat okay ERA and striking out a few batters. Starting with the good -- he struck out an acceptable number of batters for every fantasy league type. Over the past two seasons, his 7.9 strikeouts per nine rank 35th (minimum 250 innings pitched). This value is higher than the one put up by Jordan Zimmermann, Michael Wacha, Julio Teheran, or Dallas Keuchel over the same time frame. Strikeouts are not his issue. He does have an insanely low ground ball rate. Chris Young (24% GB%) is the only pitcher who allowed fewer ground balls over the past two season than Santiago (30%). The low number of ground balls has led to an above-average 1.3 home runs per nine innings rate. Some of those fly balls will leave the yard. On the other hand, if the fly ball doesn’t leave the ballpark, it is generally an out as seen by his .269 batting average on balls in play and ERA (3.82) which is about a whole run lower than his FIP (4.93), xFIP (4.83) and SIERA (4.48). Santiago’s biggest issue is his command. Over the past two seasons, his 3.70 walks per nine is the fifth highest rate out of 100 pitchers (min 250 IP). He could really move into an elite pitcher if he could drop his BB/9 to around 2.00. Don’t expect anything to change for 2016 though, just use his 2015 stats as his 2016 baselines. (Jeff Zimmerman)
The Quick Opinion:
Santiago has the potential to move into the top echelon of pitchers if he can get the walks under control. Until then, he will lean on his low ground ball rate, nice home park, and high strikeout totals to keep getting by.
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Updated: Sunday, February 26, 2017 3:34 AM ET
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