Name: Miguel De Los Santos
Notable 2011 Stats: 3.82 ERA, 1.88 FIP, 2 HRA, 28 BB, 97 K, and 32% GB% in 63 2/3 IP with Myrtle Beach (High-A);
8.04 ERA, 4.27 FIP, 4 HRA, 17 BB, 38 K, and 29% GB% in 28 IP with Frisco (AA);
5.04 ERA, 2.54 FIP, 6 HRA, 46 BB, 142 K, and 32% GB% in 94 2/3 IP total in minors*
*includes 3 IP in rehab assignment with AZL Rangers
Why He’s This High: De Los Santos’ strikeout numbers speak for themselves. He slays lefties and righties alike with an absolutely devastating changeup that nobody in the minors can touch, and he then turned in a huge performance in the Arizona Fall League, leading the circuit in strikeouts.
De Los Santos also boasts solid velocity for a lefthander, sitting around 90-92 mph and occasionally touching the mid-90′s. His curveball is a solid third offering. Stuff-wise, that’s somewhat similar to Johan Santana, who was the best lefthanded pitcher in baseball for a few years.
Why He’s This Low: De Los Santos has some significant issues to work through. First is his command, as he’s tended to walk a batter about every other inning in his minor league career. That doesn’t get him killed when he’s posting astronomical strikeout rates, but the lefthander could certainly benefit from throwing more strikes.
The second issue is his extreme flyball rates, which leave the lefthander susceptible to home runs. He’s missed so many bats in the low minors that homers have yet to become an issue, but if he loses some of those strikeouts by the time he hits the majors (which he probably will), then perhaps that will start to negatively impact his performance.
De Los Santos also has a history of underperforming his peripheral statistics, mainly due to poor strand rates. With a couple years of this trend, it’s possible it’s not merely bad luck, but partially struggles with pitching from the stretch. That will be something to keep a close eye on with De Los Santos–perhaps he’s the next Javier Vazquez, always underperforming despite great stuff and peripherals.
Conclusions: De Los Santos has electric stuff, and he puts it to good use, as his strikeout rates are unmatched by just about every other pitcher in the minors. However, beyond the strikeouts, there’s little he does well, as he doesn’t throw enough strikes, doesn’t keep the ball down, and doesn’t do a good job from the stretch. His talent is immense, and all of his deficiencies are theoretically correctable, but there’s a long way to go.
De Los Santos will be 24 in July, and he has yet to do much in the upper minors, so he needs to start making progress in correcting his issues if he’s going to ultimately become a front-of-the-rotation starter.
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