Tony Santillan will be taking the mound on Sunday for the Cincinnati Reds. The 2015 2nd round draft pick will be making his Major League debut against the Colorado Rockies as he steps into the rotation to fill the spot vacated by right-handed starter Sonny Gray as he recovers from a right groin strain.
After pitching at the alternate site in 2020, the Reds promoted Tony Santillan to Triple-A Louisville this year when the minor league season began on May 4th. The recently turned 24-year-old came out of the gate with 4.0 innings of 1-unearned run baseball, no walks, and he struck out seven batters against Columbus. He hasn’t really looked back since. In his last start he faced off against the St. Paul Saints and set a career high as he struck out 13 batters in the game over 7.0 innings with two runs allowed. On his second to last pitch of the game, pitch 110, he hit 98 MPH with his fastball after sitting in the 95-97 MPH range all game.
On the season he’s made six starts for the Bats and he’s posted a 1-3 record with a 2.51 ERA. In his 32.1 innings pitched he’s allowed just 23 hits – 5 home runs – and walked 12 batters to go along with 45 strikeouts of the 131 hitters that he’s faced. His 45 strikeouts currently lead the Triple-A East.
Tony Santillan Scouting Report
Fastball | The pitch has been working in the 94-96 MPH range this season and he’s touched 98 at times.
Slider | A plus offering, the pitch works in the mid-to-upper 80’s.
Change Up | An inconsistent pitch that works in the mid-to-upper 80’s. At times it’s a quality offering, but at other times it can be a below-average pitch.
In the past we’ve seen Tony Santillan battle with consistency. In 2018 he took a big step forward, particularly with his control. But in 2019 he battled through some injuries while pitching in Double-A Chattanooga and never found a rhythm. This year he’s resembled a better version of the guy he was in 2018 when he truly breaking out.
What to expect
You never know what you’re going to get until you get it – and that’s particularly true when guys are coming up from the minor leagues. Sometimes things go just as you would have hoped for, but sometimes they don’t.
If Tony Santillan shows up and looks like the guy that should be expected based on what he’s done in the minor leagues this season, look for a pitcher who is mostly fastball and slider with a few change ups mixed in. He tends to throw strikes, but it’s more in the zone than commanding the strikezone.
While Santillan does tends to be more of a fly ball than groundball pitcher, it’s not extreme. The one area that has been extreme this season has been his splits. He’s dominated right-handed hitters this year, holding them to a .147/.205/.221 line across 73 plate appearances this year. Lefties have been an interesting split. He’s struck out an impressive 35% of the ones he’s faced this year. But he’s also walked 12% of the lefties he’s faced and while they haven’t made a lot of contact, when they have, it’s been for plenty of power as they are hitting .255/.345/.608 against him in 58 plate appearances this season.