It has been anything but the start to his Los Angeles Angels career that Hector Santiago envisioned to be when he was acquired by the team this past offseason.
This season, Santiago is 0-6 with a 5.19 ERA, 37 hits, six home runs allowed and 18 walks in 34.1 innings pitched through seven outings. His nightmarish start includes failing to pitch at least five innings three times, allowing four or more runs four times and walking multiple batters or allowing home runs in all but two games this year. In Wednesday’s game against the New York Yankees, things quickly escalated for the left-hander as the Yankees scored five runs in the first inning and ended his night pretty quickly as he threw only 2.1 innings.
Los Angeles had made the move to get the 26-year-old along with Tyler Skaggs in hopes that they would help solidify the back end of the rotation that was a bit of a merry-go-round last season. For the most part, Skaggs has been a durable pitcher by being able to go deep into games as he has pitched at least seven innings in four out of his six starts this season. Although he was roughed up in last start, Skaggs has been a reliable pitcher for the Halos in comparison to Santiago.
The lefty has not progressed further in his development as a pitcher this season, which has put more pressure and caused an overuse of the Halos’ bullpen to come in and pitch more than three innings on several occasions. His struggles, much like Joe Blanton‘s last year, could become a hindrance on team’s success this season if they continue.Although he has struggled in his first seven starts, Santiago — unlike Blanton — has promising potential to be a good pitcher as he had shown that while he was with the Chicago White Sox last season.
In July of 2013, Santiago was able to pitch at least five innings in each start that included going seven innings twice where he allowed just three runs over both appearances. In that entire month he threw 32.1 innings with a 2.78 ERA, 34 strikeouts and gave up just 10 runs over that span.
Ultimately, what this proves is that the 26-year-old has the potential to become a reliable starting pitcher, but it will be on him to get through his current struggles and on the Halos to keep him out there on the mound as he works through his growing pains.