santosblue

Here’s an idea I’m instantly regretting: instead of empty open thread posts for playoff games, as we’ve done around here in years past, each day I’m going to attempt to have a hopefully-quick look around at some splits and stats and whatever else stands out on a Jays player’s 2013 season, because… what the hell else is there to do for the next month? Or the next week. Or just today– or however long I actually continue to follow through on this exercise.

Today:
1:00 PM ET – Pittsburgh vs. St. Louis – Gerrit Cole (1.3 rWAR) vs. Lance Lynn (1.8 rWAR)
3:00 PM ET – Tampa Bay vs. Boston – Matt Moore (2.6 rWAR) vs. Jon Lester (3.0 rWAR)
6:00 PM ET – Los Angeles vs. Atlanta – Zack Greinke (3.9 rWAR) vs. Kris Medlen (3.1. rWAR)
9:30 PM ET – Detroit vs. Oakland – Max Scherzer (6.7 rWAR) vs. Bartolo Colon (5.1 rWAR)
Get news updates on the game as they happen, and whatever else fun comes along the way, by downloading theScore app for free on your moblie device!

This is going to start sounding like a damn mantra for every time I do one of these for a Jays pitcher, but there isn’t a whole lot of data for us to parse on Sergio Santos this year. He spent the bulk of the season on the DL, missing 96 games with what was originally triceps pain, and ended up being bone spurs in his throwing elbow– just like Josh Johnson did! But when he came back at the end of the season, holy fuck did he ever pitch like a boss. (Just like Josh Johnson will?)

I was thrilled when the Jays picked him up from the White Sox in exchange for Nestor Molina in December of 2011 (commenters on that post, hilariously not so much), and never wavered on him, even as he spent a season and two-thirds in the injury wilderness, earning the nickname “Surgery Santos” from some, and never showing anything close to the absolutely fucking disgusting form I, and many others who felt the same way, remembered from his White Sox days. It wasn’t easy to keep from wavering: the fact that he was a converted shortstop, who had only 155.1 innings at any level on his resume when he was acquired, certainly made it seem possible that the filthy power slider he was throwing was just too much too soon for his arm. He got off to an ugly start to his Jays career, and things only went downhill from there.

But this year? Holy fucking this year!

It’s only a 25 inning sample, granted, and much of it was in the watered-down month of September, but Santos was stupidly good. Stupidly good! He was also hurt, which remains kind of a problem, but still… stupidly good!

An ERA of 1.75! A 31.1% strikeout rate! A career high swinging strikeout rate of 17.7%! Line drives on just 8.6% of balls in play!

Fastball velocity was about the same as it always was, slider was harder, and perhaps most impressively, he issued just four walks in 25 innings, two of which were intentional, making for a 4.4% walk rate.

Santos has never come close to having that kind of control. His previous best BB/9 was 4.12, and this year it was 1.40.

Signs of things to come? True, I’ve always felt he could be ridiculously good, but you’ve got to think there’s going to be some regression there. For one thing, the sample is small enough that there is still all kinds of room for variance, and the 4.2% HR/FB rate– while maybe another sign of the weak contact he was inducing– is sure to go up.

Awesomely, though, even his xFIP, which regresses HR/FB to the league average (because, as FanGraphs explains, “home run rates are generally unstable over time and fluctuate around league-average”), is still an impressive 2.61 this season. And while the spike in K/BB is pretty large (his previous best was 3.17, this year it was 7.00), it’s not like it’s completely off the charts: among pitchers with 20 innings or more he ranked fourth in all of baseball, just ahead of Cliff Lee, and behind Koji Uehara, Edward Mujica, and the North Shore Strangler.

Yeah, it’s still a tiny sample, but… let me have this one! We all deserve a chance to watch Santos have a full, healthy year where he pitches the way he’s capable. It will be stupidly great. And this small end-of-season taste just wasn’t enough. Here’s to 2014– and to Alex Anthopoulos not having to move him in the damn off-season. I’d get that, given the health history, I guess, but man… so stupidly disgustingly good. At least give us that for next year!

Comments (78)

  1. If Casey gets moved who is the closer?

  2. Santos or Delabar. Two very nice choices. I’d bet Santos would get the job on the basis of “closer experience” since I don’t think there’s a great argument for either one being noticeably better than the other.

  3. It will be interesting to see how many guys the Jays carry in the ‘Pen next year. Oliver gone, but that still leaves Santos, Cecil, Dustin, Janssen, Loup, .Delabar, Lincoln, and a whole bunch of other guys.

    I’m not a fan of carrying eight again.

