Gregory Santos, RHP
DOB: August 28, 1999
BATS: R / THROWS: R
ACQUIRED: Trade with Red Sox (Eduardo Nunez for Santos and Shaun Anderson)
ORIGINALLY SIGNED: International Signing, August 28, 2015
LAST LEVEL: Low-A
GiantFutures Ranks: #3 Relief Pitcher Prospect
Performance: Santos had a good year in Augusta in 2019 when he was on the mound. The bad news is that injuries, a shoulder strain and lat muscle injury, only let him make eight appearances for the GreenJackets. Santos had 26 strikeouts and 9 walks in 34.2 innings, and allowed batters a .256 batting average. All of these numbers are solid-to-good, but nothing spectacular.
Santos did recover and perform well in the 2020 instructional league. Working in single inning stint, his fastball was hitting 100 mph. Kyle Glasser of Baseball America said he was one of the most ‘eye-opening pitchers in Arizona.’
Strengths and Weaknesses: Santos’ top asset, at least on paper, is a fastball in the high-90’s, and recently up to 100 mph, with a lot of motion. He also has a low-80’s slider that has a lot of spin, but that Santos is still looking to get consistency with.
His changeup remains his biggest weakness. His fastball-slider combo works well on right-handers, but lefties hit Santos hard, has he gave up 18 hits, two of them home runs, in 11.2 innings against LHB, which was a .346 BAA. He also has some control issues, but they aren’t severe issues.
One of the more mysterious things about Santos, though, is how not-dominating he is, despite the pitches on paper. With a cutting High-90’s fastball, a high-spin slider, and average control (2.3 BB9), one might expect high strikeouts and excellent numbers. Instead, his strikeout rate was 6.8 SO9, and he gave up 8.8 hits per nine innings. Some of this comes from his platoon split, but that’s a surprising hit rate for a pitcher with great movement.
Of course, Santos also has to prove he can stay healthy. The Giants think that his issues in 2019, both of which were muscular and not structural, were more an issue with preparation than anything else.
2021 Outlook: Staying healthy is obviously a big goal, but figuring out how not to get hit so hard is another and a harder one to figure out. He’ll be 21 through most of the season, so the Giants probably won’t be trying to rush him. A start in High-A Eugene is most likely to be his starting place.
Future Profile: Santos is a pitcher that’s really hard to project. His stuff looks dominating, but that he hasn’t been at the lower levels is surprising. For most pitchers with high velocity, they have strong strikeouts at the lower levels and get hit harder by the time they hit Double-A. The Giants do have a dearth of starting pitching prospects, but it’s looking more and more like they’ll try a relief role for him, and hopefully he can capitalize on his stuff in that role more.