Showing posts with label Hector Santiago. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hector Santiago. Show all posts

Monday, July 18, 2016

White Sox begin second half with pathetic showing vs. Angels

Hector Santiago
The White Sox couldn't have asked for a worse start to the second half of their season.

They were outscored 16-1 in a three-game series against the last-place Los Angeles Angels. Entering Monday's play, the Sox have scored just one run in their last 41 offensive innings dating back to July 9. They have lost four in a row to slip back below .500 at 45-46, and they are nine games behind the first-place Cleveland Indians in the AL Central.

The Sox also are 5.5 games back in the AL wild-card race, with five teams to pass. That is not good position. Let's have a brief look back at the poor weekend in Los Angeles.

Friday, July 15
Angels 7, White Sox 0: Former Sox lefty Hector Santiago had his way with the South Siders in this game. He struck out five men the first two innings and went on to throw seven innings of shutout ball. He allowed just five hits and walked nobody. He finished with seven strikeouts.

Sox starter Miguel Gonzalez kept his club in the game most of the way. He had allowed only two runs through six innings, but poor defense led to the wheels coming off in the seventh.

First baseman Jose Abreu misplayed a ball off the bat of the Angels' Daniel Nava into a "double," and an error by Tim Anderson put runners on first and third with no outs. The two defensive miscues ended Gonzalez's night and set the table for a five-run Angels rally that saw the Sox burn through three relievers. Anderson committed a second error in the inning that did not help matters.

Saturday, July 16
Angels 1, White Sox 0: I've criticized James Shields quite a bit on this blog, but let's give credit where credit is due: He was outstanding in this game. He pitched a complete game and allowed only two hits. Unfortunately, one of those hits was a leadoff triple by Yunel Escobar in the first inning. Mike Trout got that run home with a RBI groundout, and that was all the Angels needed.

The Sox made Los Angeles starter Matt Shoemaker look like the second coming of Don Drysdale. The right-hander struck out 13 and allowed only six hits in a complete-game shutout.

It was inexcusable, however, that the Sox did not score after Adam Eaton's leadoff double in the ninth inning. Abreu failed to advance the runner with a groundout to shortstop. That was huge because Melky Cabrera followed with a single. Eaton stopped at third on the hit, and he would have scored if Abreu had done something to advance him.

Instead, it was first and third with one out -- still a favorable situation for the Sox -- but neither Todd Frazier nor Justin Morneau could make any contact against the tiring Shoemaker. Both men struck out, securing one of the more unacceptable Sox losses of the season.

Sunday, July 17
Angels 8, White Sox 1: Remember back at SoxFest when I asked Rick Hahn about organizational depth with starting pitching? He said Jacob Turner and Chris Beck were in line as fallback options should anyone in the rotation get injured. My reaction to that was, "Gulp."

Well, Carlos Rodon is on the disabled list, so there was Turner on Sunday, making his first big-league start of the season despite a 4.71 ERA at Triple-A Charlotte.

Results were predictable, as Turner allowed eight runs on seven hits in just four innings of work. He walked three and allowed two titanic home runs by Albert Pujols.

Eaton ended the Sox scoreless streak in the third inning with a two-out RBI double, but the South Siders could muster up nothing else against Jered Weaver, who is 12-2 lifetime against the Sox.

The one bright spot: Two scoreless innings of relief from Carson Fulmer in his big-league debut. The first man Fulmer faced was Pujols, the future Hall of Famer, and he struck him out on three pitches. He showcased his whole arsenal. He grabbed strike one with a fastball, got a swinging strike on changeup with the second pitch, and then Pujols could not check his swing on a slider for strike three.

Fulmer threw 15 of his 21 pitches for strikes. He allowed only one hit. He struck out two and hit a batter. Nice debut overall in an otherwise miserable afternoon for the Sox and their fans.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Checking in with former White Sox pitchers ... are any of them missed?

We know the White Sox had a respectable pitching staff in 2013, despite a miserable 63-99 record. The team numbers (3.98 ERA, 1.329 WHIP, 4.13 FIP), while not championship-caliber, were not terrible either.

We also know those numbers are down across the board here in 2014, even though the Sox (20-22) are still hanging around .500 going into this weekend's series against the Houston Astros. So far this season, Sox pitchers have posted a 4.74 ERA. The WHIP sits at 1.476, with a 4.44 FIP.

The Sox have dealt with a couple of key pitching injuries this year. Ace Chris Sale has been limited to four starts, and reliever Nate Jones has appeared in just two games. Both pitchers remain on the disabled list. Other pitchers have underperformed severely. Rookie Erik Johnson couldn't find the strike zone and earned himself a demotion back to Charlotte. Free-agent signee Felipe Paulino was a disaster in the rotation and eventually ended up on the disabled list.

