This past offseason, Los Angeles Angels made several moves to address their pitching problems, and one of those additions was Hector Santiago.
The left-hander was brought in by the Halos to help solidify the bottom of their starting rotation that was for the most in shambles for much of last season. Los Angeles made the move to acquire Santiago in a three-team trade last December involved outfielder Mark Trumbo with the confidence that he can step in and make an immediate impact, but through two starts it has been the exact opposite for the 26-year-0ld.
In his two outings this season, Santiago’s numbers have not been encouraging to say the least as he has an 0-2 record with a 7.71 ERA, 12 hits allowed, six walks and a .316 BAA in 9.1 innings pitched. This also includes him not going more than 5.0 innings in each outing. It has been anything but the ideal start to his Angels’ career for the left-hander.
However, his early-season struggles should not come as much as a surprise as Santiago has limited experience as a starting pitcher. Just last year with the Chicago White Sox he had his first go around in that role. In 2013, Santiago made 23 starts in his 34 appearances with a 4-9 record and 3.56 ERA in 149.0 innings pitched. Although that is respectable ERA, the fourth-year pitcher gave up at least three runs in eight of his starts.
With that said, the Angels knew that they were getting a young arm who is still developing and adjusting to the role as a starting pitcher. There will be some ugly games in the meantime, but if the Halos remain patient and keep their confidence in Santiago, he has the potential to pan out to be a solid pitcher.
The 26-year-old last season had glimpses of promise such as his impressive month of July. Although Santiago did not record a win in the month, he was able to pitch at least five innings in each outing that included going seven innings twice where he allowed just three runs over both appearances. As for all of July, he threw 32.1 innings with a 2.78 ERA, 34 strikeouts and gave up just 10 runs over that span.
This along with his potential upside gives Los Angeles reason enough to instill their confidence in Santiago to become a reliable arm at the back-end of the rotation. The Halos must exercise their patience as he works through his struggles in the early part of the season in hopes he may once again become an effective pitcher.