    • I can’t see Lincoln being in the mix. My guess is Santos, Delabar, Cecil, Loup, Jeffress, Perez and Janssen. If Janssen is traded, everyone moves up a spot and McGowan or Rogers or Redmond or Happ or Jenkins comes in to be the swingman.

      What would disappoint me about Janssen being moved isn’t losing Janssen, it would be losing the flexibility to use the newly anointed closer in non-9th inning high leverage spots. I just love seeing Delabar or Santos coming in in the 7th.

      • Does Rogers have options? I thought not, but could be mistaken.

        • I don’t think so.

        • Rogers does not have any options

          • I think there are a lot of guys who are out of options. I’d think that Janssen, Santos, Cecil, Delabar and Loup all have spots in the bullpen next season if none of them are traded, which leaves you with two or three spots depending on what the team decides to do with its bench. If I’m not mistaken, Rogers, Jeffress, Luis Perez and McGowan are all out of options. I would guess that McGowan has a very good chance of clearing waivers based on his guaranteed salary, and if this past season is any indication, maybe the Jays will carry the other three for a week or so before trying to sneak someone down to AAA.

            That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jays trade one or two of the five guys who have been relatively successful this year for pitching help, or for a couple of prospects that they can flip for some help elsewhere.

    • The whole bunch of other guys includes McGowan (I have reservations, and I’m sure the org does too, about making him a starter again), Rogers, Wagner, Perezes – both Juan and Luis – maybe even Redmond or Jenkins. AA will definitely be able to deal some of our relievers without sacrificing depth. I’m interested to see what he manages to get in return.

    • Hopefully, the starters don’t suck ass next year and we won’t need to carry 8 in the pen.
      Along with Santos I was really impressed with Jeffress.
      I know it’s a small sample as well but the game he pitched against the Orioles his pitches were darting all over the place.

    • Doesn’t Gibby like a big bullpen so he has more options for matchups?

  4. What a day to be a fan of baseball!

    • This – the only day where there’s guaranteed to be 4 playoff games beautifully staggered – is the best day of the season, bar none.

      • I was blessed to have the day off too. And a girlfriend with a pvr…so ILl be avoiding this site till the evening.

  5. I think AA might choose him over Janssen to trade just because the numbers are so gorgeous and very tempting to a closer-hungry GM, and he may or may not do so well over the long haul vs Jansen whose numbers have been pretty good over a couple of seasons. I’d like to see them both back.

    • I like Santos ( a few years ago the two pitchers with the biggest break on their sliders were JJ and Santos)but If it’s a one inning closer,I’m in the Delabar camp.

      • I’m not sold on Delabar as a closer. He has great stuff, but walks to many guys for my liking in that role. Think he has a chance of being one of the players being dangled this winter.

  6. Also the idea of one ‘closer’ seems outdated to me. The game isn’t always won in the 9th. I’d love to see a designated trio of closers, which we have in Santos, Janssen and Delabar who pitch the late innings in no particular order.

    • You won’t get an arguement of the closer role being outdated on this blog.
      That said,most pitchers prefer an established role.FWIW.

    • Agreed, but remember Farrell did that his first year and it was a disaster so I think assigned roles will likely be the norm going forward.

      • IIRC it was a disaster in 2011 due to a combination of Farrell putting the relievers in the WRONG roles and pitchers being injured/terrible. Octavio Dotel was an example of the former, with an injured Litsch and a save-blowing machine in John Rauch representing the latter.

        Once Farrell FINALLY gave guys appropriate roles (i.e. no more CoCo roller-coaster 9th innings) in 2012 things improved a little bit. Gibbons was even better at it, and that’s why the ‘Pen is where it is.

    • No lefties?

      • In this construct no lefties in the closer role. But situational lefties. If you go with the three, then you have a lot more leeway than with one. A kind of bullpen within the bullpen. So you have the long guys, the situational lefties and the closers kind of thing. Actually it would be more specialized, not less.

        • I don’t think that you can get away from the idea of having a designated closer until the compensation system changes for relief pitchers, and they start getting paid for outs, rather than saves.

          As it stands,there’s no way this idea goes over well with Casey Janssen, who has thrived as the team’s closer for almost two full seasons, and heading into the last year of his current contract. Given the fact that he is probably in line for Brandon League or Jonathan Broxton-like money after this season, I’d be OK with trading Janssen and letting the rest of the guys at the back end of the bullpen work based on who’s batting, and not what inning it is.

          Maybe Detroit is open to moving Rick Porcello this off-season to shore up the back end of their bullpen with Joaquin Benoit hitting free agency?

  7. Stoeten, I like how your Goins post sparked a discourse about defense and this one looks like it’ll spark topical comments about the construction of the 2014 bullpen. Don’t know if you did that on purpose, but it works. You could keep changing the topic by doing Cabrera or even Gibbons next.