In addition, several pieces of the 2013 pitching staff are no longer here for various reasons. Some were traded as salary dumps. Some were traded for young position players to get the rebuilding process started. Another left via free agency.

The Sox pitching staff is weaker this year because of a combination of factors, one of which is the fact that some guys who helped the team in the past are now elsewhere. But as I look at the list of pitchers who were here last year but are gone now, I can't say I miss any of them all that much.

Here's a closer look at those six pitchers and how they're doing now. All statistics are entering Friday's games:

Jake Peavy (Boston)

South Side departure: The veteran was traded last July in a three-team deal that netted the Sox right fielder Avisail Garcia.

Current numbers: 1-1, 3.94 ERA, 1.458 WHIP in eight starts

Is he missed?: People have noted Peavy is the only player still healthy who was involved in last July's deal. Garcia is on the DL for the Sox, and Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias also is on the shelf. But, while Peavy's ERA is decent, I expect it to go up if he continues pitching the way he has. He's walked 27 men in 48 innings this year. His WHIP is well above his career norm of 1.184. The soon-to-be 33-year-old is on the back side of his career. I think the Sox traded him at the right time. Even with Garcia sidelined with a serious shoulder injury, he's far more likely to help the Sox over the next five or six years than an aging pitcher like Peavy.

Gavin Floyd (Atlanta)

South Side departure: An elbow injury limited the veteran to just five starts in 2013. He signed a free-agent deal with the Braves over the offseason.

Current numbers: 0-1, 2.70 ERA in two starts

Is he missed?: Floyd has made it back from Tommy John surgery and recently joined the Atlanta rotation. I've heard some people argue the Sox should have brought Floyd back on an incentive-laden deal, and that he would look good at the back of the rotation right now. That's probably true, but can you imagine what people would have said if the Sox had re-signed Floyd in December or January? The fans would have been howling about the team wasting resources on an injured player.

Hector Santiago (L.A. Angels)

South Side departure: The left-hander was traded over the offseason as part of a three-team deal that netted the Sox center fielder Adam Eaton.

Current numbers: 0-6, 5.09 ERA in eight appearances (seven starts)

Is he missed?: The Sox did a good job of selling high on Santiago, who made 23 starts and posted a respectable 3.56 ERA in 2013. But, Santiago is nothing more than a No. 4 or No. 5 starter, and he lacks the command to be a consistent pitcher. The Sox recognized he was unlikely to duplicate his success and flipped him for Eaton, who is the center fielder and leadoff hitter of the present and future. While there are injury concerns with Eaton, I don't think anyone would argue his upside is far greater than Santiago's. That's especially true since Santiago was recently removed from the Angels' rotation for ineffectiveness.

Addison Reed (Arizona)

South Side departure: The closer was dealt to the Diamonbacks straight up for third base prospect Matt Davidson.

Current numbers: 1-3, 5.03 ERA, 1.271 WHIP, 11 for 13 in save opportunities

Is he missed?:  As long as Davidson continues to struggle in Triple-A, people are going to continue to criticize the decision to trade Reed. That's especially true because Matt Lindstrom has been hit-or-miss as a closer for the Sox this season. However, it's fair to say Reed has had Arizona fans reaching for the antacid as well this year. Look at that high ERA and WHIP. It's not what you want from a closer. I like Reed, and I'm not going to try to convince anyone that he's not a decent bullpen guy. He is. However, he was never dominant and shouldn't have been considered an untouchable by any means. It is way too early to give up on the 22-year-old Davidson, and it's still way too early to judge that trade.

Matt Thornton (N.Y. Yankees)

South Side departure: His salary was dumped last July in a trade with Boston. The Sox acquired outfielder Brandon Jacobs from the Red Sox. Jacobs was later sent to the Diamondbacks as a throw-in as part of the Eaton/Santiago trade. Thornton signed with the Yankees over the offseason.

Current numbers: 0-1, 5.40 ERA, 16 games, 6.2 IP, 1.800 WHIP

Is he missed?: Thornton is nothing more than a situational left-hander these days. His K rate is about half of what it was during his White Sox heyday from 2008-2010. He's 37 years old. He's got a lot of mileage on his arm. By this time next year, he'll probably be out of baseball. He's had a nice career as a relief pitcher, but it's all but over now.

Jesse Crain (Houston)

South Side departure: He was traded (while on the disabled list) last July as part of a conditional deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. He never threw a pitch with Tampa Bay and signed with Houston as a free agent over the offseason.

Current numbers: None. He hasn't thrown a pitch since June 29, 2013, when he was still with the White Sox.

