Eduard Santos, Right-Handed Pitcher
HT : 6'2
WT : 220 lb
DOB : October 22, 1989, Puerto Plata, Puerto Plate, Dominican Republic
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : N/A
Acquired : Signed as non-drafted free agent, November 7, 2007 for $300,000
Stock : Neutral
Cool Notes : Sports a perfectly shaped Gagne goatee / Solid Instagram follow / Farmer in the off-season
Santos started a rush of international prospects coming to America for the Los Angeles Angels in 2012. Since then, he's made strong strides forward towards the Major Leagues, but hit a rut in 2014. This doesn't deter us from seeing him as a strong prospect in the Angels system who could be impactful at the higher levels very soon.
Santos comes with a unique package, throwing a cut fastball, split fastball, and slider, all that he's mastered. However, they all need some work after a tough season.
Santos' 92-95 MPH fastball comes from a natural four-seam grip, but has strong cut movement to it. This has been one of go to pitches in every count that he's found good command of, but when it's off, it's very off, and when it's on, it's very on. If he can control the good and rid the bad, this could turn him into a Major Leaguer reliever.
Santos comes with a splitter that many batters still find trouble with. It doesn't have the deadening part of it just yet and still rolls heavily towards the plate. He lost a touch in this in 2014, but had control of it in previous years making us believe a small adjustment can get him back to using this as a solid strikeout pitch.
Santos uses his slider as a setup pitch. It's nothing to awe at, but gets the job done.
Santos made strides in commanding his pitches in 2014 but left them a little higher than he'd usually like. Santos lost a little bit of velocity making us think he made some mixture to his delivery. We didn't see anything wrong in his mechanics, but there had to have been something, such as his release point, that he'll need to adjust to avoid a third straight season at Inland Empire.
Santos was signed at 18-years-old and was put on the international team immediately. However, it took him a season and a half to fully show the reason he was picked up. In his first two seasons with the Dominican Summer League Angels, Santos posted a 4.60 ERA, 1.604 WHIP, while walking 5.02 per nine. However, in his second season, he had a stretch of 17 innings pitched where he allowed 5 earned runs (2.64 ERA), and had a 1.352 WHIP, while holding batters to a .218 batting average.
In 2010, Santos had a breakout year in the DSL, pitching his way to a 2.08 ERA and dropping all his numbers drastically. He followed that up in 2011 with an even better year, allowing just two runs in 22 innings pitched, posting a 0.82 ERA, 1.045 WHIP, striking out nine per nine.
Santos earned himself a trip to the states after a solid 2011, and kept his success, picking up six saves in as many opportunities, dropping a 2.64 ERA (1.24 ERA in first 18 appearances), and holding batters to a .211 against average.
He kept at it in 2013, between both Class-A affiliates. Santos dropped a 3.10 ERA, 1.335 WHIP, 3.9 BB/9, and put double digit strikeout rates for the first time at 10.5 K/9.
Santos had a rough patch in 2014, putting up career lows in every statistic. However, from late May to mid July, Santos ran a long shutout streak and finished the stretch with a 2.70 ERA, and 12.96 K/9 (striking out the side five times in that stretch).
Santos has spent two years in the Cal League, and had a rough past year. It'd be hard to believe he'll be back, but there is a chance without a strong Spring. Santos' arsenal and pitching style makes us believe he'll be able to advance to Double-A and shine again in a pitcher friendly league.
Santos has Major League talent, and with a strong showing, could make the show in 2015. However, it would make more sense he'd make the show in 2016 with a road block currently in the bullpen. If/when he makes the bigs, Santos should stick around for quite awhile. The Angels are nowhere near giving up on the hard throwing righty, and feel he could be used in key roles in coming years. Late innings is where Santos will shine, but not necessarily in a setup or closing role. You will more than likely find Santos pitching in the 6th and 7th innings of games in the future.
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Taylor Blake Ward is a Senior Publisher for InsideTheHalos.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.