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Hector Santiago: Starter or Reliever?


Angelsjunky

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Santiago is going to start the year, most likely, as the #4 starter for the Angels. But it is my feeling that he'll best serve the Angels long-term as a reliever. My sense is that as a starter, he'll be run of the mill - an ERA in the low 4.00s with some rocky starts. But as a reliever I see something like Scot Shields potential.

 

So in 2014 he'll start, but in 2015 - hopefully with Sappington ready - maybe he can be a super-setup guy like Shields was.

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My sense is that in the current state of affairs for the Angels, having a young LHP starter under control for the next 5 years that'll have an ERA in the high 3's or low 4's is something of great value.  Comparing Santiago to Jason Vargas, Santiago's still a half decade younger, throws harder, has better off-speed pitches and is more versatile.  

 

And how much is Vargas worth on the open market?  4/32?  Santiago on the open market right now is worth as much as Matt Garza.  So to answer your question, Hector Santiago is a starter, until he fails to do his job or you find somebody better.  The same goes for every starter in the rotation. 

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If you want Santiago in the pen

Then Blanton will be in the rotation

 

You're missing the fine points of my post. Short term (2014) = rotation, long-term (2015+) = bullpen.

 

Or maybe not, who knows. I just think that Santiago would stand out more as a reliever than as a starter, like Shields did.

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I see him as a starter based on the Pitch F/X data I looked at previously: http://angelswinblog.blogspot.com/2013/12/angels-relevant-left-handed-starting.html

He has the potential repetoire to be a starter and if he further improves the screwball and another off-speed pitch like the slider he could find even better success than a #4 starter.

However I do understand what you are getting at AJ, if he fails to develop those other pitches he could be a very high leverage reliever but I think this is likely a waste of his talent. Nothing is guaranteed in player development so this could still be his fate but it is my understanding that his screwball is looking pretty good in training already.

My guess and desire is that he will be a serviceable starter and could be more based simply on the excellent vertical and horizontal movement of a lot of his pitches if he can master the control.

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You're missing the fine points of my post. Short term (2014) = rotation, long-term (2015+) = bullpen.

 

Or maybe not, who knows. I just think that Santiago would stand out more as a reliever than as a starter, like Shields did.

 

If he does well as a SP the chances they move him to the pen seem remote unless they add someone significantly better.   The additions of Kelvim Escobar and Bartolo Colon had as much to do with moving Shields to the pen as did his success in the pen IMO although that 2003 season he was posting ERAs around 1.50 as a RP and near 4.00 as SP -- he was unreal coming out of the pen..  I think Santiago has actually been better as a SP than as a reliever.

Edited by Inside Pitch
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If he does well as a SP the chances they move him to the pen seem remote unless they add someone significantly better.   The additions of Kelvim Escobar and Bartolo Colon had as much to do with moving Shields to the pen as did his success in the pen IMO although that 2003 season he was posting ERAs around 1.50 as a RP and near 4.00 as SP -- he was unreal coming out of the pen..  I think Santiago has actually been better as a SP than as a reliever.

 

He has been.

 

3.30 ERA as a starter in 150 IP, as well as an excellent K rate of 8.88.

 

It's definitely possible that he ends up being more successful as a reliever, but I think that will only be the case if he fails as a starter. I think his stuff is too good for him to completely fail in that regard.

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He will start.

 

Santiago posted a 3.51 ERA in 23 total starts. While pitchers generally see their stats erode after leaving the bullpen, Santiago actually had a lower ERA and WHIP and a higher strikeout rate as a starter, though he only provided 18 1/3 innings of relief last season.

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I miss Scot Shields. He was frustrating at times but he had some of the nastiest pitches I ever saw.

I think that Scot Shields might be the least frustrating pitcher I have seen come out of our bullpen ever. Outside of 2002 version of Frankie, Shields was the most dominant, though unassuming, reliever the Angels have ever had, in my opinion.

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Hoping Joe Smith can be a Shields type set up guy. Scioscia manages better when he has a favorite option. Not so well when he has to decide/ chose depending on the situation.

Not many guys come with the rubber arm Shieldsy had, though.

Edited by Homebrewer
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One of Kohn/Jepsen needs to have a breakout type season.

Seems like we have been dragging those two around forever....waiting.

You never know what Jepsen will give you. He pitches well for half of a season then is complete trash the other half. 

 

Kohn can't throw strikes and has a weird reverse platoon split. Righties mashed him last year so he's a very weird pitcher. 

 

Reliever volatility gives me hope that one of the two can potentially breakout. It wouldn't surprise me since both guys possess very good stuff. 

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