Is he missed?: Crain had an 0.74 ERA in 38 appearances at the time the Sox put him on the disabled list last year. He was always good when healthy, but you can't say you miss a guy who hasn't been on a big-league mound in nearly a year.

As a Sox fan, are there any of these guys you would take back if you could? Reed would help, but I think I'd rather have Davidson in the organization, all things considered. Even though the pitching is generally weaker this year, the Sox have made more good moves than bad over the past 12 months.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sports Illustrated gives White Sox, Royals high marks for offseason moves

It isn't too often the White Sox earn praise from the national media, so I found it interesting Sports Illustrated gave GM Rick Hahn an A- for his offseason moves.

The Kansas City Royals were the only other American League club to earn an A- from the publication.

This offseason, the Sox signed free agent first baseman Jose Abreu, acquired center fielder Adam Eaton from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-team trade that sent pitcher Hector Santiago to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and picked up third baseman Matt Davidson from the Diamondbacks in exchange for closer Addison Reed.

The Sox also added free agent pitcher Felipe Paulino and fortified their bullpen by signing veterans Ronald Belisario, Scott Downs and Mitchell Boggs.

"Chicago still has questions about how much offense it will get at catcher and in the middle infield, but there’s no doubting that general manager Rick Hahn has had a very good winter," wrote Joe Lemire of SI.

The Royals drew praise for fixing their two major positional weaknesses -- right field and second base. Right fielder Norichika Aoki was acquired in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers, and veteran Omar Infante was signed to address the issue at second base.

Kansas City signed left-handed pitcher Jason Vargas to take the spot in the rotation vacated by free agent Ervin Santana and also retained starting pitcher Bruce Chen. The Royals also picked up former Twins third baseman Danny Valencia, who could form a platoon with Mike Moustakas, who has had his troubles hitting left-handed pitching in the past.

"Coming off their first winning season since 2003, the Royals effectively targeted their needs," Lemire said.  

On the National League side, the Cubs received a C after a mostly quiet offseason in terms of roster moves. The North Siders added starting pitcher Jason Hammel, relievers Wesley Wright and Jose Veras and backup catcher George Kottaras. They also acquired outfielder Justin Ruggiano from the Miami Marlins in exchange for outfielder Brian Bogusevic.

The main offseason news for the Cubs was the hiring of manager Rick Renteria, whom they hope will do a better job of mentoring young players than the fired Dale Sveum.

SI's Cliff Corcoran wrote Renteria's hiring is "a move [the Cubs] hope will prove to be their most significant of the offseason."

Who won the offseason in the National League? SI says it was the St. Louis Cardinals, the defending league champions.

The Cardinals earned an A+ after remaking their infield. St. Louis signed free agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta and traded third baseman David Freese in order to move Matt Carpenter from second base over to the hot corner. They also added veteran Mark Ellis, who gives them insurance in the event Kolten Wong fails to earn the second base job. They also upgraded their outfield defense with the addition of Peter Bourjos, who was acquired from the Angels in the Freese deal.

"Thanks to their strong farm system, the Cardinals were able to have a practically perfect offseason," Corcoran wrote.  

Friday, January 3, 2014

Anonymous Diamondbacks player calls White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton 'selfish'

An anonymous Arizona Diamondbacks player recently called newly acquired White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton "selfish," according to an article that appeared on usatoday.com.

Eaton came to the White Sox from Arizona as part of a three-team trade on Dec. 10 that sent pitcher Hector Santiago to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and slugger Mark Trumbo to the Diamondbacks.

According to the report, the Arizona player said the decision to deal Eaton was "addition by subtraction." He went on to describe Eaton as a "selfish me-me type player." In addition, Eaton allegedly "irked people in the clubhouse" and his "attitude has a tendency to wear on people."

You know what irks me? Players taking anonymous potshots at former teammates.

If you're gonna say something like that about somebody, man up and sign your name to it. My name is on everything I've written in my journalistic career. If I criticize somebody in print (or on the web as the case may be), my name is right there on it. That's the way it should be. If you don't want to own your comments, then don't make them.

I tend to dismiss these sorts of statements outright because, hey, I don't know the source. How can I weigh the credibility of such comments if I don't know who it's coming from? Right now, I have no choice but to assume the person who criticized Eaton is a complete wuss, too cowardly to back up his thoughts with his name.

I did like the way the 5-foot-8, 185-pound Eaton responded to these remarks in the usatoday.com article:

"The way I do hold myself, I need to be a little bit cockier," he said. "I need to have that presence because everybody tells me something I can't do. So I kind of have to have that presence about you, I feel. I think that's what makes me have a little bit of an edge because I am a little bit like that."

