A Look at Ervin Santana’s Nearing Return

According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Time (click here for the article), “Ervin Santana declared himself fit to return to the rotation” after his latest rehabilitation start, where he went 3.1 shutout innings giving up 3 hits and 0 walks, striking out 7.

The article says he was sitting between 91 and 93 on the radar gun, which may be a little bit below where he’s been in the past:

  • 2005 – 93.4 mph
  • 2006 – 93.1 mph
  • 2007 – 92.2 mph
  • 2008 – 94.4 mph

It is a tick above the 90.6 mph he was throwing earlier this season, so that’s something to be optimistic about.  Even Santana had to comment about it, saying “I thought I would throw a little harder”, before going on to say, “But my location was good and I had good command in and out.”  The command was indeed there, throwing 33 of 45 pitches for strikes.

The talk is of him potentially returning to the rotation now, with GM Tony Reagins saying, “If he comes out of this fine, I don’t think [another rehab start] will be necessary”.  Time will certainly tell if that is the case or not, but either way he should remain on your bench until he gets a start or two under his belt.

Starting a pitcher returning from the DL is always a risky proposition, especially one who had struggled so badly prior to going down with a triceps injury (his second DL stint of the season).  Throw in the fact that this was just a 45-pitch outing, and you have to wonder how long he can actual go in his first few starts back.

This is a pitcher who was tremendous last season, going 16-7 with a 3.49 ERA, but had struggled in his three other major league seasons:

  • 2006 – 133.2 IP, 4.66 ERA
  • 2007 – 204.0 IP, 4.28 ERA
  • 2007 – 150.0 IP, 5.76 ERA

Obviously, even in the down years, he was significantly better then the 7.47 ERA he had pitched to over 31.1 innings this season.  Still, with a little bit lost velocity, I would have my concerns.  He’s worth owning for sure, and likely will prove to be a usable option immediately following the All-Star Break.  Pitching for the Angels, he should have plenty of opportunity for wins.

If he returns to be the superstar he was last season, then great, but I’d keep the expectations in check.  There are signs that problems could continue to be in his future.  Remember, that breakout campaign came courtesy of a BB/9 of 1.93 (he was over 3.00 the previous three seasons) and a K/9 of 8.79 (his previous career best was 7.56, the only season he was above 7.00).  Can we really expect those trends to continue?

What do you think of Santana?  Is he a must use option upon his return?  How good do you think he’ll be?

To read the previous article, click here.

Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.

3 comments

  1. Jimmy says:

    Could be a case where he starts out slow, the velocity isn’t completely back, but he turns it on towards the end of the season where it could be do or die for some fantasy teams.

  2. La Posse says:

    I just picked him up in an 8 team AL only league and will be benching. He’s got the strikeout potential but also an opportunity to blow your era in a start or 3. Hard to tell without at least 3-4 starts under his belt (See Nolasco).

  3. randy says:

    His BABIP is .365 and his ground ball/fly ball rate is the same as last year so he figures to improve greatly. Buy very low!

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