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Article: Is Ervin Santana An Ace?

ervin santana johan santana rick porcello kyle gibson scott baker
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#21 Steve Lein

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 07:40 AM

He is definitely the "Staff Ace," and he's throwing like a #1 so far this year, and did for a long stretch to end last year as well.

 

But no, I don't think he' fits in the true MLB "Ace" category, and as you mention, that is a really hard thing to do.

 

But who cares about that title, he's been really, really good and that's all that matters.

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Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 45, Speed: 45. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but will sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)


#22 mikelink45

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 07:51 AM

An Ace stops losing streaks, holds his own against the number 1 pitcher on the other team and sets the standard for the rotation.  So far this year Santana has been our ace and it does not matter what others are doing on their teams - he is our pitching leader.  He took Berrios under his wing, he has given us consistent performances and is the only pitcher that I currently expect to win or come close in every start. 

But on your list I think  Arrieta has fallen far from that rating, but was one the last two years,  Madison Bumgarner is injured but a true Ace among Aces, Zack Greinke is a number 2 and last year was not even that, Felix Hernandez has to figure something out or his Ace days are over, Clayton Kershaw ranks Ace of Aces with Bumgarner, Corey Kluber ace, David Price used to be an ace, Chris Sale is an Ace, Max Scherzer the third Ace among Aces, Justin Verlander is a shadow of his old Ace days.  

 

So we have three HOF type aces, some number one starter aces, and a lot of  downward spirals.  Few Aces sustain that rating so celebrate Santana's rise and enjoy it as long as it lasts. 

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#23 birdwatcher

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 08:21 AM

1-2; 1-2; 2-3; 2-3; 3-4; 3-4; 4​-5; 4-5; 5-6; 5-6; 6-7; 6-7;

 

This is how I think about pitchers.

 

In my mind, Ervin is a career 2-3 who is having a 1-2 season so far. I'm hoping he finishes by giving us a 1-2 full season. Or that someone takes stupid pills and gives us a 1-2 prospect haul at the deadline.

 

Hughes is a career 3-4 at best, giving us a 4-5 season at best so far.

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#24 Broker

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 08:25 AM

Who cares? He's the best pitcher we have. Leave it at that.

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#25 Mike Sixel

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 08:42 AM

 

1-2; 1-2; 2-3; 2-3; 3-4; 3-4; 4​-5; 4-5; 5-6; 5-6; 6-7; 6-7;

 

This is how I think about pitchers.

 

In my mind, Ervin is a career 2-3 who is having a 1-2 season so far. I'm hoping he finishes by giving us a 1-2 full season. Or that someone takes stupid pills and gives us a 1-2 prospect haul at the deadline.

 

Hughes is a career 3-4 at best, giving us a 4-5 season at best so far.

 

Agreed.

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I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?


#26 Seth Stohs

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 08:52 AM

He is a guy that I feel good about making starts if the Twins were to make the playoffs. That's all that matters to me. 

 

Do I see him as an "Ace?" No. But he's clearly the Twins ace, and he's been a good pitcher for a decade, minus a couple of seasons... 

 

 

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#27 Tomj14

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 09:08 AM

Not saying he is an "ACE" but hasn't he been the best pitcher in baseball since last July?

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#28 Don Walcott

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 09:54 AM

I think this is an interesting topic.The term "Ace" is used a lot, but never defined.I think that is because there are at least two ways of looking at it: staff ace and ace in general.Santana is definitely our staff ace.He wouldn't be the staff ace for many other teams, but he is pitching like a staff ace this year.

 

I looked into the definition of ace a few years back when I was arguing for Jack Morris being inducted into the Hall of Fame on sites where everyone was against him.He was definitely considered an ace for the three teams that he helped win the World Series.Part of that is subjective: he started every opening day for 14 straight years; managers set him up to pitch as often as possible, and specifically games 1 of the ALCS and WS in 1984, 1991 and 1992.

 

However, Morris also exemplified two other less subjective aspects of an ace.First, it seems to me that your ace ought to lead your team in getting outs (IP), and your team should win more when your ace is pitching.

 

Second, during the course of a season, your ace should step up when needed.This means he leads the staff when the team has a winning streak, he stops losing streaks, and he wins important games against division rivals and down the stretch when the pennant or the playoffs are on the line.Then, finally, he wins big games in the playoffs.

 

So far, Ervin is ticking these boxes for this season for this team.I hope he continues to through what would be an improbable season.

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#29 chpettit19

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 10:29 AM

I think it really comes down to, as others have said, do you believe in calling the best pitcher on any given team a "staff ace" or do you reserve the term "ace" for just the top pitchers in baseball. I'm a believer in the idea that the words you choose mean a lot and overusing them kind of ruins the true meaning. Because of that I'm not a fan of the "staff ace" phrase. You can be your team's best pitcher or their number 1 or whatever, but for me if you're going to use the word "ace" you should be talking about one of the handful of best pitchers in all of the game. Depending on the time, and the influx of talent at that time, I don't believe in there ever being more than 5-8 aces in all of baseball. A lot of it to me is the feeling they give you. I don't put Ervin in that category (even this year) because it wasn't a huge shock that he had a game that he gave up a bunch of bombs against a good offense. He's been pitching great this year and I'm happy to have him, but if you hear Kershaw, Scherzer, Kluber or Bumgarner (in the postseason) gave up 4 blasts and 6 runs in 6 you're shocked. Ervin gives that up and it's more of a feeling of "yeah, he was due for one of those." That speaks to having to have some sustained success. When Ervin takes the mound this season I do expect the Twins to have a good chance of winning and expect him to put up a "quality start," but am not floored if he gets lit up. I also don't expect him to end this season with a 1.50 ERA. He's just not that pitcher. But I sure am going to enjoy the majority of his starts as I believe he'll always compete and give the team a chance to win.