    • Good ideas, and thanks. This wasn’t necessarily by design, but it has certainly worked out pretty nicely, for such a gimmicky sort of concept. So, I’ll definitely keep it up, and we’ll definitely get to those guys, too. Gibbons hadn’t occurred to me, but he has to be in it, for sure.

  8. North Shore Strangler? I must have missed something somewhere…would appreciate an explaination.

  9. I will be curous to see what AA can get for a couple really good bullpen arms, they seem to be an asset with an unpredictable value. If I were to guess I would have to say Jansen is one of the guys being moved, because he has closer experience and this seems to be highly coveted by GMs. But what do you get for Jansen and say Loup?

    • I don’t think you would get a tonne for that, but if you add in a starter or everyday player then you’re talking about significant return.

  10. SANTOS IS A FUCKING ROCK STAR.

  11. Santos has the nastiest most filthiest slider in the game. A healthy year from him would be huge in helping the Jays next season, especially if they trade Jansen.

    Assuming Jansen stays, a pen will be built around Jansen, Santos, Delabar and Cecil. The rest will be based off of options etc. I see Jeffress, Perez and Rogers as the remaining out of option relievers.

    McGowan is also out of options so trading their most valuable reliever in Jansen probably makes sense. Unless other GM’s prefer Cecil, Delabar etc. One reliever is probably part of a package in a trade.

    • Given Janssen’s injury history it might be a long-shot but I wonder if there’s any thought to converting him back to a starter. It always seems to be a combination of repertoire and arm strength that limit pitchers to a relief role and Janssen carries 3 fairly distinct breaking balls (cutter/slider/curve) to complement his fastball/change-up. Arm strength is a little tougher to measure and maybe his injuries eliminate this as a possibility but he seems a more logical candidate to transition then a guy like McGowan.

      A real mixed bag in terms of successful transitions (http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7655555/how-do-know-reliever-become-starter) but I think I’d prefer this option if the trade market for Janssen doesn’t develop.

    • you’re forgetting Loup and Luis perez, loup has options, Perez does not.

    • That slider is pretty sick. Wish it wasn’t such an arm shredder for someone who makes it his bread and butter.

  12. SERGIOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    I like.

  13. If the team can get anything of value for him they should trade him now. I’m tired of having so many broken toys.

    • I tend to agree. Santos is a high risk high reward guy….. but the upside is so much higher than Casey Janssen.

      • Not that high of a reward… he’s still just a relief pitcher. Not that you don’t need good relief pitchers but in a baseball hierarchy of needs any one single guy out of the bullpen ultimately isn’t that high.

  14. Fuck sakes Stoeten. When are we gonna get the ability to have avatars, and thumbs up, thumbs down, and maybe even the ability to flip the bird. Jezuz, what is this circa 1985 Commodore 64 era?

    And by the way, I dare you to shave the beard and unveil that slimiest Movember that you can muster. If you are in, I’ll challenge you with mine and well all have a DJFs Movember-Off. Post the pictures on the site and see when wins.

    Parkes can’t partake, because he’s already creepy and will win hands down.

    • We’ll have a better comments system sooner or later, as far as I understand. It’s going to take time, but it’s coming. Probably before there’s grass at the Rogers Centre. Probably.

      • Will the post Mortem posts have requirements for a guy to be profiled a la.brad Lincoln or not?

      • Well alright then, nice answer, why don’t you take the rest of the week off, on me.

  15. If the Rays kick the living shit out of the Sox it would help ease my pains of 2013.

  16. Do i ever want the massholes to suck so much shit

  17. The only benefit to having Boston in the playoffs is that I would enjoy them being swept almost as much as I would enjoy watching the Jays win a playoff series.

    That said, the theory hasn’t been tested for the last 20 years.

  18. Go Rays!!!!

  19. Was that one the ump’s fault too, lester?

  20. If Tampa Bay was playing the Jays right now, they’d be beating Toronto 13 billion to 3. But nah, can’t beat fucking Boston. Nope. They are purposely laying down and throwing this series to spite Jays fans.

    This team is the fucking 2013 Black Rays.

  21. So conflicted. Hate the Red Sox but quite enjoying the myth of “Rays play the right way” being exploded by a bunch of errors.

  22. I don’t mind if the Massholes beat the Rays. Actually I want them to go all the way to the WS. I want them to be 3 games up. And then…

  23. romero, nickeas outrighted off the 40 man

  24. Stupid Rays pick a great time to play Blue Jays baseball. :(

  25. stupidly stupidly stupidly stupidly did i say stupidly enough times yet

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