Good. To quote Lou Brown, I like that kind of spirit in a player. Coming off a 63-99 campaign, I think the White Sox could use a few more guys who play with a little bit of an edge.

If Eaton is able to produce the way I think he can, I wouldn't be surprised if he becomes a beloved player on the South Side. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

White Sox turn surplus into starting centerfielder

The White Sox resolved their logjam of starting pitchers by dealing one on Tuesday.

The Sox sent Hector Santiago and a player-to-be-named (probably Brandon Jacobs) as part of a three-team trade with the Diamondbacks and Angels, receiving Adam Eaton.

The 25-year-old left-handed outfielder has been highly touted coming through Arizona's farm system since being drafted in the 19th round of the 2010 draft. After a successful cup of coffee with the D'Backs in 2012 in which he hit .259/.382/.412 over 103 plate appearances, last season was derailed for Eaton when a torn UCL in his throwing arm sidelined him July. He ended up batting .252/.314/.360.

Eaton probably owes his low draft position to his modest stature (he is only 5-foot-8), but the results speak for themselves: In 1,560 minor-league plate appearances Eaton has slashed a .348/.450/.501 line, and has mostly answered questions about his ability to stick in centerfield.

That batting average isn't likely to carry over to the American League, but Eaton still has the offensive tools to be a very good leadoff hitter.

This is a big get for a White Sox team that probably wasn't going to stretch Avisail Garcia in center, and has apparently moved on from the idea of Alejandro De Aza playing there regularly. The Sox are now set to deal either De Aza, or incumbent left fielder Dayan Viciedo. If they don't like the offers for either player, De Aza probably becomes a fourth outfielder and Viciedo likely loses playing time against right-handed pitchers, against whom he's only managed to hit .242/.287/.388 so far in his big league career (vs. .322/.357/.551 against lefties).

As far as the players the Sox gave up, Santiago was a fun player to watch, and a fun player to root for, but despite the huge strikeout numbers (8.7 K/9), he still hasn't managed to get his walks under control (4.5 BB/9), and is too often victimized by home runs (17 allowed last year in 149 innings).

Santiago was not likely to repeat his 3.56 ERA from last year with those factors working against him. It's also an open question if he can handle a starter's workload as last year he wore down noticibly as the season progressed, partially evidenced by his declining K rate each month from May on (10.0 in May, 9.9 in June, 9.5 in July, 6.7 in August and 4.7 in September).

That's not to say Santiago can't improve, the same way Quintana did in a second season spent primarily as a starter. But Santiago was still the rotation's weakest link, making him the most expendable piece the Sox could give up in trade.

Jacobs, an outfielder that came over from the Red Sox in the Matt Thornton trade, only batted .237/.291/.327 at Charlotte after his arrival. The 23-year-old will be eligible to be taken in this week's Rule V draft, though probably won't be selected.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The White Sox are wasting a lot of quality starts

Most people think I'm crazy when I say the White Sox long-term prognosis isn't as bleak as it looks. Sure, it's hard to see the light when the team is on an eight-game losing streak and has a record of 40-67.

The Sox haven't been 27 games below .500 since 1976, the same year I was born. So yeah, this stinks.

But given this team's sorry record, would you believe it if I told you the Sox rank fifth in the American League in quality starts with 60? Their team ERA (3.98) is better than league average (4.03) too. The pitchers have been more than holding their own despite almost no run support and the horrendous defense being played behind them.

White Sox starting pitchers have an ERA of 2.68 over their last eight games. You would think that would be enough to win at least one game, wouldn't you? Well, not with this team. The Sox have scored two runs or less in six of these eight defeats. Therefore, a 2.68 ERA gets you nothing more than a 2-1 or 3-2 loss. In the other two games where the Sox did score more than two runs, their bullpen imploded. None of these losses reflect poorly on the starting rotation of Chris Sale, John Danks, Jose Quintana, Hector Santiago and Andre Rienzo.

All of these guys have been doing their jobs recently with nothing to show for it. Santiago (pictured) was the latest victim. Friday night, he held the division-leading Detroit Tigers to two runs on six hits over seven innings. He struck out seven and walked just one -- a strong outing on the road against an excellent American League lineup.

What did he get for his efforts? A 2-1 loss. Typical 2013 White Sox.

But, here's the silver lining: All five of those starters are under age 30 -- Danks is the old man in the group at 28. All of them figure to be back next year, and that's your starting point for trying to build a more competitive team in 2014 and beyond.

Given the choice, I'd rather have pitching and be looking for position players than the other way around. The Sox have a ton of holes in their lineup, but those can be filled more quickly and easily than holes in the starting rotation.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dylan Axelrod or Hector Santiago?

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.

Why?

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 best."

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.