White Sox left-hander John Danks will have to start the season on the disabled list with a shoulder problem, leaving the team with a hole in its starting rotation.
Manager Robin Ventura had two options to pick from to plug that gap, Dylan Axelrod (pictured) or Hector Santiago. I've read a lot of comments from fans saying they'd prefer Santiago, but Ventura has given the Axelrod the nod.
Well, it's because Axelrod has been more effective in his career as a starter than he has been as a reliever. The samples sizes are small, but you can see a clear difference in performance:
Axelrod as a starter: 4.50 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, .263 batting average against, .761 OPS against, 21 BBs in 56 IP.
Axelrod as a reliever: 5.93 ERA, 1.90 WHIP, .298 batting average against, .844 OPS against, 9 BBs in 13.2 innings.
Throughout his minor-league career, Axelrod worked as a starting pitcher and that's just where he is more comfortable. He's not effective as a reliever, whereas Santiago is.
I like relievers who are capable of missing bats. Santiago can do just that. He has 81 strikeouts in 75.2 career innings. Axelrod has 59 Ks in 69.2 innings. Which pitcher is more likely to relieve with the bases loaded and record a critical strikeout to get out of trouble? Without question, it's Santiago.
Even Santiago agrees he's better suited for the bullpen (for now), while Axelrod is better suited for starting.
" (Axelrod) has done it for so long, and I've gotten half a season at it
two years ago, and last year four starts at it," Santiago told MLB.com's Scott Merkin. "All around, he's been
equipped for a starting role and I'm getting back and building up to it.
I understand completely."
"I'm a better out-of-the-'pen guy than he is," Santiago added. "Going out
there, I've done it more times than he has. The situation fits us both
I agree. I'm not a huge Axelrod fan. He's not a long-term solution in the rotation. The Sox need Danks back. But this is the best choice for the team in the short run.