He's on the fast track to the bigs, and he's very well liked by many in the organization. Eduard Santos was signed in his late teens by the Angels in 2008, and since coming to America in 2012, has taken the quick route through the minor league system as a closer. His body and pitching mechanics have developed, which have made Santos adjust, which he's done well.
"Santos is deceptive, and that's where he's most effective. Same arm slot for fastball, changeup, curveball, and slider, which is something not a lot of guys have."
Deception is one of the many keys to good pitching, and as you saw what the an Angels scout told us above, Santos is good at being deceptive. His fastball sits anywhere from 92-95 depending on the grip of the ball, as he's shown good cutting movement in his slower fastballs. His changeup is above average, as well as his off-speed pitches, and with the deception, they become very effective.
As Santos grew in to his body and developed, he picked up velocity, but lost some command. It showed quite a bit as he kept the ball up a bit too much, and lost quite a bit control, almost doubling his walks per nine from previous seasons. This is something he'll learn to control though, as he showed late in the 2013 season.
At the beginning of his Dominican League career, he was very hot and cold. His first two seasons combined for a 4.60 earned run average, a 1.604 WHIP, and 5.86 strikeouts per nine. As he developed though, his next two seasons were the exact opposite of the first two. In his next two seasons in the DSL, he had a combined for a 1.44 earned run average and 1.259 WHIP.
Once in America, Santos continued his late success with a 2.64 earned run average, fooling batters left and right as a closer, getting six saves, striking out 9.7 per nine.
Over this past season, Santos excelled at two different Single-A levels. First with Low-A Burlington Bees, his pickup in velocity worked well to his advantage as he used the fastball as a two-strike pitch, which caused a lot of swing and misses, and an 11.5 strikeouts per nine, earning him a callup to the High-A Inland Empire 66ers. While with the Sixers, Santos learned to keep the ball low but had trouble hitting the strike zone. His 2.87 earned run average over 31 games put him at the top of the California League leader boards for relievers. His 4.8 walks per nine was almost double previous seasons though, which will be something he needs to fix with time.
EXPECTED IN THE FUTURE:
At the rate he's at now, you could expect Santos to pitch for the Double-A Arkansas Travelers in 2014. He should stay there for the whole season, but could possibly get a callup to Triple-A Salt Lake depending on how he develops to Double-A hitters, a level he has yet to see.
When it comes to Santos' Major League future, we see him pitching in the Angels bullpen sometime in late 2015, or out of Spring Training in 2016. His pitch velocity won't allow him to be a closer for the Angels, but he will pitch somewhere in the latter innings when he makes the show.
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