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#30 DaveW

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 11:06 AM

Is joe flacco elite?
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Aaron Hicks 2017 stats so far (5/17/17): .326 BA .464 OBP .616 SLG 1.080 OPS  7 HR 19 RBI 6 SB 22 BBs 1.8WAR
 


#31 Darius

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 11:21 AM

I would say no. I wouldn't call Porcello an ace either.

I think it's just as much based on ability, and stuff, as stats and past performance. The ability to rack up strike outs generally is a common thread with true "aces."

I don't think being a #1 on a staff constitutes ace either. I don't think there are more than 5-10 "aces" in the game at a time.

They're good pitchers, but to me, an ace is a guy who you want to give the ball to twice in a 7 game series, or be the proverbial "stopper."

As good as he's been, I don't think it's sustainable, and wouldn't be real confident going into a playoff series with him as the #1 pitcher, going against a Chris Sale or Max Scherzer type.

I guess it all just depends on ones definition of "ace."
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#32 Linus

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 11:21 AM

Enjoyable discussion however I think how good your 5th starter is probably matters more than your 1st.

#33 DaveW

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 01:01 PM

Enjoyable discussion however I think how good your 5th starter is probably matters more than your 1st.


I disagree

Aaron Hicks 2017 stats so far (5/17/17): .326 BA .464 OBP .616 SLG 1.080 OPS  7 HR 19 RBI 6 SB 22 BBs 1.8WAR
 


#34 TheLeviathan

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 01:02 PM

I think the term "ace" is one of the most over-blown, largely empty phrases we use in baseball.

 

He's pitching well right now....that's good and that's about all we can really say.

 

 


#35 h2oface

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 03:34 PM

Absolutely not. It takes a couple years of consistent non injury top performance to be an ace. Remember when folks wanted to call Phil Hughes an ace during his one good year? I do. Not then. Not now. It could happen though. Time will tell.

 

Plus.... I don't forget that Santana was caught cheating a little over 2 years ago. That just doesn't go away unless you just ignore it because he is now on your team and doing perhaps as good as he has ever been. I am really surprised his partially torn ACL is still holding up without the juice. It is impressive. I am really happy for his success, and I am all for second chances...... but the past still counts, too. Just ask Roger and Barry and Mark and ..........


#36 ThejacKmp

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 03:50 PM

 

I disagree

 

Meh, I can see it. In the regular season, each game means the same so the #5 is at least as important as the #1.

 

Would you rather have an ace, a pretty good guy, two okay guys and a garbage guy or two pretty good guys and three okay guys? I'd likely go the latter (until the playoffs).

 

I think the real point is that we fret over whether or not we have an ace in Santana when the real issue the Twins are facing is "Who is the #5 starter?" Rain may mean we can get by another week or ten days with 4 starters but at some point they need a 5th starter.* If that's a rejuvenated Mejia or Gibson we might be okay but if that's Tepesch or Wilk, uh oh. It's better to go into each game with a chance than feel favored in one and screwed in another.

 

* The scary thing is that after this week, the Twins could have four double headers pending. That means they're potentially going to need a 6th starter for big chunks of July and August. I shudder to think who that might be.


#37 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 04:52 PM

The fifth starter doesn't matter as much as the first. Teams regularly skip the fifth position so the guy in that slot doesn't pitch as often... and the fifth rotation spot is often a revolving door. If your best pitcher gets injured, your replacement automatically slides into the fifth spot. The fifth spot in a rotation is usually pretty fluid.
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#38 jimmer

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 04:53 PM

 

Meh, I can see it. In the regular season, each game means the same so the #5 is at least as important as the #1.

 

Would you rather have an ace, a pretty good guy, two okay guys and a garbage guy or two pretty good guys and three okay guys? I'd likely go the latter (until the playoffs).

 

I think the real point is that we fret over whether or not we have an ace in Santana when the real issue the Twins are facing is "Who is the #5 starter?" Rain may mean we can get by another week or ten days with 4 starters but at some point they need a 5th starter.* If that's a rejuvenated Mejia or Gibson we might be okay but if that's Tepesch or Wilk, uh oh. It's better to go into each game with a chance than feel favored in one and screwed in another.

 

* The scary thing is that after this week, the Twins could have four double headers pending. That means they're potentially going to need a 6th starter for big chunks of July and August. I shudder to think who that might be.

I think the REAL point is we have too many #5 types.  When the phrase, 'He's not bad for a #5 starter' can be said about the majority of your rotation, THAT is the problem.

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#39 jimmer

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 05:08 PM

BTW, this year Ervin Santana's FIP is 4.17, his xFIP is 4.49, he has 6.83 K/9 and has a BB/9 of 3.50.

 

And, well, he has a ridiculous 98.4% LOB% along with an incredible .128 BABIP.

 

If people want to think he's an ace because of his ERA, well, he's got a great one.

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#40 Thrylos

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 05:37 PM

 

 

Here are the pitchers I would consider aces from both leagues (in alphabetical order):
Jake Arrieta, Madison Bumgarner, Zack Greinke, Felix Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw, Corey Kluber, David Price, Chris Sale, Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander
 

 

 

Would love to see the objective criteria that would be used to include Arrieta, Greinke, Kluber and Verlander as Aces, but will exclude players like Syndergaard and Strasburg. 

 

So what is this list based on?Subjective personal preference?

 

Edited by Thrylos, 16 May 2017 - 06:04 PM.

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