Hector Santiago

With premier starting pitchers out of the pictures, teams in need of improving their rotation are looking at less attractive options with the same kind of zest. Hector Santiago of the Los Angeles Angels is a recent addition to the rumor mill, with the Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates being likely targets.

The Angels, way out of the picture as far as contending for the postseason, are listening to calls for the left handed pitcher. It’s been quite a while since anyone thought that the Angels have anything to offer despite being in a position to sell. Turns out there’s more to this team than Mike Trout, who they weren’t going to give away to anyone. Santiago is having his worst major league season by FIP and ERA, but he often outperforms a lot of metrics people evaluating pitchers swear by.

The 28 year old has improved his velocity, throwing over 91 mph on average, although his strikeout rate and the k’s per walks ratio remains the same, and even slightly worse than last season. His WHIP is at 1.287, which is on par with his success in preventing hits and walks last season. He has a 4.32 ERA through 20 starts and 110.1 innings. Not bad, not too good, but teams with needs at the back of the rotation? Santiago fits the bill, and also has one more year of controllability before he becomes a free agent.

One thing teams are concerned with is his durability. He has just one season of 180 innings (2015). The rest are 149 or less, and is averaging 5.5 innings per start this season, on pace to end up with around 181.5, which is OK, but indicates that going the distance and using him for longer pitching stints is out of the question.

The Pirate usually go for ground ball kind of pitchers, but they could really use someone with experience as we enter the final two months of the regular season, providing an arm they can lean on at times. The Orioles probably make the more sensible fit, constantly looking for a relatively cheap left-handed option. Lefties in their rotaiton has probably been their biggest weakness in what has been overall a good season, still leading the AL East.

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