Tony Santillan returned to Dayton for 2017, hoping to better what he had done in 2016 with the Dragons in seven starts. April didn’t start out well. The then 19-year-old right hander walked four batters in 3.2 innings in his first start of the season. The next time out things would go better for Santillan as he would rack up six strikeouts with just one walk in 5.1 innings with just two runs. He would turn 20 on April 15th and the next two starts saw some ups-and-downs. April was capped off the month on the 27th with 5.0 shutout innings. He walked two batters and struck out six. The walk rate was high during the month, with 14 walks in 23.0 innings. But, he kept runs off the board with a 3.13 ERA and 24 strikeouts.

May started out much like April, with control struggles. Tony Santillan walked four batters on May 3rd. The next time out was one of his best starts of the year. He would allow one run in 6.0 innings with no walks and 10 strikeouts. The three starts that followed were nearly as good or better. Over that span Santillan allowed one earned run in 20.2 innings. He allowed just one walk and he struck out 17 batters. The month finished with two runs in 5.0 innings with three walks and two strikeouts. It would be the best month of the season for Santillan. He posted a 2.02 ERA in 35.2 innings with eight walks and 30 strikeouts.

It would be 11 days between starts for Tony Santillan. He would take the mound on June 9th and perform well against West Michigan. The next time out, six days later, he would run into struggles and allow five runs in 4.2 innings. It would then be another 11 days before he’d take the mound. The start would be his last of June and he tossed 6.0 shutout innings with three walks and five strikeouts. He would only throw 17.0 innings in three starts, walking eight batters and 16 strikeouts. That came with a 4.24 ERA.

July got out to a nice start for Tony Santillan. In his first two starts he allowed just two runs in 11.0 innings. He would walk just three batters and he struck out 15. The start on the 12th was a struggle as the righty walked five batters and allowed seven runs in 2.1 innings. He would rebound the next two times out, allowing just two earned in 10.0 combined innings. The month would finish with Santillan posting a 4.24 ERA in 23.1 innings with 14 walks and 26 strikeouts.

After skipping a start, Tony Santillan returned to the mound on August 5th with one of his best starts of the season. He would allow one earned in 6.1 innings with two walks and 10 strikeouts. That was followed up by one of his worst, giving up 10 hits and eight runs in 3.1 innings. He would rebound well over the next three outings. In that span he allowed just one run in 16.0 innings with four walks and 18 strikeouts. On September 1st he would make his last start of the regular season, allowing three earned in 3.1 innings with four walks and two strikeouts. Over the final six starts of the year he would post a 4.03 ERA in 29.0 innings with 12 walks and 32 strikeouts.

For all 2017 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).

Tony Santillan Scouting Report

Fastball | There were times this season when Tony Santillan would sit 92-94 MPH with his fastball, but most of the time he was higher than that. On the best nights he was sitting 95-98 MPH.

Slider | The pitch works in the 88-91 MPH range. When it’s at it’s best, it’s a plus offering with good bite and sweeping action. It’s still inconsistent, though, and at times is just a fringy pitch that doesn’t have biting action.

Change Up | Another pitch that works in the 88-91 MPH range. When it’s at it’s best, it’s a plus offering. It’s more consistent than the slider, but it’s not always a plus offering – at times it’s more of just an above-average pitch.

The upside for Tony Santillan isn’t matched by many in the organization. There’s a chance for three plus pitches from the right hander. But, he struggles with consistency at this point in his career. On his best nights he will dominate hitters at just about any level. But on other nights when he’s not on top of his game he will struggle to get out Low-A hitters consistently. Some of that is related to the consistency with his stuff, but more often it’s related to the consistency with his control.

In seven starts during the year he would walk four or more batters. In 13 starts he walked two or fewer batters. The struggles with control from outing to outing date back to his time in high school. It’s the reason that an arm like his was available in the second round. Tony Santillan has improved, both mechanically and consistency wise since that time, but he will need to continue to do so if he’s going to reach his ceiling.

10 Responses

  1. CP

    Really hope this kid can continue to progress. It will really serve to extend the Reds competitive window if this second wave of pitchers can have some guys make it to the show. Santillian, Moss, Vlad Gut., Mella are all A ball or higher next year. Another
    wave with Greene and Heatherly starts at A ball next year.

    ETA: Best case scenario….

