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Ervin Santana, concerned?

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#1 yarnivek1972

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 05:15 PM

After narrowly losing out on pitcher of the month in April, Ervin Santana has been a substantially different pitcher in May.  No one expected him to finish the season with a sub 1 ERA.  However, for his entire career, he's been just under 3 BB per 9 IP.  In April, Ervin walked 10 over 5 starts in 35 innings, which would be slightly lower than his career BB per 9 IP.

 

In May, he has already walked 15 over 4 starts in just 26 innings, a disturbing 5.2 BB per 9 IP - almost double his career rate.  I'm not ready to stick a fork in him just yet.  After all, in two of those starts, he was able to pitch around those walks and not allow any runs.  In two, he was not and allowed 5 and 6 runs respectively.  Clearly, no pitcher can be consistently effective at the MLB level walking 5 guys a game.

 

If this were still April, I might chalk it up to cold weather.  But, I don't believe cold weather has been an issue in any of his May starts.  I did not see his start this afternoon, but did see the other 3 he made this month.  A lot of those walks contained multiple pitches that were not close. Some were, of course, but many were not. I don't think he's being squeezed or "just missing" for the most part.  In a lot of cases, he's missing badly.  That's also disturbing.  If he misses out of the strike zone badly, he could start missing IN the strike zone badly.  You only need to ask Kyle Gibson what happens if you do that.

 

The Twins are a long shot contender even if Ervin Santana pitches as well as he did last year.  If he continues to walk 4-5 guys a game, the Twins have no shot.  The Twins and Santana need to get on top of this before it becomes a bigger problem.

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#2 Bark's Lounge

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 05:22 PM

Santana is just normalizing. He will have his ups and downs. He is still a very, very much a quality starting pitcher.

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#3 drjim

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 06:51 PM

Good that you're not ready to stick a fork in him yet.
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#4 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 06:55 PM

I doubt it mattered but it was pretty damned cold today. Cloudy, humid, and 50 degrees.
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#5 jorgenswest

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 08:07 PM

His xFIP (and therefore related peripherals) of 4.75 are a little worse than his previous few seasons but he is older. I expected him to be close to a league average pitcher and his performance related to things pitchers can control have him close to that neighborhood.
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#6 Linus

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 08:21 PM

I doubt it mattered but it was pretty damned cold today. Cloudy, humid, and 50 degrees.

Didn't seem to bother their pitcher..
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#7 DaveW

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 08:44 PM

Santana will be fine, in reality he couldn't keep up his "ace" level, but can be a solid 2/3 for us. Hopefully him and Berrios are a good start to anrotation that can stick in the hunt
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#8 jokin

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 09:55 PM

 

Santana will be fine, in reality he couldn't keep up his "ace" level, but can be a solid 2/3 for us. Hopefully him and Berrios are a good start to anrotation that can stick in the hunt

 

Indeed he will be fine- ups and downs are inevitable. To put a fine point on it, Santana historically gets better as the season progresses- 2nd half stats:

 

0.5 lower ERA, 0.34 lower FIP, marginally lower AVG, WHIP, OPS, wOBA, BB%. Santana will be what he always has been, a gamer down the stretch run (hopefully, there is one this year).

 

We can stop worrying about Santana and whether or not he is the Twins Ace, Berrios looks ready to take on that mantle. That still probably leaves the Twins short one decent SP- with no obvious man buried deep on the depth chart ready to step up. I'm scratching my head that the Twins didn't even work out Doug Fister- doesn't look like the Angels paid too much to find out if he's got something left in the tank.

Edited by jokin, 19 May 2017 - 03:49 PM.

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#9 gunnarthor

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 10:09 PM

Unless there's an injury, we probably shouldn't worry about him. He is what he is, a solid ML pitcher who can occasionally pitch like an all-star.

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#10 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 07:46 AM

same here.Just not worried yet... now if it continues into the summer, then yes...But given how well he pitched in April, I'm not too concerned if he has a mediocre month in May.


#11 jimmer

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 07:54 AM

It really depends on what kind of pitcher you think Santana is. If you think he has morphed into a true ace type starter at 34, then yeah maybe some concern.

If you think he is a pitcher whose true talent lies somewhere between lower end #2 type and high end #3 type pitcher, there should be no concern at all.

Edited by jimmer, 19 May 2017 - 07:56 AM.

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#12 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 07:58 AM

 

It really depends on what kind of pitcher you think Santana is. If you think he has morphed into an ace at 34, then yeah maybe some concern.

If you think he is a pitcher whose true talent lies somewhere between lower end #2 type and fantastic #3 type pitcher, there should be no concern at all.

Pretty much. My only real concerns with Santana are the following:

 

1. If he's injured or just breaking down a bit. Unlikely, at least in the context that we don't have enough data to support this idea.

 

2. Whether he's truly past his ying-yang career performance. Is he truly a 115 ERA+ guy now or is he still prone to his perennial 90 ERA+, 120 ERA+, 90 ERA+ seasonal performances?

 

When Santana is rolling, he's a solid #2 pitcher. The problem over Santana's career has been that he's a #2 one year, a #4/5 the next. It's rare to get a "decent" performance from Santana. He's usually quite good or kinda bad.


#13 Mike Sixel

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 07:58 AM

 

It really depends on what kind of pitcher you think Santana is. If you think he has morphed into a true ace type starter at 34, then yeah maybe some concern.

If you think he is a pitcher whose true talent lies somewhere between lower end #2 type and high end #3 type pitcher, there should be no concern at all.

 

This. He's a 3, imo. 

 

What I think people are missing, is that he is getting older, and this won't continue forever...

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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?


#14 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:09 AM

 

This. He's a 3, imo. 

 

What I think people are missing, is that he is getting older, and this won't continue forever...

See, I don't really buy that he's a #3. He's a #2 with the risk of falling into a #4/5. I'm worried that the hammer will drop on this guy at some point and he'll revert back to his career arc.

 

Here's a good example of why Santana isn't a #3. Here are his seasons with 20 or more starts (pruning out half seasons because it's hard to get a read where he would have finished).

 

Seasons with a 111 or higher ERA+:

2008, 2013, 2016, 2011

 

Seasons with a 94 or lower ERA+:

2012, 2007, 2014, 2005

 

Seasons with a 95-110 ERA+:

2006, 2010

 

He's rarely mediocre. He's usually well below average or well above average. IMO, Santana is a rather peculiar case because I can't recall another pitcher who was healthy for so long and so wildly inconsistent, rarely settling into mediocrity.

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#15 Mike Sixel

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:16 AM

 

See, I don't really buy that he's a #3. He's a #2 with the risk of falling into a #4/5. I'm worried that the hammer will drop on this guy at some point and he'll revert back to his career arc.

 

Here's a good example of why Santana isn't a #3. Here are his seasons with 20 or more starts (pruning out half seasons because it's hard to get a read where he would have finished).

 

Seasons with a 111 or higher ERA+:

2008, 2013, 2016, 2011

 

Seasons with a 94 or lower ERA+:

2012, 2007, 2014, 2005

 

Seasons with a 95-110 ERA+:

2006, 2010

 

He's rarely mediocre. He's usually well below average or well above average. IMO, Santana is a rather peculiar case because I can't recall another pitcher who was healthy for so long and so wildly inconsistent, rarely settling into mediocrity.

 

so, on average, he's a 3? /snark. I hate averages a lot.

 

Agreed, he does seem to be a 2 or 4/5, which is odd. I think there are some enthusiastic people on the site that are discounting how long (or short) ESan can be a 2.....

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


#16 jimmer

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:26 AM

This. He's a 3, imo.

What I think people are missing, is that he is getting older, and this won't continue forever...

going into yesterday game, his LOB % was almost 100% (98 and change %)and his Babip was like .120 or something. Those numbers are ridiculous and he has never been close to those for a whole season in his career. Those numbers dwarf Kershaw and Pedro in even their best seasons. So once he normalizes well, you know. I still consider him a low #2, high end #3. Not sure i could pick one or the other.

Edited by jimmer, 19 May 2017 - 08:29 AM.


#17 gunnarthor

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:40 AM

We, as fans, probably get a bit too concerned about whether someone is a 2 or a 3 or a 4. The important part, and what Santana is still doing, is that he's a reliable ML starter. While every pitcher will have bad days (when Johan was winning Cy Youngs, he still failed to have even a quality start 25% of the time) there isn't the constant fear of implosion we have when, say, Phil Hughes or PJ Walters is pitching. We think Santana gives us a better than even chance of winning, which, for where we've been, is pretty good.

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#18 jimmer

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 08:42 AM

Not sure anyone is saying Santana isnt a quality starting pitcher and our best right now.
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#19 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 10:38 AM

 

See, I don't really buy that he's a #3. He's a #2 with the risk of falling into a #4/5. I'm worried that the hammer will drop on this guy at some point and he'll revert back to his career arc.

 

Here's a good example of why Santana isn't a #3. Here are his seasons with 20 or more starts (pruning out half seasons because it's hard to get a read where he would have finished).

 

Seasons with a 111 or higher ERA+:

2008, 2013, 2016, 2011

 

Seasons with a 94 or lower ERA+:

2012, 2007, 2014, 2005

 

Seasons with a 95-110 ERA+:

2006, 2010

 

He's rarely mediocre. He's usually well below average or well above average. IMO, Santana is a rather peculiar case because I can't recall another pitcher who was healthy for so long and so wildly inconsistent, rarely settling into mediocrity.

I'd add that the trend has been going in the right direction as he aged.I tend to discount a guy's first few seasons in general b/c they are young and figuring things out.Most every pitcher will go through those lumps.Yeah, he's had clunker seasons later in his career, but I'd bet that you could look back and are more likely to find a nagging injury than a guy who just happened to be inexplicably bad.


#20 yarnivek1972

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 04:24 PM

Maybe I should have been more specific. Are you concerned by the walk rate all of a sudden being WAY out of whack with his career?

One start. Meh. Two starts. Still meh. This is 4 consecutive starts where he has walked a LOT of guys.



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