    Santillian- 2020 (possible cup of coffee 2019)
    Moss- 2020 (possible cup of coffee 2019)
    Vlad- 2019 (possible cup of coffee next year)
    Mella- 2018 (But I think more than likely in the bullpen)

    Greene- 2021-2022
    Heatherly- 2021-2022

    By the time some of these guys can make it to the bigs, some of our existing SP’s might be on their way to FA. Disco & Bailey will both be FA by 2021 and Finny to follow in 2022. That leaves 3-4 years for 3-4 of these guys to step up. Hopefully Santillian can be one of those guys!

    This is of course assuming Bailey, Disco and Finny are still apart of the Reds rotation at that point. Injuries or poor performance could knock one or two of those guys out of the picture and be replaced with a younger and longer controlled player. It’s good to see there will be plenty of options for years to come though.

    Here’s a fun question. What is the Reds rotation come 2022?

    My guess:

    Castillo
    Stephenson
    Romano
    Mahle
    Greene

    Not going to lie, that could be a very good rotation…

    • The Duke

      If we go the college pitcher route in this upcoming draft, then that player could be ready around that 2020-2022 time frame as well. If he can put his health concerns behind him, one of the guys I am high on is Casey Mize out of Auburn. Plus control with swing and miss stuff.

  2. The Duke

    I’m a Santillan believer. The raw stuff is excellent, and he made good strides in his control last year. He lowered his BB/9 from over 5 to under 4 (3.94 BB/9 in 2017), and his problem was still the blow up starts where he just didn’t seem to have his control. If he can continue to limit those even more in 2018, then I think he gets that rate below 3.5 per 9 on his way towards 3. He’s got a good frame for a starter and he has the arm talent to miss bats, he just has to get that consistency. If he finds that consistency in 2018, then he’s a top 2-3 prospect in our system and likely a top 50 guy in baseball.

    • Wes

      I like him too! If reds trade for a yelich or Tampa pitcher or other all star you could see stallion be traded as that young 3rd piece. If I’m a gm wanting to trade w reds- I’m all over him.

  3. Billy

    When the fastball sits 95-98 on his best days, but only 92-94 on his worst days, what happens with the other pitches? Do they follow the same pattern, or is that unique to his fastball?

    Does this vary from pitcher to pitcher? For instance, if a guy didn’t sleep well the night before, maybe he loses a couple of ticks, but he loses it on everything. On the other hand, maybe a guy just doesn’t have the feel for his slider one night, and it’s coming in a couple of ticks light, but everything else looks normal. Which of those cases is more common?

    • Doug Gray

      The velo overall is down when the fastball is down. Same for just about everyone.

  4. Billy

    Another question… Guys sometimes have stuff that would play up in the bullpen. Is Santillan one of those guys? How do you distinguish between a pitcher whose stuff will play up and one whose stuff won’t?

    • Doug Gray

      Almost every pitcher has stuff that plays up in the bullpen. It’s simple: They can all throw harder when they only need to throw 20 pitches. And they can eliminate their worst pitch from their repertoire since they don’t have to face guys a 2nd/3rd time.

    • Wes

      Everyone wants to start and pitch 200 innings, well almost everyone, Chapman never wanted too. So when you aren’t a top 5 pitcher but good enough you go to pen. Saying a guy has good stuff for pen is a nice way to say he’s not going to cut it as a starter. Then it’s how well they adjust and that’s how specilist form. No one ever expected Andrew Miller to be what he is until he actually produced.

      If I’m reds, Garrett and reed both go in Louisville in bullpen to start season. Especially if they trade ilglasis. See how they adjust. Garrett has potential to be a fantastic closer!

  5. Brad

    I am high on the future of the Reds rotation:

    Current: Desclafani, Finnegan, Castillo, Romano, Mahle (Bailey)
    Near Ready: Stephenson, Garrett, Lopez (I have Reed, Davis, Stephens in bullpen)
    Next Level: Gutierrez, Santillan, Greene, Heatherly

    Frustrating Mistakes/Missed Opportunities that linger:
    1) Not moving Chapman earlier and for any value
    2) Not moving Cozart for Luiz Gohara
    3) Not signing RHSP Tommy Mace with available money in 2017 Draft (was made near impossible with timing of Greene signing). Can dream on young arms like Greene, Heatherly, Mace, Santillan, etc

    I am a proponent of addressing one high level position player and a plethora of SP and RP prospects in trades. For instance, Billy Hamilton to Giants for OF Heliot Ramos, LHSP Andrew Suarez, LHSP Garrett Williams. Reds are in the middle of a 40-man conundrum and it may only get worse in near future. Can only play 3 OF at time, load up on pitching, let best sort themselves out. Guy like Williams can always play up in the bullpen. Ramos is a lottery ticket on similar timeframe of Hunter Greene